Chapel Photo

Wilson County Black History Committee Chairmen Mary Harris and her husband Harry Harris, prepare a poster board inside the Historic Pickett Chapel in Lebanon on Thursday for the anniversary celebration. The event, which begins today at 4 p.m. at the chapel, 209 E. Market St., will feature guest speakers and guided tour on renovation updates.

The restoration of Lebanon’s historic Pickett Chapel continues, and the Wilson County Black History Committee is inviting anyone interested to an open house today to come celebrate the church’s 155-year anniversary.

Committee Chairman Mary Harris said Thursday that the event will showcase the renovations made to the chapel as well as several cherished memoirs reflecting its past.

The two-hour event starts at 4 p.m. and will feature several guest speakers prominent in the local community. It is free, but donations for the restoration of the original building are welcome. Those speakers include Gratia Stother, Conference Archivist for the Tennessee United Methodist Conference, Pastor Grace Zimindi, Seays Chapel UMC, Phillip and Shannon Hodge, Lebanon First UMC, Linda Collier, Bethlehem UMC.

Harris, who is also Pickett-Rucker UMC historian, and author of “A History of Pickett Chapel,” has organized the event with the help of clergy and laity from Pickett-Rucker UMC, Lebanon First UMC, and local historians.

There will be a program about the history of the chapel, as well as booths and fellowship.

Chapel history

Pickett Chapel was built in 1827 by enslaved and free blacks, some of whom were skilled laborers, to serve as the building for the congregation that today is known as Lebanon First United Methodist Church.

In 1866, the property was sold to free blacks, and named Pickett Chapel. In 1973, the congregation, now known as Pickett Rucker United Methodist Church, marched to their new location at 633 Glover Street in Lebanon.

The historic building was one of the earliest brick churches built for Methodists in Middle Tennessee, and was the second brick church building in Middle Tennessee to be used exclusively as a Historically Black Church. The congregation likely began with some of the 78 African Americans recorded as members of the Lebanon Circuit in 1820.

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