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Indian Trail Presbyterian celebrates its centennial year

By Latisha Catchatoorian
Correspondent

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    For information on Indian Trail Presbyterian Church visit or write: Indian Trail Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 187, Indian Trail, NC 28709.



Indian Trail Presbyterian Church, known to many as the “rock church” on Indian Trail Road, hasn’t always had its gleaming stone exterior. Since its building and organization in 1913, Indian Trail Presbyterian has had to undergo upkeep and construction.

In 1988, a fire inflicted considerable structural and interior damage. The structure also went through a remodeling between 1934 and 1938. Originally a white-framed building, quartz stone was later added, and stained glass windows were installed in 1957.

Though the exterior of the church has changed through the decades, the mission of the church has stayed the same for its 100 years – a community church dedicated to its congregation, services, worship and outreach.

“This community of faith has been very hospitable and good to me,” said the Rev. Jim Johns, the head pastor. “Our primary function is worshipping God and Jesus Christ our lord. It’s out of worship that we extend other functions.”

Johns, 62, who is originally from Virginia, said he felt “the call” to be a pastor since he was a teenager. A second-career pastor, Johns said he fought this feeling until God thought he was ready to fulfill his ecclesiastical role. He was head of another church before moving to North Carolina to be pastor of Indian Trail in 2001.

Johns says for a small church (about 120 members), Indian Trail does a lot of things.

“We help out at the Union County Shelter, we take a mission trip every year to Black Mountain, the Black Mountain Home for Children…we host three separate Girl Scout troops,” said Johns.

Indian Trail also organizes monthly food drives for Loaves and Fishes and serves as a meeting place for other groups.

Behind the stone and stucco sanctuary lies a separate building, built in 1974. It houses the kitchen, Sunday school rooms, Pastor Johns’ office and an open area which many of the church’s activities, events and community projects are held. It is used for Sunday School, fellowship, a weekly Wednesday supper, Bible study and youth programs.

Displayed in a back corner of the activity hall is a model replica of Indian Trail Presbyterian church constructed by Thad Biggers. Biggers, one of the first four superintendents of Indian Trail, created it as a tribute to the church.

A great help to Pastor Johns in the running, maintenance, grounds keeping and history of Indian Trail is church member O’Dell Rogers, 71.

“I do a little bit of everything,” said Rogers. “I just live right over the hill here…So I’m on call anytime if anybody needs anything. I mow the grass or just do whatever needs to be done.”

Rogers’ family settled in Indian Trail in 1904 and his grandparents were charter members of the church.

Rogers used to attend Sunday School in the now closed-off basement of the church. He said back then it wasn’t waterproofed appropriately, and he and his friends would have to take their shoes off because the ground was a pool of water.

Rogers says that everyone knows everyone and Pastor Johns knows everyone by name.

“We are just a close-knit family I believe,” said Rogers. “We are just open to anybody that needs help.”

The close knit family that Rogers describes hosts many events throughout the year as a congregation.

In March they had an Easter Egg Hunt and in April they will have a “No Talent, Talent Show.”

“That’s one of our most popular events,” said Johns. “We encourage anyone, whether they have a particular talent or not, we figure everyone has some talent.”

Rogers says sometimes people just go up there a “make a fool of themselves” just for fun.

Indian Trail will also have a Senior Luncheon, a Centennial Yard Sale to benefit Christian Education, a Fall Festival and Craft Fair and a Candlelight Christmas Eve service to close out the year.

Indian Trail Presbyterian members, with the pleasing aesthetic of their little church and all the centennial events planned by year’s end are, above all else,dedicated to their congregation.

“We are a family church and we look at ourselves as family members,” says Johns. “We are a family church who feel called to carry out Christ’s great commission to share the word of Jesus Christ with all folks.”

Latisha Catchatoorian is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Latisha? Email her at latisha.catch@gmail.com.
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