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Westminster Methodist Church was conceived in 1951 from the belief that Methodism could best serve a rapidly growing Kinston community. Sponsored by Queen Street Methodist Church, a committee was formed and included Rev. Mark W. Lawrence, Mr. Felix Harvey, Mrs. L. B. Jenkins, Mrs. John C. Hood, Sr. and Mr. M. J. Hearn. The committee completed their study with the recommendation to establish a new church.

The Rev. James H. Miller, Jr. was appointed minister of the yet-to-be-organized church by the November 1951 North Carolina Annual Conference. Twenty-five people attended the first service held on December 9, 1951 in the Jaycee Youth Center on Nelson Street. Sunday School was held the following Sunday with twelve people present. With the cooperation of Rev. Mark Lawrence and the Queen Street Methodist Church, Sunday School was organized, a choir was formed, and plans were underway to charter the new church early in the spring.

Charter Sunday was March 23, 1952 with forty-six charter members being received into membership. The church was officially named Westminster Methodist Church on September 14, 1952 at the Fourth Quarterly Conference. It had previously been called West Kinston Methodist Church. The name “Westminster” came from a misprint in the News and Observer.

A tract of land for the new church was purchased in the fall of 1952 for $10,000. Fifteen hundred dollars was contributed by the NC Board of Missions and the remainder was raised by Queen Street Methodist Church. By October 1952, the membership of the new church had grown to 68 with a Sunday School enrollment of 75.

Over 100 people were present to celebrate the church’s first birthday on December 14, 1952 at a party in the Jaycee Building. Birthday gifts were presented to the Westminster Building Fund. Mr. and Mrs. L. B. Jenkins gave $10,000 with the promise of another $10,000 if an equal sum could be raised from other sources. A committee from Queen Street accepted the challenge on behalf of the young church and raised the necessary amount in a week’s time. We continue to be grateful to our Sister Church, Queen Street; which unselfishly worked and gave so that Westminster might be!

Groundbreaking services for the new building were held July 19, 1953. The congregation moved into its new $105,000 home in July 1954. On February 24, 1957, the congregation voted to buy a parsonage at a cost of $20,000. One thousand dollars was donated by the Conference Board of Missions, and $4,000 was raised by the church as a down payment. The pastor and his family moved into the parsonage in May 1957.

In February 1958, the congregation voted to raise a minimum of $10,000 to launch a $50,000 building program to add to the educational and fellowship facilities of the church. On the eighth anniversary celebration in March 1960, a groundbreaking ceremony was held. In November 1960, the new addition of a fellowship hall, kitchen and classrooms, at a cost of $59,000 was formally occupied. In February 1966, the congregation approved the preliminary sketches for a new educational building.

Bishop Paul N. Garber conducted a groundbreaking service on Sunday, January 22, 1967, and construction began soon after on our new two-story Educational Building. This new building was used for the first time on Sunday, December 10, 1967.

In April 1968, the Evangelical United Brethren Church and the Methodist Church merged at the Uniting General Conference in Dallas, Texas. Westminster became Westminster United Methodist Church. Our present sanctuary was consecrated on June 23, 1991 and dedicated on April 7, 2002 for the continued use of God’s people who gather there to worship.

Over the past four years, we have converted our Sexton and Director of Christian Education and Family Ministries from part-time to full-time positions to better serve our growing church family. We have added 59 new members over the past five years through professions of faith. We have participated in mission trips to West Virginia and Jamaica. Locally we are involved in many mission endeavors, our most successful being “Erasing the Lines,” which has grown to include many churches focusing on bringing the youth in our community together through Christ. Our preschool is our most recent venture, where we have moved our involvement from a sponsorship to a vital mission.

In 2005, we completed a $300,000 renovation of our kitchen and fellowship hall.

Westminster has had able leadership over its 55 year history. These years have been full and fruitful for the Lord. We know that with His help, the next 50 years will be even better.

We give thanks to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for His calling this congregation to use us for His glory! Westminster continues to strive to fulfill our mission statement of: To worship the Lord * To witness to His grace and * To win others to a personal relationship with Christ.

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