The year was 1892 when members of Jones Chapel joined together to build a new place of worship. It wasn’t the same building as we know it now. There was no such thing as central heat or air conditioning. Only a wood burning stove fought off the chill in the winter, and during the summer there were only shade trees to send in a cool breeze.
There was no electricity and no running water. Grave digging tools were placed in one corner of the church because there was no place to store them. There were two front doors and two aisles. Women sat on one side and men on the other. There was just one room. But in that room, the spirit of God was celebrated, much as it is today, through the lives of the people.
Members together celebrated the beginning of life and mourned the ending. They helped eachother through the hardships and joys of everyday life. Minister came and went, each with their own special messages. Countless voices from the choirs uplifted the congregation with their songs of praise. But most importantly, the word of God was taught. Jones Chapel was first named Jones Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church South.
The church has records that date back to 1860, but it has been said that the church was organized around 1830 or 1840. The first structure used for worship was a log cabin located 400 yards east of the present church building. It was later replaced by a framed building near the present site. At one time, Jones Chapel was on a 5 charge circuit. The other churches on the charge were Danielsville, Gordon’s Chapel, Liberty, and Wesley Chapel. A minister would come to preach at Jones Chapel the first Sunday of each month. The minister resided in a parsonage located in Danielsville.
In 1893, Jones Chapel became a station church where members once again came together to buld a parsonage, which would provide for their own minister. Before the educational complex was added on in 1967, Sunday School was held on Sunday mornings in the sanctuary, or outside if weather permitted. When the church was first built, it was only supported by pillars. Members recall that it was later underpinned with labor from convicts from the county. Lunches of chicken mull were prepared for the convicts by some of the ladies of the church.
In 1977. the church was bricked in white by a family of brick masons in the church. The blue lighted steeple and the stained glass windows were later added as memorial contributions following the tragic loss of young members. At Christmas time stages of lumber and sawhorses were erected for the children’s program and traditional gifts of fruit and candy were distributed throughout the congregation and community.
The history of the church is rich with many stories and memories of days gone by. One member of Jones Chapel recalls a long ago sermon against a public swimming pool located at Mason’s Mill. The minister said that if he caught any of his members in that “Devil’s wallowing hole” he would turn them from the church. A woman who was responsible for cleaning the church recalls bringing water in every Sunday morning for the pastor. The only water available came from a private well across the street. Past records of the church remain quite a mystery showing some members of the church being suspended from the church for “just cause”.
Jones Chapel United Methodist Church undoubtedly has a very rich history of days gone by. Over the years generations of families have filled the pews. Countless members have formed groups, committees, classes and missions to carry out the ongoing ministry of the church under the Lordship of Jesus Christ within the congregation and community. It started out as just one room. But in that one room the Spirit of God is celebrated today, as it was yesterday, through the lives of the people.
– Laura Bowen, Jones Chapel UMC Member