About Us


John Wesley United Methodist Church shall be a¬†community¬†of Christian Workers sharing God’s love and experiencing God’s transforming power through prayer and Holy habits.

Welcome to John Wesley UMC

Welcome to John Wesley UMC


The beginning of John Wesley United Methodist Church was during the year 1870 in the home of Samuel Johnson and Buckner Brown with Rev. P.P. Lawson, pastor at Abingdon, Virginia preaching the first services. The lack of a church of his choice became so unbearable for young Samuel, that he returned to his old home and church.

Samuel Johnson conferred with his former presiding Elder, Rev. Martin Spriddle of the spiritual needs and religious conditions in Bristol. He requested a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church be sent to work with the Bristol people. The appeal was answered and Rev. Robert Wheeler was sent to sent to minister to the flock. The first church services were still held in the Johnson home.

In 1874 Rev. Wheeler organized the first congregation for John Wesley Church and held services in a house on Ninth Street between Main and Broad in Bristol, Tennessee. Also during the year 1874 a Union Meeting House with the Baptist was erected on Burson Hill Bristol, Virginia, which collapsed later in a wind storm. This led the pastor and the small congregation to move to a dwelling on Sullins Hill Bristol, Virginia to continue services.

Rev. Wheeler was succeeded by Rev. L.W. Coats, under whose guidance the attendance gave and the church moved to a building on the corner of Johnson and Sycamore Streets.

The membership began to increase in 1879 and a larger place for worship was needed. Rev. James Scott who succeeded Rev. Coats began looking for a new location. The congregation and pastor began to work on this great need and purchased the present property with an old brick building standing on it that was used by the State Street Methodist Church South for $1,200.00. The building was soon condemned and with the membership increasing and the need for a larger place to worship, the church purchased a corner of the lot on Scott and Lee Street Bristol, Virginia for $1,000.00 with the intent to build a larger church.

In 1890 the Rev. James Guthrie and Rev. Owen Hyshire of the Washington Conference came to the aid of the church. They secured from the Board of Church Extension help to build a new frame church. It was a large room with an extended entrance, with a full basement and a bell tower in the entrance. The bell rang by a rope pull. This did not satisfy the need, nor were the minister and members satisfied with this frame building.

In 1911, the idea of a new church had grown to a full bloom and a building committee was organized under the pastor of Rev. Anderson Davis

Between the years of 1913-1916 with Rev. Anderson Davis, the District Superintendent, and Rev. W.L. Saunders, Pastor, the actual building of the church was begun and completed. Mather Corner Stone was laid on Thursday, November 26, 1916 by the Border Star Lodge No. 2054.

During the second term of Rev. E.H. Forrest, great progress was made and the church indebtedness was canceled. The Davis home next door was purchased for a parsonage, new pews and pulpit furniture were bought and paid for before he retired in 1940.

Under the pastorate of Rev. J.R. Washington, the present parsonage was constructed and completed in 1946 during the term of Rev. Joshua Ingram. During the leadership of Rev. Dogan Williams, the present renovation and remodeling was done.

From the year 1870 to the present year great progress has been made. Let us always be reminded of this great legacy and continue on our work with and for God.