Leicester – For more than a year, in our Where We Worship series, we have uncovered the “hidden gems” or local faith organizations and churches that help make Northern Buncombe County and Madison County thrive.
Bell United Methodist Church in Leicester is no exception. Located just off of New Leicester Highway, on Mayrand Road, Bell United Methodist Church has impacted the Leicester area for well over a century and a half.
For 153 years, generations of congregants have met at this local church and served the community. Organized in 1866, at the home of William A. Gillespie, according to church records, services were held once a month before later transitioning into weekly services. The original services were led by Reverend Francis Fanning, a traveling Methodist pastor, also known as a Methodist circuit rider.
Most recently, Sandy Devoid took over as the lay supply pastor of the church, leading the organization into the future. Devoid accepted the position a month ago and currently lives in Mountain Home.
As I arrived on the church property, the unique buildings’, charming architecture stood. Its red brick gleamed at the street sitting next to the property.
Service began at 9:30 as congregants thoughtfully headed into the building. As I walked into the sanctuary, I was greeted by several congregants who welcomed me to the church.
The ministerial pianist played the prelude as the congregation found their seats. A church lay leader stepped forward to welcome parishioners while presenting the weekly announcements. Reverend Devoid followed by stating an opening prayer before the congregation stated the Call to Worship.
The piano echoed out again as worshipers, led by Devoid, stood to their feet to sing Love Divine, All Loves Excelling, the hymns of the day.
Devoid then led the church into a time of participatory prayer for those who are sick and suffering in the church. Individuals from across the room offered their prayer requests.
Following the offering, the congregation sang another hymn titled Spirit of the Living God before the presenting of the Sunday morning message.
Devoid stepped forward to give her sermon. She spoke about the power of patience, generosity and kindness, among other presentational points. Devoid communicated the idea for Christians to unite in helping others in the community and their local church.
As Devoid concluded her sermon, the congregation sang Amazing Grace. The benediction was stated and service dismissed.
Service at Bell United Methodist Church proved to be traditional in its presentation. The congregation’s heart for service became undoubtedly clear. From its community dinner served at the Leicester Community Center to other church projects serving children in the area, Bell United Methodist Church looks to the future to continue its service to the community.