First United Methodist Church Landis
Tuesday, October 19, 2021






In the early 1900's there was no church in Landis. Mt. Zion Reformed and Lutheran Chapel were the nearest churches. With no way to travel except mostly walking, some of the citizens of Landis helped start an afternoon church. Mrs. Fannie Corriher, a charter member of Landis First United Methodist Church, said the first meetings were held in a small building known as "The Post Office."  Plans were made to build a church in 1903. The deed states that in 1904 the sum of $100 was paid to Linn Mills Company for one-half acre of land on Mill Street. Mr. D.B. Coltrane, a dedicated Methodist of Concord, was president of Linn Mill Company at that time. Mr. Coltrane came once a year to speak at the white wooden church and all the affluent members of Landis came out for the event.


Mr. A. J. Deal was treasurer and Mr. J. O. Lip's name was also on the deed.  The first trustees were C. W. Walker, H. J. Walker and C. W. Corriher. The Walkers were brothers of Uncle Joe Walker, who for years ran the church almost single handed. He rang the bell, built the fires in the big pot-bellied stove, cleaned the church, ordered the literature, took the offering, and kept all the books -- at least he was doing all this in 1923. In 1934 these duties fell to Clifford Dial who carried them out faithfully until the old church was torn down in 1962.

Mrs. Fannie Corriher, wife of Calvin W. Corriher,  said her husband was largely responsible for the church. Volunteer carpenters did the building and when they ran out of materials, work had to stop until some of Dr. Corriher's patients paid him. Then he bought more nails and lumber. It was 1905 before the little frame building was completed. Even the pews and altar rail were handmade. An organ was donated. No one seems to remember who gave it. It was one of those you pump with your feet. At the age of 13, Eula Davidson Alexander became the organist in 1924.


When the church was finished in 1904, making it the first church in Landis, the church was added to the China Grove Methodist Episcopal Church South Circuit with Rev. A. L. Aycock as pastor. The church was composed of one large room plus the small bell tower room in which the children met - a class called the "card" class. All the other Sunday School classes met scattered in the one-room building.


Some of the early families were the Walkers, the Beavers, the Corrells, and the Hinsons.


In approximately 1912, Landis was grouped with several other churches to form the Landis Charge. This charge consisted of Landis, Oak Grove, Unity, Bethpage and Shiloh. We were told that since the Landis church was the only church with electric lights, the Landis church had night services every Sunday except the first Sunday in the month. On that Sunday services were held at 11:00 a.m.


In 1938, Landis became a three-point charge, consisting of Landis, Oak Grove, and Unity, under the pastorate of Clegg Avett. The three churches built a parsonage near Oak Grove on Highway 152.


In 1952 the present educational building was constructed with the skilled help of the pastor, Rev. R. G. McClamrock, who was a gifted carpenter. Bricks were donated by the thousands by church members and the town business people.


Landis moved off the charge and became a station church in 1955. The church bought a parsonage on South Chapel Street and Rev. Lloyd Hunsucker became the first pastor of the station church.


In 1962, while Rev. Hubert Brown was pastor, the white framed church was torn down and a new sanctuary was constructed at a cost of approximately $21,000. The furniture was donated. It was dedicated on June 5, 1966.


Just as soon as the debt was paid in 1966, plans were begun for a new parsonage. Land was purchased at the corner of West Ridge Avenue and Vance Street and a parsonage was built for approximately $36,000. Rev. and Mrs. Pat Heafner were the first occupants of the new parsonage.


The United Methodist Men financed and constructed the ramp that  allows the handicapped easier access to the church.


In the summer of 1988, construction was started on the present Fellowship Building and completed in November of 1988, at a cost of approximately $90,000. Open house was held on January 8, 1989. The debt was paid on June 5, 1989. Bishop L. Bevel Jones held a service of dedication on September 17, 1989. The following were the Building Committee: James Gryder, Chairman, Ruth Atkinson, Don Carpenter, Marshall Deadmon, Mildred DeMarcus, Fritz Dial, Pat Flowers, Seabert Pittman, and Naegel Price.


