The Beginning Years

Aldersgate Methodist Church is the first Methodist Church to bear this name in the North Carolina Annual Conference. The church was begun at the 1955 session of the Annual Conference on the recommendation of Dr. W. L. Clegg, Durham District Superintendent and Rev. Thomas A. Collins, Conference Director of Church Extension. Dr. Henry I. Glass, a distinguished senior pastor of this conference, was appointed to be the first pastor. Dr. Glass began visiting in the community and searching for a church site. The property, on which there was a building formerly used as a dance hall, was selected as a meeting place. The land and building at the corner of Duke Street and Horner Street was purchased with one lot donated by Mr. W. C. Carver, Durham Realtor and active Methodist layman. The Methodist group in the community was not the largest, constituting less than 30%. There was no sponsoring organization and no gifts of members from other Methodist Churches, so building the membership meant winning them one by one. On Sunday, January 8, 1956, following morning worship, District Superintendent W. L. Clegg formerly constituted the Church with 32 Charter Members. The Mission Board had declared Aldersgate Methodist Church a Ten Dollar Club Church and assisted with a grant of approximately $15,000 in funds for this new congregation to help pay for land and building.

Interim Years, Part 1

In 1965, a small sanctuary seating 135 persons, a choir loft seating 12, and 3 small classrooms were built. On March 13, 1966, the first service was held in the new sanctuary. For the next 24 years, the Aldersgate congregation continued to grow under the leadership and guidance of dedicated ministers. It was a church at the crossroads, serving the Durham community with a Christian outreach. On May 18, 1980, the decision was made to leave the Duke Street and Horton Road building and relocate to a new church building in Northwest Durham County. On May 28, 1985, in a worship service, the congregation deconsecrated the old building and the building was demolished on June 3, 1985. The members met in the North Carolina Korean Church on Massey Road for one year. The members referred to this time as "our time in the wilderness". 

Interim Years, Part 2

On July 14, 1985, ground was broken for a new church at the corner of Umstead Road and Bivens Road during a morning worship service in the trees. The design and building of the church was created from input from all church members. It was decided that the cross would be the overall theme of the church architecture. By design, the sanctuary was built on a North-South axis so that the worshiping congregation is facing north, where, on Sunday mornings the sun shines in the window at the rear of the sanctuary casting a shadow of the cross on the floor. The cathedral ceiling and clear glass windows reflect the congregation's desire to be the body of Christ looking outward into the world. This desire to be a people of God ministering to the community is the strength of the congregation.

The sanctuary building was consecrated on September 14, 1986 in a service that included preaching, baptism and a service of Holy Communion. The next Sunday, Homecoming, was celebrated as the 30th anniversary of Aldersgate. The faithful commitment of fellowship and teamwork that existed from the early years continues to ignite and fuel the moving spirit of today. It is a church that is the cornerstone of a caring Christian community and embraces newcomers into its fellowship. Aldersgate is a church that celebrates and witnesses to God’s love with a steadfast vision for the future while building on its rich heritage.