Pickett Rucker UMC celebrates 148 years

Staff Reports • Updated Mar 22, 2014 at 12:28 AM

Pickett Rucker UMC will celebrate its 148th Church Anniversary/Homecoming on March 30 with the theme “Pressing Toward the Mark.”  Services will be held at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. with guest speaker Rev. Stephen Handy.

Handy, currently pastor of McKendree United Methodist Church in Nashville, was pastor of Pickett Rucker for five years. The church is now home to Pastor Michael Ruttlen Sr. who will bring the 10 a.m. message.

In celebration of its anniversary, the church is doing some “special things in the month of March” according to church member Mary Harris.

“We’ve been doing some fundraisers,” she said. “Our goal this year is to raise $30,000 for ministry.”

Pickett Chapel began as Seay’s Chapel and was built in 1827. It was a predominately white fellowship. The Methodists, concerned over the spiritual welfare of their slaves as well as their own, began bringing them to church with them and built a commodious balcony to house the slaves.

By 1841, there were 986 white Methodist and 225 black recorded Methodist members. With the increase in membership the building became too small and a new building was built. On July 18,1866, a group of 30 former slaves gathered together to purchase the vacant church located at 209 East Market Street.

Pickett Chapel has a long history: it’s the oldest brick building in Lebanon and the second oldest church in Tennessee. Pickett Chapel Methodist Church was the first church for Blacks in the city of Lebanon. The church remained active until 1973, when members moved to a new building, which was named Pickett Rucker United Methodist Church. On Sunday, March 18,1973 the Rev. T.G. Rucker led the congregation out of the historic building to the new church located at 633 Glover Street, Lebanon.

“Voices of Praise” and the Majestic Mass Choir of Key-Stewart UMC in Gallatin will bring the music.

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