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Claypool United Methodist Church, standing on a hill which overlooks a turn in Huff Creek about three miles from the town of Man, West Virginia, was established in 1886 as the Methodist Episcopal Church. The original structure was built with logs hewn by broad axe and hauled to the site by a team of oxen. The land where the log church, the present day church, and a large cemetery sit was donated by one of the original founders and supporters, William Claypool. His ancestors remain active members to this day.
The old log church was heated by wood stove and lighted by oil lamp. The benches, also hand-made, have square nails made by James D. Brown. One of the members would come to church hours before meeting time to make sure the building was warm when the congregation arrived. Members traveled by wagon, on horseback, and walked to attend services. Sunday School was held in the one-room building for classes of various ages, with the classes gathering in different areas of the sanctuary. The first pastor was Reverend Austin Workman.
In 1932, Reverend and Mrs. J. W. Thomas pastored the church without pay. It was during his ministry that the congregation and Sunday School membership grew so large that the old log church couldn’t hold them all. It was decided to build a modern structure near the scene of the old log church. The “new” church was completed in 1950 and formally dedicated on May 6, 1951. Property was acquired nearby and a parsonage was built in the mid-1950s. It was dedicated on February 23, 1957 by the Pastor, Reverend E.E. Parker.
A centennial celebration was held in 1986. Former members, friends, and pastors enjoyed the celebration. A homecoming dinner, singing, and preaching were among the festivities, with the present members attired in old-fashioned clothing. An open house of the original log building was a central part of the day.
1989 found Claypool United Methodist experiencing another growth spurt, and a need for renovation. Under the leadership of Pastor Chalmer Abrams, the church sanctuary was completely renovated. New stained glass windows, carpeting, lighting, pews, and pulpit furniture were purchased. It was at this time the church purchased a baby grand piano and organ, along with a new state-of- the art sound system.
With the renovation of the new building brought attention for the restoration of the original log building. The men of the church restored the log church to its original state in 1998. It is still used to this day for Vacation Bible School, special heritage services, and stands as a monument to God’s faithfulness to His people.
In 2000, the new century saw the acquisition of land adjacent to the church property. New parking facilities were constructed soon thereafter. A new storage garage has been constructed within the last year under the leadership of Pastor Kevin Farmer. Many church activities are held on the church campus, such as picnics, sings, and Vacation Bible School. Plans for an activity/fellowship building are forthcoming, with construction expected to begin this year or early 2015.
This year marks the 128th year the old log church has been standing as a shrine to Christianity. A heritage rich in the preached Gospel of Jesus Christ, gospel music---from bluegrass to contemporary---fellowship, faith, and love, season the Spirit-filled worship of today’s Claypool United Methodist Church.
The heritage of Christ-centered, Bible-based ministry continues, with Claypool United Methodist remaining as integral a part of the community it serves now as it did in 1886.