Court Street UMC Holds Service of Closure

By Brad Davis

Around 45 people gathered last month on Holy Saturday bid a fond farewell to Court Street United Methodist Church, one of the West Virginia Annual Conference’s historically Black churches and a pillar of Welch’s Black Community for the last century.

Combining elements of the Easter Vigil, a Service of Death and Resurrection, and a Service of Closure, the final time of worship at the “little church on the hill” was attended by current and past members, their families and friends, as well as former pastors, members of other area Black churches, individuals representing the Conference, and Court Street’s sister churches on the Welch Charge.

Rev. Brad Davis, pastor of Court Street and the Welch Charge, preached a sermon from Mark’s account of the resurrection called “Mourning to Morning” where he talked about Court Street’s living, eternal legacy.

“Court Street’s legacy is you,” he said. “We’re a people who don’t believe in death without resurrection. So, Court Street will continue rising in you. Because of that she never closes. Because of that Court Street is eternal.”

Southern District Superintendent, Rev. Chip Bennett presided over Holy Communion before the conclusion of worship.

Perhaps the highlight of the service was when an impromptu choir came forth from the pews to sing a rousing rendition of O Happy Day, a significant song in the Black Church tradition.

Following the service, those in attendance gathered in the social hall one final time for a meal and fellowship before departing ways.

Echoing Rev. Davis’s remarks that Court Street is “eternal,” is the congregation’s decision to use their remaining funds to set up a scholarship to assist Black high school students in McDowell County to attend college, thus continuing the church’s legacy of producing exceptional Black citizens of Welch and beyond.

Even after closing, Court Street UMC will continue fulfilling its mission to the community it served for generations – a true witness to Court Street’s faithfulness to God and its commitment to discipleship.

Photos by Claudia Banner