By Lance Hickey
Weaverville – For this week’s edition of places where we worship I attended Christ United Methodist Church in Weaverville.
I attended service on December 2. Located on Garrison Branch Road, just off of U.S. 25 going towards Marshall, Christ United Methodist Church primarily serves the Weaverville, North Buncombe and Marshall communities.
Established in July of 1986, Christ United Methodist Church of Weaverville began as an idea of four leaders from other Methodist churches in the area who believed it was time to plant another Methodist church, due to the continued population growth of Weaverville. After consulting with United Methodist Church leadership, the congregation eventually found a property in retail space in downtown Weaverville to call home for a short time.
The church began with 32 congregants with the desire to reach Northern Buncombe and Madison Counties. After some time, Christ United Methodist finally found a property with the land and acreage needed to complete the building of a new property on the western side of Weaverville, its current home. The church’s current property was completed in June of 1988. CUMC is affiliated with the nationally-known United Methodist Church, and is part of the Western North Carolina Conference, a UMC conference of churches.
The first pastor called to lead the church was Alan Rice. Senior Pastor Duane Corle has led CUMC for more than seven years. Originally from Charlotte, Corle attended Asbury Theological Seminary, obtaining his Masters of Divinity in 2010. He is married to wife Elizabeth and they have two children.
It was Advent Sunday. Decorated in Christmas furnishings, the sanctuary was illuminated with holiday spirit. Banners with the words “Jesus” and “I am peace” hung from the walls. A large Christmas tree stood on the left side of the sanctuary. Tables ornamented with Christmas décor sat in the back of the room. A Christmas, Advent lunch was being prepared in another room in the building. Congregants fellowshipped in anticipation.
Service began at 11 as music started to play in the background. The reading of scripture opened the service as parishioners keenly and intently listened. Candles at the front of the platform were lit. A prayer was said as the congregants bowed their heads.
The church band began to play “Trading My Sorrows” by Darrell Evans and the congregation stood clapping their hands as the “worship team” led with enthusiasm. The team followed with “Joy To The World.” The band, led by the church’s newest worship director, Kate Hurley, played passionately and harmoniously as the congregation echoed the words.
Following “Joy To The World,” a man named Rick stepped forward to welcome the congregation and open up a time for prayer, affording parishioners the opportunity to relay any prayer requests before he began to pray.
Following another song and the public reading of scripture, Pastor Corle stepped forward to present his Sunday morning sermon, titled “Boots of Joy.” Corle proved to be gracious and polite in his presentation, connecting with the audience. He spoke about God’s profound ability to turn small things in life into something great.
Following Corle’s message, the church choir sang “Joyful, Joyful” before service was dismissed. The congregation gathered for a time of church-wide fellowship and celebratory lunch, extending the invitation for all guests to stay for lunch.
Christ United Methodist Church proved to be welcoming and hospitable to its guests. The service was both uniquely contemporary and traditional in its presentation. Joy was the focus of service on Advent Sunday, a fitting euphemism for a congregation that proved to be so enthusiastic and passionate about its own church and its community. From experience, I can now say all are welcome at Christ United Methodist Church.