In 2020, McMannen United Methodist Church was scheduled to celebrate its 150th Anniversary. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the most active hurricane season on record, and a presidential election, we decided to delay our celebration until September.
The Beginnings of McMannen United Methodist Church
Somewhere around 1870, marks the time when the people of God became a worshiping community. The first of the people destined to become McMannen members gathered under a giant oak tree for services led by the Reverend John Archibald McMannen. While our history is replete with golden memories, the story of McMannen was tarnished in the story of this country. Americans fought and killed fellow Americans on American soil over the issue of whether or not freedom should be extended to all Americans. Within a few yards of where McMannen would be established is Bennett Place the site of the largest surrender of Confederate soldiers ending the American Civil War, on April 26, 1865. McMannen is a church built on one of the foundations of the state of North Carolina, agriculture. Farming was big business and the enterprise leading to the establishment of Durham. The lovely white church overlooking farmland eventually was no longer rural as the land around the church was developed. As we honor our past, McMannen looks to pave the way for the future. To commemorate our sesquicentennial, McMannen unveiled a new vision to guide us into the next century.
Our Renewed Vision
"H.O.M.E. for All"
Honor God with our Worship
As the people of God, the Body of Christ, and the Community of the Holy Spirit.
Offer Ourselves in Ministry
With our prayers, presences, gifts, service, and witness.
Mature in our Faith
By growing to love God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength and our neighbor as ourselves.
Enter into the World
To give ourselves for others.
The mission of the United Methodist Church is “to make disciples for the transformation of the world.” This new vision tells you how we are planning to make disciples.
HOME For All captures the depth of who we are at McMannen. We are a church that thrives on hospitality through food, family, and fellowship. A congregation that welcomes all people.
In the spring of 1977, Bishop Blackburn assigned me as pastor of this church, and my family’s McMannen adventures began that summer when my wife Dee and I along with children Beth and Blair, ages 5 and 2, moved into the parsonage on Neal Rd. And yes, it is hard to believe that 44 years have passed so quickly! I have vivid memories of stirring Brunswick stew at all hours, hauling confirmation classes to Lake Junaluska, exposing them to the local Jewish synagogue and then welcoming those young people into the church, moving to the “new” parsonage on Berini Dr., passing the “crying towel” back and forth during Carolina/Duke rivalry games, marrying young couples who are still active members in this church, baptizing babies and others, and celebrating lives well-lived at funerals. And the people here—always the people—the heart of the church--welcomed us, embraced us, and became lifelong friends. They are the reason that when Dee died in 1992, we brought her back here to be buried in the cemetery beside this church.
And in my case, there is a second chapter. Almost 7 years ago, I was given the opportunity to teach the Asbury Sunday School class. What a gift that turned out to be; I have taken great pleasure preparing lessons, in researching texts, rereading references, and being actively engaged in faith discussions. This time I brought along another wife, Cynthia, retired English teacher and current research assistant! Just as it did more than 40 years ago, McMannen is still reaching out into the community, changing, adapting, and striving to meet the needs of people, representing Christ in the here and now!