Pisgah Presbyterian Church In Highland To Close

It’s no secret that the population of Highland County is undergoing changes – the median age is rising, and the totals are diminishing. This has consequences for the county, some obvious and some not so apparent. One of those consequences is the closing of historic churches, which no longer have the attendance to keep their doors open. This is the case for Pisgah Presbyterian Church in Meadowdale, which will hold a final closing service on July 31st. Holmes Stephenson, who has been a member of the church since baptism, and is now the clerk of the session, told us about the history church.

“Pisgah is located on Meadowdale Rd., which is between Hightown and Meadowdale. Pisgah was established in 1831, and at that time, there were only two other Presbyterian churches in the county that were older, which is McDowell and Stony Run, and Stony Run is now closed.

Pisgah went through a period of time where they were in a church that was sort of a Union Church, they called it. It was an old log church, and it got dilapidated, and so they tore it down, and in the Seventies, in ’71, they built a new church, which is the building we have now. It’s pretty much stayed the same ever since – it’s just been a one room church. We haven’t had any additions added onto it or anything, and it’s just been a sanctuary, and we worked around with everything going on in the same room basically.

“I think it’s been a pretty stable little church – we didn’t have anything really exciting go on. The one thing about the church was, the way it was built, you couldn’t have funerals in the church because they couldn’t get the caskets through the door. So I think they had one or two funerals, and one of them, they brought the casket in through the window, but most of the time, it’s just been a memorial service if they had any kind of service at the church for any deaths or anything.”

He spoke about the reasons for closing.

“Well, for several years now, the congregation has gotten pretty small, and the sessions and the congregation has had a lot of discussions over how we can continue to go on, and it just seems like with the congregation aging, and a lot of the younger people moving out to go to college, or go to work or whatever, we’ve just run down to where we have a very minimum number of members that are active in the church, and we feel we can’t keep it going.”

He provided more details on the final service.

“On July 31st, we’re going to have a closing service, which we’ve invited the Moderator Transitional Presbyter from Harrisonburg, Reverend Dr. Roy Martin to be the speaker. Reverend Beth Pyles from McDowell is going to lead the service. We’ll have communion during the service, then after the service, there will be a dinner served on the grounds.”

Holmes and his wife Ardis encouraged current members of Pisgah to become active members of another church. Anyone who’s membership is on the rolls, or has been in the past but never transferred to another church, can contact them at 540-468-2454 for a Membership Transfer Request Form.

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle. scott@amrmail.org

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