W E L C O M E
United Methodist Church
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Foster’s Chapel United Methodist Church was organized in 1878. It was named for Mr. Josiah Singleton Foster who was born near Pinckneyville on January 19, 1806. Josiah Foster often referred as “Uncle Si”, and his wife Sibbie Spears Foster had no children of their own but raised a number of nieces and nephews. Mr. Foster was a very successful businessman who gave generously to Methodist benefactors, in particularly, Lander and Wofford Colleges and Jonesville Methodist Church as well as his own Church.
Foster’s Chapel was built with the encouragement of Mr. Foster and others who wanted to unite Flat Rock and Bethlehem is hopes of having a larger membership. Foster’s Chapel is located in Kelton between Flat Rock and Bethlehem.
Josiah Foster contributed a great deal of money to build the new church which was often referred to as “The Brick Church” because it was the only one at the time made of brick in the Kelton-Pea Ridge area. The bricks were made on site.
The original tract of land where Foster’s Chapel was built was six acres, which was given to the Church by Mr. William E. McNease in July 1878. In June 1887, Mr. A.G. Wood, who was a trustee at Foster’s Chapel, gave an additional three acres to the Kelton School with an agreement that if vacated, the Church would be the next and final benefactor of the partial of land, which happened around 1907.
Josiah Foster was a member of Flat Rock Methodist Church until he moved to Foster’s Chapel in February 1879. All Flat Rock members became charter members of the new Foster’s Chapel Church. These members were from families who had gathered for worship since the late 18th century in the old Flat Rock Meeting House. The first Flat Rock Church was built in 1867, the second in 1928. The families from Bethlehem date back to the mid 19th century. So although a new brick Church had been built, named Foster’s Chapel, its membership had been congregating well over seventy-five years making it among the oldest in Union County.
The Rev. George M. Boyd was the first Pastor at Foster’s Chapel Methodist Church. He preached the first sermon in December 1878. Bishop William Wightman conducted the dedication of our church in 1879.
The new union between Flat Rock Methodist and Bethlehem, however, only lasted for a short period of time. Eventually, most members from both Flat Rock and Bethlehem returned to their original churches, which were re-opened.
Flat Rock permanently closed around 1950 when its remaining members came to Foster’s Chapel for the second and last time.
In the beginning, Foster’s Chapel Methodist Church was a part of the Jonesville Circuit from 1878 until 1893 when the Circuit was divided. Foster’s Chapel has been a part of the Kelton (Circuit) Charge since 1893 when it was formed. The other two churches in the Kelton Charge in 1893 were Flat Rock and Wesley Chapel.
Bethlehem joined the Kelton Charge in 1903. In all, there have been six churches at one time or another in the Kelton Charge. The others were Lockhart and Mesopotamia. At present, Foster’s Chapel and Bethlehem United Methodist Churches are the only two churches in the Kelton Charge and share the same Pastor.
Foster’s Chapel has had several construction projects and additions. In 1938, construction began to add eight classrooms. During this period of time, stained glass windows were installed and funded by memorials to deceased members by their families. Also new pews were installed as well as new pulpit furniture, also given by members. These renovations were made possible by the generosity and hard work of members of Foster’s Chapel. Bishop Clare Purcell dedicated this addition on March 5, 1939.
In the mid 1970’s, enough money had been raised to pay for a cooling and heating system for the sanctuary, new heaters for the classrooms and a Fellowship Hall. The Fellowship Hall contained a spacious kitchen, restroom, and an open room with a fireplace.
In 1994, the church began construction on a Family Life Center that is adjacent to the Fellowship Hall. The Family Life Center has been a great asset to our church but it has also been a great out reach for our Pea Ridge Community as well. In 2011, the church remodeled the kitchen in the Family Life Center. This project extended the kitchen area. New cabinets and all new appliances were placed in the kitchen.
As of this date, we have done major renovations to the main building, in several classrooms, the office, and restrooms. For generations, the members of Foster’s Chapel have strived to take great care of our historic Church and with great pride. At present, our church is in good financial condition, again with the loyalty and generosity of our faithful members.
Some of the oldest family names that have been on the Church roll for many years include Adams, Alman, Aycock, Chambers, Farr, Foster, Fowler, Free, Gallman, Gault, Gregory, Haney, Harris, Hart, Holcombe, Ivey, Kelly, Lawson, McGowan, Page, Sanders, Sprouse, Willard and Wood.
Some more recent family names in the last fifty years include Belue, Blair, Bright, Comer, Eaves, Faucette, Garner, Gregory, Helms, Holcombe, Howell, Inman, Keisler, Kirby, Knox, Lanier, Little, Manus, Mason, McKelvey, Moss, Sanders, Sorley, Vaughn.
There have also been a few ministers gone out of Foster’s Chapel; John W. Harris, James T. Fowler, John G. Farr, J. Foster Farr, Jesse T. Gregory and Leslie C. Sanders. These ministers are now deceased. Richard Lewis, who is presently in the UMC ministry, was called to be a minister while attending Foster' Chapel. Christopher Greene was ordained as an elder while serving our church.
There have been at least forty-seven pastors who have served Foster’s Chapel during its one hundred twenty five year history: G.M. Boyd, J.B. Wilson, J.R. McCain, J.H. Zimmerman, C.D. Rowell, D.P. Boyd, G.F. Clarkson, J.N. Isom, S.T. Creech, A.H. Best, J.G. Farr, J.A. White, J.H. Manly, T.F. Gibson, F.E. Hodges, J.R. Copeland, W.C. Kelly, J.F. Golightly, W.A. Duckworth, R.L. Doggett, J.W. Hoyle, C.P. Carter, N.M. Phillips, M.A. Cleckley, A.J. Bowling, C.W. Watson, W.H. Smith, Harry Chandler, Albert Harvey, George T. Hughes, Roy L. Owens, John Henry Wofford, A.E. Smith, John Mason Stapelton, Jr., E.A. Wilkes III, Robert Davenport, Richard Covington, Urban R. Pattillo, Dennis Roy Dickerson Jr., Louis M. Adams, Herndon Shepherd, Brice B. Blakeney, Craig Douglas, Denver S. Lee, Larry R. Hyder, John William, III, Keith Sweat, J. Christopher Greene, Glenn Ribelin Sr., and Michael Walker. The longest serving pastor at Foster’s Chapel was Brice B. Blakeney who served nine years from 1978-1987.
Toney L. Farr