Birth of a Church Community
In 1873, Samuel Piper (for whom the town was later named) arrived in Piperton and began a bible study group. The first services, at what was then Piperton Church, were held in a little red schoolhouse on the Old State Line Road east of the Piper Store beginning in 1880.
After a short period of time, this location was not considered a satisfactory place as young people raced their buggies up and down the road and cock fights were commonly being held on Sundays. To stop these activities, Samuel Piper allowed services to be held upstairs in his store. However, this meeting place was small and hard to reach by the narrow outside steps leading to it.
In 1892, Samuel Piper decided to build a church where the people of the community could attend Sunday school. He built the church, made of local poplar, on the Old State Line Road across from his store and sent to Atlanta for Bibles and other literature. Only one photograph is known to exist of this structure.
Services were conducted under several different denominations throughout the next sixty years. These included Baptist, Primitive Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, and other various Christian Ministers as part of a Circuit Rider group.
The first full-time pastor was Dr. James Crichton of The Mid South Bible College (for whom the college would later be named: Crichton College ) in 1953. He would later resign his position and become President of The Mid South Bible College in 1959. At that time, Piperton Church became a part of the Memphis South District of the Memphis Annual Conference of the Methodist Church under the direction of Dr. William S. Evans, District Superintendent and was renamed Piperton United Methodist Church. In 1959, Rev. James Simons became the first Methodist Minister for Piperton United Methodist Church. With a congregation of only 16 active members, Rev. Simons began to grow the church at such a fast rate that by 1960 the church had a great need for more space to hold worship.
A New Home
In 1961, Rev. Simons and the Congregation of Piperton UMC built the present building. At a cost of thirty-five thousand dollars, a new church accommodating 250 people was erected approximately one mile east of Collierville on land donated by Mr. and Mrs. Frank Webb Piper, Sr., and Mr. and Mrs. Perry Piper. The Pipers gave equal amounts of land running the length of their property line. Church members reportedly picked cotton and had bake sales to raise money to help pay for the sanctuary. Over the years, the Piper family has continued to endow the church when in need.
Expansion of Fellowship
In 1982, a 40’ x 60’ steel fellowship and activities building was completed west of the sanctuary. Mr. Perry Piper donated a large sum of money to finish the payments so we could be “debt-free by 83.” This building was dedicated in honor of the Piper family and named “Piper Hall.” Continued support from the Piper family came again in 1994 when Mr. Paul Piper donated a new organ for the sanctuary in memory of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Webb Piper, Sr.
A Decade of Growth
Since 1999 many improvements have been made to the church and grounds. Several of these were made possible by James and Kathy Watson’s generous gifts. The gravel parking areas have been paved and the restrooms in the Sunday school building and Piper Hall have been renovated. Fourteen stained glass windows have been installed in the sanctuary, and renovations have included increasing the size of the choir and pulpit areas. Also new carpet, light fixtures, and a fresh coat of paint have brightened the sanctuary and Sunday school.
In 2004-2005, an additional acre of land was purchased north of the main church building. On this acre sits a nice brick home which presently houses the church office and meeting room. In 2006, Alpha Chemical donated to the east of the brick home one acre of land so that the property line was squared. These two tracts of additional land nearly doubled the property size.
In 2009 the garage workshop behind Kathy's House was converted into Church and Pastor's offices and a new adult classroom was renovated for a new younger adult class. A new pavilion dedicated in memory of Dr. Thomas R. Wilson, Jr. was added to the front of Piper Hall (picture to be added)
A List of Pastors
|Dr. James Crichton||1953-1959|
|Rev. James Simons||1959-1963|
|Rev. Henry (Harry) B. Goldsmith, Sr.
|Rev. Don Hires||1964-1965|
|Rev. David Wilkins||1965|
|Rev. Horace K. Melton||1965-1970|
|Rev. Jimmy Eddins Stubbs||1970-1973|
|Rev. Earnest V. Underhill||1973-1978|
|Rev. Fred L. Bennett||1978-1983|
|Rev. C. D. Goodwin, Sr.||1983-1984|
|Rev. Jim DeBardeleben||1984-1987|
|Rev. Mrs. Jean Dodd||1987-1990|
|Rev. Mike McAlister||1990-1995|
|Rev. William (Bill) Torkell||1995-1996|
|Mr. William Hill, Lay Minister||1998-1999|
|Dr. Thomas R. Wilson, Jr.||1999-2007|
|Rev. Joey Reed||2007-2008|
|Dr. Roger Joseph||2009-2015|
|Rev. Susan Atkinson||2015-Present|