The area surrounding McClintock Presbyterian Church look different today 150 years after its founding.
The church was built in a rural area, founded in 1865 by newly freed slaves who left the balconies of white Presbyterian churches to start their own places to worship. In October of that year, McClintock Presbyterian became the first black Presbyterian church in Mecklenburg County.
Many of its members became sharecroppers on the property around the church. Now that land is home to streets and subdivisions.
Despite the changes, the church remains committed to its community as it celebrates a milestone anniversary.
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“We’re invested in the Steele Creek area, and we want to be identified as a very vital and instrumental group in that,” said the Rev. Arthur W. Canada, who is in his 12th year as the church’s pastor.
On Oct. 18, the church will celebrate the end of a year of events honoring the anniversary.
Historically, it’s a family church, but we are getting people who are coming into the community and joining us.
The Rev. Arthur W. Canada of McClintock Presbyterian Church
The church’s first service was held in the home of the Rev. Samuel C. Alexander, a white minister who also served as the church’s first pastor. The church initially met on an acre of land that Alexander donated.
A white farmer named McClintock donated the building materials for the church, which is named after him.
As the church grew, so did the demand for education. The McClintock School was built between 1883 and 1885 for first to seventh grades, and the church’s congregation worshiped there until a new building was constructed in 1890.
The school was torn down in 1916, and several years later the Rosenwald School was built on the property for public education for local children. It has since been renovated and now houses the pastor’s study, the church office and the fellowship hall.
Canada said that McClintock frequently partners with four nearby Presbyterian churches – Central Steele Creek, Steele Creek, Pleasant Hill and Mt. Olive – to serve the community and worship together.
The churches host joint services during the Christian Lenten season and at Thanksgiving. They also work with Loaves & Fishes and other community organizations to serve people who are needy.
Canada described McClintock as an “inviting church” that makes visitors feel “warm and welcome.”
While the church has as many as four generations of members from some of its oldest families, it also welcomes up to 20 visitors on a Sunday.
“Historically, it’s a family church, but we are getting people who are coming into the community and joining us,” Canada said.
The church has spent the year widening its ministries, including outreach in Africa. It was scheduled to celebrate the end of its anniversary year with a banquet in SouthPark on Oct. 17 as well as a reception with items from the church’s historical archives Oct. 18.
Canada said that looking forward, the church will continue working to integrate new families and youth, deepen its work in the community and extend its outreach.
“That’s what we are called to do,” he said.
McClintock Presbyterian Church is at 14008 Erwin Road and meets on Sundays at 10 a.m. for Sunday School and 11 a.m. for its worship service. All are invited to the Sunday service and anniversary reception.
Marty Minchin is a freelance writer: email@example.com.
For more information about McClintock Presbyterian Church, visit www.mcclintockpresbyterianchurch.org.