As members of this congregation of the United Methodist Church, we faithfully participate in its ministries through our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service, and our witness.
Deerfield United Methodist Church is part of the Appalachian District of the Western North Carolina United Methodist Conference.
"The Western North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church provides leadership and support for more than 1,100 churches and 300,000 members throughout North Carolina. Our mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world (wnccumc.org)."
Deerfield United Methodist Church came into being as a result of a dream held in the hearts of the people in the mountains of Watauga County. It had its beginning when a group of people in the community began prayer meetings in different homes under the leadership of Reverend Jack Caudill and Reverend Harold Ballard. This began a venture of faith, since there had not been a new Methodist Church built in Watauga County in thirty-five years.
Deerfield Methodist Church was chartered on September 16, 1960 with two members, Mrs. Malcolm McGhee and Elmer Wood. Two acres of land were donated by Edith and Edna Hampton, and a building committee was formed made up of Dale Wood, Elmer Wood, and Dexter Hampton. Funding was started with a $10,000 loan backed by a note signed by the building committee members. The building was started, but Rev. Caudill was forced to retire due to ill health. Rev. Harold Ballard, the minister at Friendship Methodist Church, filled in for part of a year.
In 1961, Joseph McMurry felt the call to ministry at age 29 after four years in the Air Force and beginning a career in banking. He quit his job, sold his house, and enrolled at Appalachian State Teachers’ College in Boone. He was assigned as a supply preacher to Deerfield in 1961 and lived in a house provided by Dexter Hampton.
In August 1961, District Superintendent Rev. Garland Stafford came to Deerfield to receive 25 members—12 by transfer and 13 on profession of faith. A Sunday School was organized on August 10, 1961, with 32 members. By the end of 1962, 22 more members were taken in and the charter membership of Deerfield Methodist closed with 47 members. Based upon Georgia Wood’s records, the names of the charter members are as follows: James Broyhill, Rev. Jack Caudill, Mrs. Jack Caudill, McClure Elrod, Verlie Elrod, James Harrison, Martha Harrison (Moody), Lelia Harrison, Lester Harrison, Dexter Hampton, Ora Hampton, Mack Hampton, Mary Frances Hampton, Council Henson, Mary Henson, Forster Jamison, Hazel Jamison, Gerri Keller, Betsy Keller, Connie Keller, Donese Keller, James C. Lyons, Peggy Lyons, Donald Lyons, Lue Lyons, Malcolm McGhee, Lue McGhee, Joe McMurry, Beverly McMurry, Luther Norris, Helen Norris, Norman Norris, Clark Rominger, Joyce Rominger, Anne Smathers, Jimmy Taylor, Dale Wood, Georgia Wood, Martha Wood, Elmer Wood, Pearl Wood, Elma Wood, Margery Wood, L.R. Wood, Rosa Wood, Molly Yates, and Barthella Yates.
The cost of the original church building was $15,000, with Duke Endowment paying $3,500, the Builders Club paying $4,500, the District paying $3,500, and church members paying $3,500.
In March 1963 the church began work on a parsonage, purchasing a lot for $500 from Edna and Edith Hampton and completing the house at a cost of $8,500. By the time Rev. McMurry finished his pastorate in 1966, an education wing had also been constructed.
In 1980, Deerfield United Methodist completed a major building project which doubled the physical size of the church, adding a second story of five classrooms and a choir room to the existing educational building. The Pike Fellowship Hall was also completed at this time and named in honor of Walter and Mary Pike, whose generosity made this part of the project possible. The consecration service for the new fellowship hall was held in September 1980.
A church conference in 1987 authorized the renovation and expansion of the church building which included reversing the pulpit location and entry doors, providing additional seating, installing a new furnace and air-conditioning system, and adding stained glass windows—a memorial gift from Mary Henson in memory of Council Henson.
Expansion of the church property continued in 1988 with the purchase of a 1.6 acre lot from Bertha Greer for $15,000 to be used for overflow parking. In 1991, the church purchased a 1.237 acre lot from the estate of Molly Yates for $30,000, and in 1998 purchased 1.9 acres from Eastfork Properties for $50,000. The most recent land acquisition was .67 acre purchased from Eastfork Properties for $10,000 in the fall of 2010.
In March of 2002, the church began another a building project. A new fellowship hall (almost twice the size of the original one) was constructed with a floor above consisting of additional classrooms, choir room, library, and restrooms. The existing classrooms, kitchen, and office space were renovated, and an elevator was installed to make the second floor accessible to everyone. The new construction and a new church prayer garden were dedicated in June of 2003. Through partnership with the National Committee for the New River, the church completed a conservation project protecting the prayer garden and Hampton Trace stream flowing nearby in 2009.
The parsonage was remodeled in 1984-85 to enclose the carport, add bedroom space and bathrooms, and build a garage. Following a fire on Dec. 29, 2010, the parsonage was totally renovated with the installation of hardwood flooring, new windows, and air conditioning.
God has been faithful to the congregation at Deerfield United Methodist for more than 50 years, and we pray that this church will bring a steadfast witness of His love to our community and the world. We strive to grow not only in size, but more importantly in faith and in service. Thanks be to God for His goodness and His grace!