Our Building's History
The church began as a mission Sunday School in 1891 with meetings held in a store on the corner of Dale Avenue and Fouth Street, SE. In June 30, 1893, property was deeded by S.H. Kefauver et. ux. to the Belmont M.E Church. The first church was a frame building constructed in 1893 on the present site, at the corner of Jamison Avenue and Eighth Street. It was replaced by a new, larger Gothic Revival edifice, constructed of white brick, in 1910; but it burned in the early morning hours of January 13, 1917. The next day, the congregation, under the pastor, Reverend Joseph H. Bathis, resolved to build an even bigger and better church.
A huge crowd, pictured in the Roanoke Times, attended a ceremonial laying of the cornerstone for the present church building, on November 2, 1917, but it would be more than three years before it was completed, at a cost of 40,000 dollars. Local building contractor and church member, John W. Clemmer, took over from the original contractor to complete the construction in 1921. Some of the stained glass windows contain rare, fluted glass. A larger fellowship hall and multiple classrooms on the north side of the sanctuary were part of the construction.
The church membership thrived with the growing poulation of Southeast in the 1920s through the 1940s, and for a time, they ran the largest church school and largest nursery of any church in the old Baltimore Conference (prior to divisions in the Methodist Church in 1939). Rev. Bathis served from 1916 to 1920, a period in which the church began to experience a large increase in membership. in 1918, the church membership numbered 912, and church school members numbered 1,100.
During the ministry of Rev. S. Regester Neel (1929 - 1936), the church reached its peak membership of 1,840, with more than 900 Sunday School participants. The Belmont Methodist Church School operated through 1984. Metropolitan Community Church of the Blue Ridge acquired the building in 2003