Reverend Muir cut the first log for the first structure known as the “Log Meeting House. ” In Reverend Muir’s honor the name was changed to Muir’s Chapel. After the deterioration of the log structure, it was replaced in 1875 by a one-room weatherboard building. Weatherboard is the cladding or ‘siding’ of a house consisting of long thin timber boards that overlap one another, either vertically or horizontally on the outside of the wall, thus making the building waterproof.
This building was eventually moved across the street to the cemetery when the present sanctuary was constructed in 1903. During the years of 1929 thru 1932 the Log Meeting House was enlarged, remodeled and brick-veneered, along with the first landscaping of the grounds. There is a replica of the Log Meeting House remaining on the grounds today. In the honor of Reverend Thacker Muir, the current building is still known as Muir's Chapel. In 1940, the first educational building, called the Smoak Building, was built and the following year the church received its first full-time pastor, W.
Kenneth Goodson. There were annual Camp meetings at harvest time held in the Smoak Building until they were replaced by revivals, which were replaced at the turn of the century by Pre-Easter services. In the fifties, The Smoak Building was attached to the church, although it was then and currently still considered the educational wing of the church, it still carries the name “The Smoak Building,” which now houses the church offices. Year 1960, there was another addition added to the church called the Boren Building.
This building was also dedicated to Reverend Thacker Muir in 1960. Since 1960 the Church has been rebuilt and remodeled several times, with the present sanctuary being completed in 1980. The latest addition to Muir’s Chapel is the Kale Christian Center which houses the Playschool, classrooms, and the contemporary worship auditorium. After doing careful research, I am still which I not sure when this addition began and when it was completed.
Now that my readers have learned a little history of the church I visited for my field trip, I am now going to talk a little about what I experienced at Muir’s Chapel, which was a great experience I might add. As I was on the way to the church I made sure I did not have any pre-conceptions of my visit to this church. I wanted to be open-minded so that I could take in my experience and learn from it no matter if was good or bad. When I pulled into the parking lot I noticed there were not many “luxury” cars.
In my opinion, this was the first sign of the members being non-materialistic. Then the church itself looked to be old with quite a few new additions, yet it is really appealing on the outside. But, when I got out of my car there was a white lady walking through the walkway across the lawn that immediately stopped and asked me how I was doing, and if I needed help. I immediately felt welcomed and I had only met one of the members of this church. She told me how to get to the sanctuary for the “Traditional Service” which started at 8:45 A. M.
Once in the sanctuary and sitting down, a senior gentleman who looked to be around fifty or sixty years of age, as most of the congregation seemed to be, tapped on my shoulder and said it is good to have you here this morning, and if you do not already have a church home please come back here with us. As readers can see this was the beginning of a very warming experience for me. The service began a little different from what I am used to. For starters there were only about 25 people at this service and they were all Caucasian, as I am used to an all African-American congregation.
Nevertheless, the service began with the welcoming of the congregation and congregational concerns as I had never seen this in a Sunday morning service before. At my church I am used to praise and worship team singing songs of praise to open the service. There were no concerns, so immediately they went into song. The choir director stood in the pulpit directing the congregation to sing, not an actual choir, but the congregation. Still, I could not believe the choir director was directing from the pulpit. Later I was told congregation is the choir as there is no choir for this service.
As I listened to the song and tried to take part in the singing of the song, I found it difficult to follow as it was sung like an opera song; very high-pitched. But once the preacher began to preach, by the way he preached on the strength to forgive, which by the way was the title of his message. Everyone became extremely quiet and sat still as possible. Me being Black, I was definitely not used to this. I am used people talking back to the preacher, saying for example: “You better preach preacher, tell them what the word says! At Muir’s Chapel it was a quiet as could be. Needless to say I did not say anything back to the preacher while he was preaching. In case some of my readers are wondering how I managed to choose this church being African-American and this church being predominately white, I was invited by my classmate Lisa Tanico who is one of the ministers of this great church. Anyway, once the service was over I met with Lisa and she began to take me on a tour of Muir’s Chapel. What I saw was amazing.
Lisa and I had to pass through the fellowship hall where there were refreshments offered such as coffee, juice, and biscuits with a side of bacon or sausage. This very rarely happens at my church unless it is a special occasion of some sort. I was astonished to find out there were several different refreshments served after each service. Lisa then took on a quick tour of the rest of the church as she needed to readily available to the members if one needed to talk or maybe ask for prayer. So we scurried on to the Contemporary service that was going on in one of the newer parts of the church.
I was in this service for only about 15 minutes as this service started at 9:00 A. M. , and the Traditional service I attended started at 8:45 A. M. What little I saw was interesting. There was an actual choir at this service, and the choir had a Pop sound, which is closer to what I am used to hearing. At the end of this service Lisa had to leave to attend to some of the members of the church and I had to go to a dedication at my church. But before my departure, Lisa did tell me that Muir’s Chapel was very involved in the community.
This church is part of the Urban Ministry, inviting homeless and the less fortunate to come in and eat on certain days of the week. Muir’s Chapel also has several educational, sporting and biblical programs for the community, or just any one who may want to take part in participating. I am not sure which days, but either way just to know this church extends its arms out to the community in such away as this, if for no other reason at all makes me feel welcomed and privileged to have had the chance to visit this great Methodist church known as Muir’s Chapel.