Lane Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church

1800s through 1950s

Lane Chapel Colored Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1870 in a one-room frame house in the section of Humboldt, TN known as “Plum Orchard” by a few dedicated persons who had worshiped in the balcony of the white Methodist Church South. In 1874 as the church membership steadily increased the founders and members of the church, under the leadership of Rev. Berry Smith, built a large frame church in the northwest section of Humboldt called “The Bottom” which was located near Vine Street. In 1899 under the leadership of its first assigned pastor, Rev. Charlie Lane, as the church experienced a continued steady increase in membership the members decided to purchase a northeast site of land between the L & N and G.M.O. Railroads on Mitchell Street at the intersection of 10th Street in the city. It was on this site that a new brick structure was built. Further evidence of their continuous growth occurred in 1899 when the African Methodist Episcopal Church of Humboldt merged with Lane Chapel Colored Methodist Episcopal Church in America. In accordance with progress during this period the “In America” was dropped from the name of the church in 1930. In addition, in 1954 the General Conference of the CME church voted to change the name of all the CME churches from Colored Methodist Episcopal to Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. Accordingly, at this time the church’s name was changed to Lane Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.

 

A New Beginning

1980s – 2000s

Under the leadership of Rev. Charles W. Ward the members looked toward the future. During this time five acres of land was purchased located on Gibson Wells Road and the US by-pass 79 for the construction of a new church. In 1990 Rev. Dr. Arthur L. David was appointed pastor. Under his leadership in a two-year period of time all outstanding indebtedness for the land purchased for the new church was eliminated. Also under his pastorate plans were developed for the new sanctuary, family life center and education office complex at the Gibson Wells Road site. Phase I of the construction which would be the family life center and educational complex and offices began in July 1995 with completion occurring in February, 1997. The dedication ceremony was held on March 2, 1997 with Bishop William H. Graves, Presiding Prelate of the First Episcopal District delivering the dedication sermon. In July, 1998 Rev. Thomas H. Williams was appointed to Lane Chapel. Under his leadership the Phase I debt for the family life center and education offices was totally eliminated in the Spring of 2003. Also under his leadership Jones Grove CME Church was merged into Lane Chapel. The members continued to move toward Phase II the building of the sanctuary, but Rev. Williams was not able to complete this due to his untimely death in the summer of 2004.

 

“The Chapel”

21st Century

After the death of Rev. Williams, Rev. Rick Rouse was appointed pastor. Under his leadership the One Church-One School Mentoring program was established under the direction of Ms. Essie Brooks, Ms. Annie Ferguson and Ms. Myrtle Fitzgerald. Continually looking to the future, the members moved forward in their construction plans for Phase II, the building of the sanctuary. In 2006, Rev. James G. Dowell, Sr., Presiding Elder of the Southwest District was appointed pastor. Under his leadership in the Spring of 2007 Phase II, the construction of the sanctuary began. In the spring of 2008 Phase II was completed and the dedication ceremony was held May 25, 2008. In July, 2011 Rev. John D. Pasley, II was appointed to Lane Chapel. Under his leadership growth conference training was initiated, incorporation of technical financial accountability, a ministry of recorded weekly sermons, Freewill Shelter residents were transported to Bible study, a policy and procedure manual developed and a parsonage was purchased. In July, 2013 Rev. Brian T. Lightner was appointed pastor. Under his leadership church planning lessons were instituted, a Health Fair began, a Back to School Back Pack program was initiated, and online banking was established. In August, 2014 Rev. Carmichael D. Crutchfield, Ph.D. was appointed pastor and is the current pastor. In addition to his duties as General Secretary of the Department of Christian Education of the CME Church and Associate Professor at Memphis Theological Seminary he has provided fervent and dedicated leadership to the Lane Chapel Church family. Under his leadership the members have begun prayer before worship with worship leaders in the prayer room, Christmas Eve Service, Maundy Thursday and Palm Sunday Service, a benevolent committee has been formed, educational components of membership and stewardship training, restructured the Board of Christian Education, revitalized children and youth ministry, led the effort to reduce church’s indebtedness, instituted annual fall banquet and teaching through the monthly educational component in the worship instrument. Since its humble beginnings Lane Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church has been blessed to continue in the work of the Kingdom through hard work and determination. As we take the time to look back on what God has done for us, the church continues to uphold the values and traditions of its founders. Lane Chapel CME Church stands today as evidence of what God’s people can do when they accept and follow God’s will and chosen path of discipleship, faith and service.