United Methodists have been on Platt Springs Road since 1952.
In the spring of 1952, the late Reverend E.A. Wilkes, Jr., then pastor of at Brookland UMC, held a tent revival in the 2200 block of Platt Springs Road. During spring and summer of 1952 the Rev. Wilkes and the Rev. William Pearsall conducted services in various homes in the community. Beginning in late 1952 the J. V. McNairs allowed the use of a small building on their property for the services.In the Spring of 1953, Mr. Wilkes’ son, Alston III, then a student at the University of South Carolina, began conducting the services. He followed his father as pastor during the church’s first year in its permanent location.
The property of the former Long Branch School located on Platt Springs Road near the Columbia Airport was purchased from Brookland Cayce School District 2 in the summer of 1953. Included on the property were the old original five-classroom building, an auditorium, a lunchroom and two acres of land. The purchase price of the property was $6,500.00. The classroom building was used as a Sunday School building for a few years and then sold and moved. The auditorium was used as the sanctuary with the first altar and railing constructed by Henry Shealy and C. N. Redmond. This was a big improvement to our sanctuary which also underwent many changes. The lunchroom was used as a multipurpose unit named Auton Hall, in honor of A.A. Auton. Mr. Auton, along with H.L. Hughes and R.H. Kleckley, made up the original Board of Trustees. These members were instrumental in securing the property.
Platt Springs UMC was officially organized by Columbia District Superintendent M.K. Medlock on July 24, 1953. As an officially organized church with forty-two (42) active members and $63.00 in the treasury, Platt Springs Church was ready to begin its mission. The elder Mr. Wilkes served as temporary pastor. Alston Wilkes, III was the church’s first lay leader and became pastor in September 1953 upon receipt of his license to preach. Alston served the new church well. Under his tireless efforts the Sunday School, Methodist Men and Women’s organizations, and youth groups were developed, staffed, and implemented. Mr. Wilkes served as pastor until the end of September 1954.
Long Branch School
Having begun as a mission church sponsored by Brookland Methodist, Platt Springs was put on the charge with Boiling Springs and Shiloh, and in November 1954, the Rev. James M. Prater was sent by the Conference to serve Platt Springs and Boiling Springs only (Shiloh was severed from the charge). During Mr. Prater’s tenure progress continued at Platt Springs. Noted improvements:
+ An organ, rented by three members for the church on a six-month basis, was purchased.
+ A mimeograph machine was added to the church’s equipment allowing in-house printing of bulletins, etc.
+ Adult groups were active in improving church property. Blinds were bought for the windows and work done to prevent soil erosion.
The Rev. Weston A. Stevens, Jr. was sent to Platt Springs in September 1957. It was during Mr. Stevens tenure that two very significant events occurred. The South Carolina Methodist Advocate best describes these events in its issue of September 4, 1958:
On September of this year, the Platt Springs Methodist Church on Platt Springs Road in West Columbia became a station (full-time) church for the first time in its history. Until this year, Platt Springs Church had been affiliated with Boiling Springs Church in Lexington County. However, the people of Platt Springs felt the need for a full-time pastor and a full-time program which they attained as well as Sunday evening services at 7:30 p.m. In 1957 Platt Springs completed an $18,000 parsonage at 918 Pond Drive in West Columbia and appointed a committee to investigate future expansion of the church.
Before completion of the parsonage a home in the community was rented for the pastor. Mr. Stevens served Platt Springs until 1959.
In June 1959, the Rev. Donald A. Foster was appointed to Platt Springs. Rev. Foster served Platt Springs full time but was allowed to supplement his income-first with insurance employment, then, beginning in the spring of 1960, in the position of Secretary for the Methodist Higher Education Fund Campaign. During Rev. Foster’s pastorate the church continued to progress with the following significant accomplishments:
+ The sanctuary (the old Long Branch School auditorium) was brick veneered with bricks donated by Mr. & Mrs. Roy Krell and plans for a new education building got well underway.
+ A fire hydrant was placed in the area, supplying protection and reducing the church’s insurance premiums.
