In 1885, a group of Methodists began to meet for worship in this area. In the early years, they met under a brush arbor and during the winter months. Services were held in a nearby schoolhouse with B.H. Sasnett serving as the early minister.
Within a few years, members desired a permanent structure for worship, so in 1887, the group purchased a 1-acre parcel of land for $10 from David Carmichael, about 1 mile away from their original meeting site. Members cut trees from their lands to give for building the church and a local man, J.B. Settle, who operated a sawmill nearby, offered to prepare the timber. Members helped to erect the building as well. When services began in the church, the Reverend J.E. England was the first minister and as such, they named it in his honor.
In 1948, upgrades and repairs or made to the building including a complete renovation of the inside of the sanctuary. Sunday school rooms were added however the outside appearance of the church remained the same. In 1965, the congregation purchased a new piano and in 1968, new windows were installed.
The church has remained active throughout the year and still holds services in this quaint country chapel 135+ years later.
When renovations were done in 1948, the congregation chose to keep the exterior true to its historic form so the outside of England's Chapel looks much like it did when it was built in 1887.
The windows at England's Chapel were installed in 1968.
As we enter the sanctuary, you'll notice that although the interior was renovated, it remains simple and inviting inside.
Looking from the pulpit to the entrance of the chapel, you'll notice the the tall ceilings and simple fixtures that honor the legacy of this space.
Light pours through these 9 over 9 windows that were added in 1968 through donations of church members.
Many souls have been saved, marriages performed and countess sermons delivered from this chancel. The members still observe the sabbath in simple fashion and on a regular basis.
Organ from Weaver Organ Company
In 1966, a new organ was purchased with money left for this purpose in the will of J.T. Chambers, as well as funds collected from the congregation. The old piano was later moved to the new recreational building and is used for singing and entertainment during the annual Christmas party.
England Chapel has been welcoming congregants and visitors for over 130 years, and they still do it the old fashioned way.
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For years my Father in law Gervin “Preacher” Lewis and his wife and my mother in law Julia Vaughn Lewis maintained the church. My Mother in law Julia Vaughn Lewis’s funeral was there at Bethel, in February 2001, as well as her brother Homer Vaughn. We had dinner on the grounds every year as a family reunion. Pastor Meeks preached at “Grandmomas” ( as what I lovingly called my mother in law) As a Primitive Baptist, if you were not a member of Bethel you could not have a funeral or weddings. I believe my Father in law had a great deal to do with the building of the back building (1970s) with the Baptismal, kitchen and bathrooms.Before pastor Meeks Pastor Kelly preached at Old Bethal, as my husband and his brothers remember, being thumped on the back of the ear as they misbehaved during church services as my husband tells it they only had church on the second Sunday of the month.
Dad’s parents lived in Flovilla and perhaps were members of this church. Are there any records of church membership during the twenties and thirties?
Not that we’re aware of but we wish you luck in your research!