“No concrete evidence or records have been found concerning Galilee’s beginning except for information given by one of the Founding Fathers.”
Galilee was organized in 1872, with the Reverend M. M. Jones as Pastor. Some of those who were among the organizers are as follows: Charlie Campbell, John A. Stewart, Angus Maynor, Elias Wooten, Murdock Shaw, Sankey Roper, Neil McClelland, E. L. Morton, Zack Ellerbe, Caleb Southerland, Jim Phillips, and James McLaurin.
The first church began from a brush arbor in an area then called “Campbell Hill” because of the families who lived in that area. Galilee had her spirit in moving from one location to another for the first 50 years. The record shows that in this same community Galilee organized and built her first place of worship. More than 104 years ago, she began to desire a closer look at the big lights in the city of Laurinburg.
Because of the rise in membership, it was decided to move closer to the City of Laurinburg. Therefore, the church moved next to the railroad as near as possible into the city.
This site was on Bizzell Street near the Seaboard Railroad (now known as Solid Rock Baptist Church). In 1930, Solid Rock Missionary Baptist Church (presently on the site) purchased the Galilee Church building. Galilee progressed rapidly under the leadership of Rev. S. F. B. Peace (1900-1905).
After a few years, the location became undesirable, the noises of the train were too much, and the city’s plan for a city street caused another move. Then she began to look for a new location. This time she dreamed of being on one of Laurinburg’s busy corner streets, Dixon and Pine. This move was made under the leadership of the Reverend Norris Jan Pass (1918-1922). Galilee was deemed one of Laurinburg’s largest and oldest churches. By moving to this location it could be easily found, and everyone could see it some distance away. Yet it was in one of the most undesirable places of either location. The Dixon-Pine location was almost in a new built-up place, and right on a little stream. For the next 34 years they were disturbed by rising water, and a sinking foundation. There they worshiped until the sinking foundation, falling timbers, loose brick and mortar caused them to seek another location. But the builders were honest at heart, although they made this mistake, they built a real church, far better than this generation will ever think of, or dare to build.
In 1951, Rev. George Edward Hogue was appointed to Galilee Methodist Church. Within the first seven months of his leadership, the church installed heat, fixed leaks in the church, became a station church in the city (which was with a rural church), built a parsonage, added a divided chancel, added nine church school rooms, gave the church a paint job, and rebuilt the old tower.
The church members relocated by vote of the congregation on January 7, 1957, and the following Monday in the next week they voted on the lot. A new lot was purchased not too far from the site of the first church. Until they were able to worship in the new building, worship services were held at the I. Ellis Johnson High School on McGirt’s Bridge Road beginning August, 1957. The second Sunday in October, the congregation left the school and used the building at the Laurinburg Fair Grounds located on Produce Market Road for one year, and then returned to the I. Ellis Johnson High School. Under the able guidance of Rev. George Edward Hogue (1951-1965) both men and women worked hard and untiringly to make this an impressive and beautiful place of worship.
In 1958, groundbreaking services were held at the new site. The present structure was built in 1959. The new structure was located not far from the church’s first beginnings. On the fourth Sunday in December, 1959, the congregation moved into its own new, partly finished church. They stayed there still working until they finished a $76,000 church.
At that time, Galilee was on one of the most beautiful locations ever. All who saw it made the same acknowledgement. That year, since moving to its new location, the church gained 86 new members.
When the Central Jurisdiction Conference merged with the North Carolina United Methodist Conference in 1968, Galilee Methodist Church became Galilee United Methodist Church.
Galilee served as the Galilee Charge to Jerusalem United Methodist Church in Johns, NC and Beaver Dam United Methodist Church in Laurel Hill, NC. Under the leadership of Rev. Samuel Townsend, Jerusalem was assigned to another charge. Under the leadership of Rev. Doris Fox Beaver Dam was assigned to another charge.
An addition to the church’s old fellowship hall was completed under the leadership of Rev. Samuel L. Townsend. Overseer for this project was Mr. Fred McGill.
Groundbreaking and completion for the present parsonage were under the leadership of Rev. Theodore V. Carter, Sr. (1983-1987). Mr. Luther A. Douglas, II and Mr. Robert Ridgill were the overseers for this project. Rev. Jimmy F. Cummings was the first minister to occupy the parsonage in the summer of 1987.
The following were completed under the leadership of Rev. Jimmy F. Cummings: groundbreaking for and the completion of the outdoor activity center. Overseer for the outdoor activity project was Mr. Thomas L. Jones; mortgage burning for the parsonage (spring 1995); choir loft was restructured from the divided choir pews on either side facing each other to the choir facing the sanctuary. The Cross on the wall behind the choir loft was designed and erected by Mr. Robert Helem. The chancel from the old church was once in the center of the old choir loft. The chancel was moved and replaced by the communion table that is now behind the pulpit area. *The top portion of the chancel is located in the attic of the church and the lower portion in the Adult Sunday School classroom.
In July of 1995, our first female pastor, Rev. Doris T. Fox, came to us from Cool Springs United Methodist Church in Laurinburg, NC. The following were completed under her leadership: marquee was purchased by the United Methodist Men; new fellowship hall built (overseers Mr. Robert Helem and Mr. Thomas L. Jones); the Galilee bus was purchased.
We will always include in our Galilee History, The Reverend Emma Ruth McLean. Rev. McLean was the first African American female to be ordained and licensed in the Central Jurisdiction. Rev. McLean, now decease, assisted many of Galilee’s pastors. She will always be our church mother and we will always be her church family.
June 2004 marked the arrival of Rev. Dr. Jesse Brunson, and his wife, Doris Hines Brunson. Dr. Brunson came to us from the staff of the North Carolina Conference United Methodist Church where he served as the Director of Multicultural and Social Ministries.
Under his leadership, Galilee increased its membership. The church bus note was paid off in 2005. The church held the note burning on Sunday, August 28, 2005 during the morning worship. Other Highlights of the 2005 year included: Pastor’s Appreciation in October; Christmas Fellowship Breakfast and Night in White on December; Youth’s History Museum in February; Mothers on Parade on April 30; Children’s Sabbath on June 26; Golf Tournament and Hats Tea on July 9, A Celebration of Ushers on July 24.
Rev. Vermel H. Taylor came to Galilee in June 2013. Since her appointment here, she has built upon and strengthened the ministries that were already in place. The Feeding Ministry was recognized as an outstanding ministry during the annual Conference of 2014. A new keyboard and microphones were purchased for the church, new exit lights installed, a praise and worship team established, renovations on the church’s shelter were done, and the Lay Speaking Ministry continues to grow and excel.