History and Vision
Fincastle United Methodist Church is one of the oldest continuously meeting Methodist congregations in Virginia. We believe that the first Methodists in Fincastle began meeting for worship in area homes about 1789. Early itinerant Methodist preachers traveled to the area to preach, baptize new Christians and conduct marriages throughout the 1790’s.
Bishop Francis Asbury, “the prophet of the long road,” played a key role in organizing Fincastle Methodist Church. On May 14, 1794 he wrote in his journal of preaching in Fincastle but “had very few to hear except our own people.” The entries in 1795, 1800, and 1801 all indicate visits to our congregation. In 1801 Bishop Asbury drew the plans for the first Methodist Church building in Fincastle while he visited in the home of Edward Mitchell. Henry Ogburn was the first known Botetourt Methodist minister and served Fincastle Methodist Church in the Botetourt Circuit.
The first church building was erected on the current property on Church Street in Fincastle, which was deeded to the congregation in July, 1803. It was replaced by a brick sanctuary in 1840. This historic structure is still used each Sunday for worship. The architectural style of the building is Greek Revival, as evidenced in the Greek key design around the windows and door moldings and in the Doric columns supporting the gallery.
On September 15, 2002, a dedication was held for the Family Life Center, located across Church Street from the sanctuary. In this building are the church offices, adult and youth Sunday School rooms, a prayer room/library, conference room, fellowship hall/gym, and a kitchen.
Fincastle UMC has about 200 members currently. There are many outreach programs including a Clothes Closet, a fellowship meal and programs for all ages on Wednesday nights, Lenten services and luncheons, housing for the Fincastle Preschool , programs for children and youth, Secret Pals for college students, Halloweenies for Fincastle trick-or-treaters, a visitation team for shut-ins, Lemonade on the Lawn, Backpack Buddies providing weekend meals for needy students, Angel Tree missions for Christmas and back-to-school , Vacation Bible School, Washed by the Water (FUMC Praise Band), and meals for families in crisis.
The current Vision Statement for Fincastle UMC states:
Fincastle United Methodist Church is a community of faith that seeks to embody the Spirit of God in Jesus Christ through radical hospitality, passionate worship, intentional faith development, risk-taking mission and service, and extravagant generosity.
The Fincastle United Methodist Church honey-locust in front of the church is the largest of its species in the United States. It is listed in the National Register of Champion Trees, and was measured in recent years to be 121 feet tall (as tall as a ten story building) and have a circumference of 234 inches at the 4.5 feet height. Estimates are that the tree is over 206 years old.
Rev. Dr. JaeHaeng Choi
The Rev. Dr. JaeHaeng Choi is Pastor
Michele Deaner is Administrative Assistant
Brooke Stackpole is Choir Director
Laura Elliott is 9 a.m. Service Music Leader
Mary Rae is Organist
Barbara Kagey & Annette Lane
Barbara Kagey & Annette Lane are Financial Secretaries