Council is a tiny little community in Bladen County. If you blink, you miss it. There’s not much out there, except for deep dark woods, farmland, and roads. It’s one of few areas in NC that look the same as they did 20 years ago. Untouched. I imagine it’s looked just as it does now for much longer.
I pass through Council while burning up the roads between here and Wilmington. Every time I pass by, an old church catches my eye – beckoning to me. That happens a lot. I’m an old soul. Antiques, history, falling-down houses, and cemeteries; these are a few of my favorite things. That’s why I drove 3/4’s of the way to Wilmington on a random Saturday to take a look around Carvers Creek United Methodist Church.
History of Carvers Creek United Methodist Church
When thinking of North Carolina religions, I think of Presbyterians, Methodists, and Baptists. Puritans and Quakers don’t really come to mind. This is why it was a surprise to learn the church sits on the site of an older Friends Meeting House and Burial Ground.
Though no visible traces of the Quakers remain, the present-day church carries the name of the Quaker who settled the area and donated the property to establish the original meeting house, James Carver. Carver left Pennsylvania and settled in Bladen County around 1740. By 1746 monthly meetings were held in a log meeting house where Carvers Creek United Methodist now stands.
The Quakers continued to meet at the meeting house until the 1790s. Many of the Friends moved west, settling in Mecklenburg, Guilford, and Randolph counties. The departing Quakers donated the property to the Methodists who were becoming predominant in the area.
The Methodist congregation replaced the meeting house with a church building in 1810. In 1858 the church burned and was replaced by the current Greek-Revival in 1859. Built by one of the most talented carpenters of his day, Alexander “Sandy” Carter, the church features the original pedimented front portico, balcony, pulpit, and chancel.
Carvers Creek United Methodist Church became a National Historic Site in 2008 and still holds services today. I can see why people are still congregating here to praise God. It’s hard not to love everything about this place. Surrounded by an old cemetery and trees dripping Spanish moss, it exudes Carolina charm.