Seven Springs Chapel becomes Seven Springs Church
On February 29, 1964, a committee that was appointed by the session to study the overall church situation made the recommendation that an additional minister be employed to work at the Seven Springs and McCall’s Gap chapels for a period of one year. At the March session meeting, there was more discussion concerning this situation. On April 19, 1964, Mr. Samuel Smith, a Middler at Union Theological Seminary, was hired for one year to work at the Seven Springs and McCall’s Gap chapels. With the arrival of Mr. Smith, the youth activities and worship time began to increase. The session decided that there was a need to have five members from each chapel to serve on an Advisory Committee to aid in overseeing the work at the chapel, and the committee recommended that a Deacon be elected from each chapel in order to have a least one Deacon from each chapel on the Board of Deacons at all times.
The second student supply was Mr. Ken Davis. He and his wife, Mary, came in the summer of 1965. Mr. Davis was given permission to make changes in the order of worship. The Davis family lived with Noel Craig.
Our third and final student supply was Mr. Robert Bryan. He, his wife, and four children joined us in September of 1966 to serve one year on the field. Since the small house beside Mrs. Eleanor Hutton’s home was not sufficient for the Bryan family, a house was rented on Fleet Road. Mr. Bryan had left the business world to become a pastor. He seemed to be very interested in the church and its people.
It was during this time that Mr. William Shouse received a call to another church, and Mr. James Drinkard came to the work of Glade Spring Church which consisted of one church and four chapels.
On November 20, 1966, the session’s Study Committee reported that they had met with the committee for the two chapels. The session voted to submit a questionnaire to the members of Seven Springs and McCall’s Gap chapels to help guide the session on future action.
At the February 14, 1967 session meeting, the discussion again turned to what to do with the four chapels. Three options were put forth:
- One church and one Sunday School at Old Glade
- Two churches and two Sunday Schools. One located at Old Glade and one at Town
- To leave the field as it is with an assistant minister.
No action was taken. However, it was decided to have a “Family Night Supper” at Old Glade on March 15, 1967 to discuss with the congregation the problems of the church and how to solve them.
Sometime during this period the Seven Springs’ Congregation heard that there was a real possibility that the three smaller chapels. Seven Springs, McCall’s Gap, and Ebbing Spring would be closed. One Sunday morning during this time Dayton Owens suggested to the congregation at Seven Springs that if it did not want to see the church at Seven Springs closed, it needed to do something. Mrs. Julia Robinson responded in agreement. Mr, Owens, Mrs. Robinson and others went to speak to the congregation at McCall’s Gap to inform them of their concerns and to discuss what possible action could be taken.
Seven Springs Chapel proceeded to organize as an individual church. On April 7, 1967, the Session of Glade Spring Presbyterian Church offered congratulations and any needed assistance to Seven Springs in its effort to organize with Seven Mile Ford Church. On May 5, 1967, McCall’s Gap Chapel voted to request permission to join with the Seven Springs and Seven Mile Ford churches. They too received congratulations, approval, and offers of assistance from the session of Old Glade.
On July 18, 1967, Abingdon Presbytery granted permission for the formal organization of the Seven Springs Church. Following a “Family Night Supper” on July 30th, Seven Springs was organized as a particular church with McCall’s Gap Chapel. On that occasion members of the Glade Spring Presbyterian Church who were affiliating with the Seven Springs Church transferred their membership.
Mr. Richard Stone was called to Seven Springs Presbyterian Church/McCall’s Gap Chapel. This was in addition to his call to the Seven Mile Ford Church. Pastor Stone was ordained and installed at Seven Mile Ford Church on August 13, 1967. He was installed as the pastor of the Seven Springs Church on October 29, 1967. Mr. James Drinkard and Mr. Henry Hutton of the Old Glade congregation were part of the commission for installation. The Old Glade Church called a congregational meeting and agreed to convey the property to the Trustees of Seven Springs Church on October 15, 1967.
After serving as pastor for over four years, Pastor Stone accepted a call to serve as Administrator of the Wytheville Children’s Home. He, his wife, and two adopted sons moved to Wytheville to assume this new responsibility in 1972.