In May 2018, Speedwell UMC merged with Cullowhee UMC. The Speedwell facility is now know as the Cullowhee United Methodist Church Speedwell Campus. A worship service and program activities are in the works to be held at the Speedwell Campus, 646 Cullowhee Mt. Road, Cullowhee.
All correspondence should be sent to Cullowhee UMC, PO Box 1267, Cullowhee, NC 28723. 828-293-9215.
Cullowhee Methodist Church 1920s
The following church history is written by Suzanne McDowell.
On May 6, 2018 two Cullowhee Valley churches in Jackson County, NC merge. The membership of the Speedwell United Methodist Church and the membership of Cullowhee United Methodist Church will join and re-create a “church family” bond that dates from the nineteenth century.
In 1851, Jackson was formed as a new Western North Carolina county. However, by this date the earliest settlers had already created at least two Methodist churches. Daniel Pane founded Webster Methodist Church in 1840 followed soon thereafter by John McDowell who organized Speedwell Methodist Church. East La Porte also served as one of the early Methodist preaching places by the time Jackson County was formed.
Speedwell and East La Porte were the parent churches of the ‘new’ Cullowhee church formed in 1894. The sixteen charter members represented were not new members to Methodism but rather already active members drawn from these earlier established Methodist congregations. The Bennett, Brown, Bryson, Coward, Madison, Rogers and Smith families recognized that the time had come to form a new Cullowhee Valley church to serve their growing community.
Four years later, one of the founding members, Anna Bryson Brown, daughter of James C Bryson and Rhonda Jane Davis Bryson, and wife of R. Hamilton Brown, noted in her 1898 diary the joy and happiness that one special church service brought in which four ministers participated with a growing congregation.
One hundred twenty-four years later, in recognition and celebration of well over a century of change, Cullowhee and Speedwell churches will reunite as one congregation and be known as Cullowhee United Methodist Church. The Speedwell building will be called the Speedwell Campus of the Cullowhee United Methodist Church. Like many family reunions, there will be moments of joy and sadness, laughter and tears, singing and shouting, praying and praising.