+ The W.S.C.S. expanded and formed an additional circle.
+ The Methodist Men actively continued to improve church property.
+ The unified budget financial system was adopted effective July 1, 1961.
Rev. Foster served until June 1962.
The Rev. Dr. Claude M. Shuler followed Mr. Foster in June 1962. Dr. Shuler had the distinction of being one of a very small number of ministers in the South Carolina Conference holding an earned doctorate. While serving Platt Springs he also taught at Columbia College. During Dr. Shuler’s pastorate, Platt Springs continued to progress with the following significant accomplishments.
+ New Education Building: Occupied on February 16, 1964, this building provided thirteen classrooms, storage room, two restrooms and a church office. It was erected at a cost of $70,000. At the July 1963 Homecoming, ground for the building had been broken by the church’s founder, the Rev. E. A. Wilkes, Jr.
+ Several lay speakers were certified.
+ The Boy Scout troop received many rewards including three God and Country Awards.
+ The J.O.Y. class for young adults was organized and study programs flourished.
+ The church budget was further refined.
During the final year of Dr. Shuler’s tenure (65-66) Platt Springs was put on charge with Mount Horeb. They proved to be a fine and cooperative sister church.
The Rev. John G. Hipp was appointed to Platt Springs in June 1966. Rev. Hipp guided Platt Springs during a period of great change. In 1968 the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church merged to become the United Methodist Church. Local church organization was restructured for adaptability to local church size and circumstances, without detriment to its connectional identity. New leaders were emerging, some from the old membership and some from newcomers. These changes enhanced the opportunity for further progress and greater service for Platt Springs United Methodist Church. During Rev. Hipp’s tenure there were many noted accomplishments:
+ Reduction of church indebtedness.
+ In September 1967, Dr. Dean Richardson of the Department of Finance and Field Service of the General Board of Missions led a financial crusade. This was a great step forward in the goal for a new sanctuary.
+ The first pictorial directory was completed.
+ Further improvements to the property were made, including additional plantings in the yard, defining of parking areas, and extensive improvements to the interior of the first sanctuary.
Rev. Hipp was appointed to serve Matthews United Methodist Church in Greenwood, S.C. and departed June 1971.
A New Era
In 1974 the decision was made to build a new sanctuary. The ground was broken for the new building on July 21, 1974 at the Annual Homecoming Service. Stanley Smith & Sons of West Columbia, S.C. constructed the sanctuary at a cost of $130,000. Furniture and equipment cost $15,275, which was paid for by members through memorials and honorariums. The first worship service in the new sanctuary was conducted on March 2, 1975. The official Consecration Service was conducted May 11, 1975. Bishop Tullis delivered the sermon and led the Service of Consecration.
The old sanctuary was renovated and used as a Fellowship Hall. The majority of funds for the renovation were provided by the UMW through bazaars, bake sales, and special dinners.
The Renovations Committee was dissolved in 1976 and the Trustees were responsible for all future building and renovation.
Rev. Covington departed Platt Springs in June 1976.
Rev. Frank J. Griffith, Jr. was appointed to Platt Springs. During Rev. Griffith’s tenure membership rose to 500. A part-time secretary was added to the church staff.
Rev. Thomas Copeland Jones, Jr. was appointed to Platt Springs in December 1979 and came in January 1980. Rev. Jones â€œThomas” presided over a rather exciting period in our church history. Membership grew to over 600 during a period when the denomination had seen a decline in total Methodist numbers. The church budget grew from $60,000 to $146,000+. Among the main significant improvements to our church were:
+ All rooms in the education wing of church were air-conditioned.
+ Stained glass windows were installed in the sanctuary (86-87).
+ The chancel area was redesigned to include a large communion table and a complete a railing around the communion table.
+ Central heating, insulation, and improvements were made to the Fellowship Hall.
+ A freezer was added to the kitchen.
+ A Hand bell Choir was begun with the purchase of hand bells, tables and racks.
+ A new organ was purchased in 1991 at a cost of $32,810.00.