For years the church knew that it was hemmed in as far as property expansion and looked into possibilities of purchasing additional property unsuccessfully for a number of years. In December of 1996, the trustees under the leadership of Seabert Pittman dealt with Sylvia Coward, the owner of the property across the street from the church at the corner of South Central and East Mill. The property consisted of two lots - one normal sized lot and a small lot. Mrs. Coward sold the large lot for $15,000 and donated the small lot to the church. The property was purchased to be used as a parking lot for the church. (This property was at one time the site of Linn-Honeycutt Funeral Home.) On October 22, 1999, Mrs. J. Fred Corriher, Sr. donated the money to pave the new property in memory of her brother, Robert Alexander. The gift was also given in honor of two members of our church, Naegel Price and Marshall Deadmon.


The following have served as pastors of the church: A. L. Aycock, 1904-1906; W. L. Hutchins, 1907-1908; J. H. Sellers, 1908-1910; W. B. Shinn, 1910-1913; S. L. Owens, 1913-1915; R. L. Forbis, 1915-1918; J. S. Gibbs, 1918-1919; J. C. Brown, 1919-1924; Ernest Rufty, 1924-1927; P. E. Parker, 1927-1929; Brooks Jerome, 1929-1934; C.R. Allison, 1934-1938; Clegg Avett, 1938-1942; Austin Hamilton, 1942-1947; George Garver, 1947-1948; C. L. Ledford, 1948-1950; R. G. McClamrock, 1950-1954; J. L. Love, 1954-1955; Lloyd Hunsucker, 1955-1959; Joe Daniels, 1959-1960; H. A. Brown, 1960-1967;J. P. Heafner, 1967-1971; Bobby Joe Dennis, 1971-1975; Bob Walters, 1975-1977; Don Conrad, 1977-1981; Ervin S. Cook, Jr., 1981-1984; J. Robert Kretzu, 1984-1987; H. Steven Kiser, 1987-1990; John F. Edwards, 1990-1992; Barry n. Sutton, 1992-2000; Andrea Redard Conder, 2000-2005, Thomas E. Conder, Jr., 2005-2007; Rev. Bev Coppley, 2007-2012, Rev. William Mandelstamm, 2012-2013 , Rev. Alexis Coleman, 2013-


You will note the two pastors of the same last name!  First UMC Landis is a trailblazing church!  The first ever female pastor in the history of the town of Landis began her ministry here in 2000 with the appointment of Andrea Redard.  In December of 2001, Andrea married Thomas E. Conder, Jr., another UM pastor who was serving at Bethel UMC in Rowan County (he later moved to Harmony UMC in Concord).  In 2005, we made history again, when Bishop J. Lawrence McCleskey made the first ever clergy couple switch in the history of the Conference.  When Andrea needed to go to seminary full time, UM rules required that she not be working at a full time church.  At the same time, Tommy was graduating from seminary and was required to go back to a full time appointment.  So, the Bishop simply switched them!  In June, 2005, Tommy moved to Landis, while Andrea moved to Harmony UMC in Concord.  In a surprise, last minute appointment change during the 2007 Cabinet meetings, it was decided that Tommy would move to North Kannapolis and Rev. Bev Coppley would take the helm as pastor of First UMC--Landis.  Bev was also a part of a clergy couple and her husband, Jeff, served at Bethpage UMC in Kannapolis during their five years in Rowan County.


From this church membership, several people have entered the full-time ministry. They are I. Presley Rutledge (1952), Harry D. Sammons (1996), and Ruth B. Atkinson (2001). Although not members of this church at the time of entering the ministry, Roy Sides and Dorsia Atkinson, Jr., (1999) also answered the call into the ministry.

(The above information was first begun by Mrs. Estelle Davidson Dial (now deceased) with the help of the only living charter member, Mrs. Fannie Corriher (now deceased). It was edited by Midgie R. Dial and first published on our previous site by Bruce Garner in January of 2001, and moved and updated to our present website.)