Nebo United Methodist Church building, land for sale after members vote to close
A historic McDowell County church that served the needs of countless members voted earlier this year to permanently close its doors. And the old church building and property is now for sale.
Located at 117 Nebo School Road, Nebo United Methodist Church has deep roots in McDowell County. Its stone construction dates from the 1920s. And its historic Wilson-Ballew Memorial Cemetery is the final resting place for families who have belonged to this church for generations.
But during the summer, the remaining members of the congregation decided to close the doors of the church forever. The reason was declining membership, said the Reverend Mark Ralls, who is the superintendent for the Blue Ridge district in the Western North Carolina Conference.
“Over the past few decades, Nebo United Methodist Church, like other churches across the United States, has experienced a steady decline in membership due to a variety of factors,” Ralls said in a statement. prepared. “In the face of dwindling membership and tithes, the church that once nurtured the faith of so many and provided vital ministry to its community could no longer sustain those ministries.”
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Because of this painful reality, the remaining members voted in June to close Nebo United Methodist Church, he added.
“The Western North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church (WNCC) has assisted the congregation through this heartbreaking process,” Ralls said in his statement.
When the decision was announced on Facebook, people with deep ties to this church were quick to react.
“I’m so sad about this,” Robin Ballew Culbertson wrote on Facebook. “As my mother was an organist for many years, I literally grew up in this church. I was baptized there, married there and most of my family is buried there. I have such fond memories of playing with my friends on the church steps during choir practice, singing in the cantatas, and lighting the candles before worship. I was so proud that my great-grandmother was responsible for preparing communion all those years ago. She spent a lot of time washing those little glass cups.
“I remember the smell of fresh grass coming in through the windows during services (before the air conditioning),” she wrote. “I remember being fascinated by the fact that people who had no idea how to read music could figure out how to sing an anthem. I remember looking up at the ceiling of the choir closet and wondering what the attic looked like behind that little hatch. I’ve done that a lot. I also looked out the basement windows a lot, wishing we could set up the basement for a secret hangout for the kids. Our church was small but we had big hearts.
William Brown III wrote: “This is such sad news. There was (and always will be) a place in my heart for Nebo Methodist. I was baptized in Nebo Methodist and went there when I was young. My fondest memories are of the saints in the church of my youth. The Stacey sisters, Watson Wilson, Helen Plant, Grace Stepp, Jack and Grace Baldwin, Jack and Nancy Corpening, Bob and Louise Ballew, and many more. I can still see them and where they used to sit in church every Sunday. I can still feel Watson Wilson shake my hand. So many memories from so long ago. It’s so sad to see Nebo Methodist closing. So, very sad.
“This is very sad news,” Glenda Henson wrote on Facebook. “Nebo Methodist has been there all my life. When I was young, I lived near the church, so the pastor’s children were always my best friends. I went to Vacation Bible School there all summer when I was a kid. So very very sad.
“So sorry to hear this,” wrote Barbara Kyles. “This church has been around for as long as I can remember.”
As with all churches closing in the Western North Carolina Conference (WNCC), church property has been put up for sale by the Conference Board of Trustees. All proceeds from the property sale will go into a fund that provides financial support for starting new churches and vital, innovative ministries within the WNCC, according to Ralls.
“These members, who faithfully made the difficult decision to close Nebo UMC, now join other churches in their community and continue to remain dedicated to their mission to follow God and make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. “, said Ralls. . “While it is always difficult to see a church close, we offer thanksgiving for the lives that have been changed through the ministries of Nebo UMC and celebrate the ongoing missions and ministries of United Methodist churches in the west. of North Carolina.”
The real estate listing for the building and property is available online: https://www.loopnet.com/Listing/117-Nebo-School-Rd-Nebo-NC/26783485/?utm_campaign=CDX&utm_source=email&utm_content=4307177
“The church property consists of a beautiful stone chapel built with river rocks harvested from a tributary of Lake James in 1928,” reads the property listing. “The unfinished basement is an open space with revealed foundation walls. Upstairs is the small sanctuary, the offices, the choir room and two bathrooms. Added at an unknown later date, the scholarship/education hall building consists of classrooms, a residential-style kitchen, bathrooms, and a large flexible dining hall.
The buildings cover 8,858 square feet and the property is four acres. Legal access to the site is only from US 70. Although an entrance exists on Nebo School Road, no legal easements are in place. Any continuation of such an easement will be the responsibility of the purchaser. The neighbor owner of the Nebo School Road access has expressed a willingness to explore an easement, but none is in place at this time, according to the property listing.
As for the cemetery, it has been subdivided from church property and former church members will own and maintain the cemetery. Lawful access to do this will be granted via an easement, according to the property listing.
The price of the building and the land is $435,000.