January 30th, 2015

Recently the Board of Missions at Corinth asked me to research some highlights of Corinth’s involvement in missions since its charter in 1869.  With the help of Amy Stickler, I created the document below and thought you might enjoy it as well!


Corinth Missions History

“Missions pay. No better evidence of this truth can be found in North Carolina than Corinth Church, Hickory.”

These were the words of J. C. Clapp, who published in 1908 a history of German Reformed churches in North Carolina. Corinth was founded May 22, 1869, as a mission church of the North Carolina Classis of the German Reformed Church.

Clapp’s use of the word “missions” was a little different than ours, but so was the era. The connection is that an investment outside the existing congregation or ministry is considered “missions” in both contexts. It’s always a risk to give away money for something that will not bring financial returns – but that’s what it means to “give,” and it’s in our nature. When the congregation invests time and money in missions, we model stewardship to the congregation.

A few years after its founding Corinth was “weak in both a numerical and pecuniary way.” By 1908, the congregation had “paid” back the classis by starting another congregation and by growing its own mission investment in the community and region.

Every outreach we continue to make beyond our walls is further evidence that “missions pay.” Here are some highlights of our missions history –

  • 1868
    • Corinth’s founding pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Ingold, founded “Free Academy,” Hickory’s first public school, a year before the church was even chartered. The first church meetings were held in the school.
  • 1880
    • Founded Claremont College, an all-girls high school that later merged into Catawba College (founded for men) and moved to Salisbury
  • 1901
    • Founded Brookford Church – now Faith Reformed UCC in Brookford. We paid for their building twice, because it burned a year after the church was founded.
  • 1910
    • Founded what became Boy Scout Troop 1
  • 1919
    • Hosted the Classis of North Carolina where two of Corinth’s young men, Frank L. Fesperman and Sterling W. Whitener, “were licensed and ordained to preach the Gospel in foreign lands.” They served, respectively, in Japan and China.
  • 1923
    • Hosted the General Synod of the Reformed Church, where the keynote sermon was based on Matthew 9:37-38, “The harvest truly is plenteous but the laborers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that He will send forth laborers into his harvest.”
  • 1929
    • Hosted the Triennial Convention of the Woman’s Missionary Society of the General Synod, attended by women from all over the United States and foreign mission fields.
  • 1950s
    • Founded Macedonia Church as a mission church (closed in 1962)
  • 1964
    • Founded Church of the Master as a mission church
  • 1969
    • Founded (with 13 other churches) Cooperative Christian Ministry
  • 1970s
    • Organized several mission trips to Haiti, Guatemala, and Honduras
    • Supported the ministry of Dr. Joyce Baker, a physician in Honduras working with the United Church Board for World Ministries
  • 1971
    • Founded the “Special Education Class” for mentally challenged adults (now Class of Joy, with many of its original members)
  • 1967
    • Began hosting an annual Community Thanksgiving Service, including the Catholic parish and the Jewish temple.
  • 1983
    • Leased what became the SALT Block for 99 years
    • Leased unused Sunday School rooms to Adult Life Program to begin adult day care (later moved to Springs Road)
    • Joined five other congregations to found Hickory Soup Kitchen
  • 1985
    • Provided leadership to found Hickory Area Habitat for Humanity
  • 1990s
    • Began supporting additional cross-cultural missionaries serving with international faith missions boards, such as Hollingsworth (Wycliffe), Cail (SIM), and Barghout (TEAM)
  • 1995
    • Separated missions giving from general budget (We returned to a unified budget the following year.)
  • 1996
    • Designated the second Sunday of each month as Benevolence Sunday
    • Sent a mission team to Honduras, to partner with Dr. Joyce Baker
    • Sponsored 10 families through the Christmas Project
  • 1997
    • Funded two full-time nurses in Honduras clinic, to begin work in 1998
    • Set a goal to give 20% of overall church giving to missions and benevolences, including budgeted and designated giving
    • Created a mission booklet with a page of summary and contact information for each mission/benevolence project
  • 2000
    • Clarified the congregational giving goal, that we should budget at least 15% of the overall budget to missions and benevolences
  • 2004
    • Discontinued funding of Our Church’s Wider Mission (OCWM), the UCC’s denominational support – including funds given to (or designated for) the Southern Conference and Western North Carolina Association
    • Began promoting Operation Christmas Child (97 boxes the first year)
  • 2006
    • Constructed a Habitat house on the front lawn of the church. (The house was later moved to a Habitat neighborhood.)
  • 2007
    • Sent a mission team to Moldova
    • Committed to supporting two villages in Moldova in 2008
  • 2012
    • Allowed designated giving through the church to UCC’s OCWM, including Southern Conference and Western NC Association
  • 2014
    • Created Hickory Church Connection, with a pledge to increase funding each year during the decade


Benevolence/Missions Budgets

Budgeted Amount % of Total Budget
2014 $192,650 13.8%
2009 $150,000 13.8%
2004 $85,000 11.6%
2000 $59,100 11.8%
1995 $40,000 12.2%
1991 $76,820 13.6%
1986 $29,035 15.5%
1980 $22,000 15.5%
1976 $20,250 16.3%
1971 $15,996 15.8%




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