+ New office equipment was acquired including a copier and a church computer system. In 1991 church records were automated.
+ A full-time nursery worker was added to staff.
+ When we celebrated our 1992 Homecoming, actually in September, the Choir made a grand and glorious appearance in their new blue and white robes.
We celebrated our 40th anniversary with a Festival of Forty” and The Rev. Thom Jones began his 14th year as our Pastor. On March 6, 1993 we paid homage to our brother in music, James Bonnette.
Thom Jones was assigned to Ashland UMC in Columbia and the Rev. James Correll, wife Evelyn, and son Daniel, were with us for one year only. At Jim’s request he was transferred to the upstate in June 1995.
Rev. Allen Long was assigned to Platt Springs following annual conference. He, along with wife Jean, were welcomed to PSUMC. In his first year Allen introduced a new way of meeting the Stewardship challenge. His approach was the most successful of any previously conducted at PSUMC and was used for many year afterwards.
A new parsonage was purchased in 1995 and new furnishings provided.
Rev. Mary V. Teasley was appointed to Platt Springs following annual conference. She, along with her three daughters, Caitlin, Sara and Rebecca Unrue, were welcomed to PSUMC. In June 1998, a full-time Director of Children and Youth was added to the staff. On July 19, 1998 a service of dedication and mortgage burning was held.
In Spring-Summer 2001 – The existing fellowship hall was demolished to make way for our larger facilities and on July 22, 2001 a service for the breaking of ground for the new Family Ministries Building was held.
Tragically, on December 15, 2001 an early morning fire completely destroyed our educational building.
On July 21, 2002 a service of consecration for the new Family Ministries Building was held and on December 15, 2002 the service of consecration of the Educational Building was held with the Rev. Susan Ulmer, District Superintendent, bringing the message.
On Sunday, July 20, 2003 we celebrated our 50th Homecoming Anniversary with the Rev. Frank Griffith, former minister, delivering the sermon. A cotton “throw” depicting the growth of the church was designed by members of the History Committee with the slogan: “50 years in Faith and Service.” They were sold as a commemorative gift to members and former members. Each member of the congregation was given a booklet with the history of the church and a list of members. The cover of the booklet was designed and printed by one of our members, Renee Shumpert Layson.
On August 15, 2004 the second floor addition was approved for occupancy and on August 29, 2004 Sunday School classes were rearranged with several classes occupying the newly opened second floor of the education building.
In May 2006, The Rev. Mary Teasley was appointed to serve as the District Superintendent of the Greenwood District by Bishop Mary V. Taylor. She departed in June and The Rev. Paul M. Cheezem was assigned as the new pastor of Platt Springs UMC. He, along with wife Doty, were welcomed to PSUMC. During Cheezem’s pastorate, PSUMC adopted a Safe Sanctuary Policy designed to protect children, youth and vunrable adults.
On July 1, 2010, The Rev. Rebecca J. Shirley (“Reverend Becky”) began serving as the Pastor of Platt Springs UMC.
+ During her service several necessary and important church policies were updated and put into place including a Building Use Policy, Written Financial Policies and a “Unified” Annual Budget that included missions, children’s and youth’s programs.
+ The Website was updated and expanded to include Sermons On-Line, a link to the Upper Room Devotionals, and weekly copies of the Worship Bulletin, prayer request lists and calendar/announcements.
+ The Church members agreed to buy the property next to the church to expand parking and for ‘green space’ for recreational and other church activities.
+ The church council adopted the moto: “Led by God to Be W.A.R.M. (Welcoming, Accepting, Responsive Ministers) and organized ministry planning teams for the church council into 5 specific “reaching” ministries: Up-Reach (Worship); Down-Reach (Age Level Discipleship/Small Groups & Fellowship); In-Reach (Congregational Care); Out-Reach (Missions) and i-Reach (Evangelism)
+ Annual “Movies-in-the-Field” were started with the support of the town of Springdale and held in the adjacent lot to the church as a means of Evangelistic outreach to the community.
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