For all the times Moravian ministers traveled to the Hollow (Mount Airy) or our mountain churches in Virginia, it’s logical that they would have paused in the town of King to hold a service. Yet the earliest on record is on July 6, 1924, when Douglas L. Rights and Edgar A. Holton preached at the schoolhouse.
They did it in a big way. Br. Rights brought along about 50 members of Trinity Moravian Church including the junior choir, double male quartet, and orchestra. He preached in the morning, and Br. Holton in the afternoon to a congregation numbering up to 240. A picnic dinner was held on the school grounds.
Br. Holton reported that they “created much favorable comment in the community. So much so that we were urged to arrange another service for the first Sunday in August.”
It helped that there were Moravians already living in King. After that first grand day of services they and others began meeting in the home of Simeon W. and Lula Grabs Pulliam.
Events moved quickly. On October 5, 1924, Br. Holton organized a Moravian “circle” with 15 members as a branch of Bethania Moravian Church. The Pulliams donated a building lot. The first brick was laid on April 27, 1925, and the first service was held in the new church on October 4. The first Christmas lovefeast and candle service was held that December and drew more than 250. King was recognized as a separate congregation on January 14, 1926, and with all construction debts paid, the new church was dedicated February 7.
With such manifest enthusiasm, it’s a mystery why Moravian ministers hadn’t paused to preach in King before.
While other “firsts” continued — the first burial in God’s Acre in 1929, a parsonage purchased in 1937 (it burned in 1943), an organ installed in 1949, the Christian education building erected and opened in 1953 — it took King a little longer to get its first full-time pastor. That took place on July 7, 1963, when Jimmie L. Newsom, Sr., was installed.
Now served — and since 1980 — by Jimmie L. Newsom, Jr. (this a first for the entire Southern Province: a father and son, Sr. and Jr., serving the same church), King occupies a spacious new church, built in 1993 to replace the one constructed in 1925.