Heritage Weekend Tile 2022
Duffey United Methodist Church
When Methodism first came to the South Branch Valley, it had not yet been organized as a formal denomination, and Hardy County had not yet been organized by the state of Virginia. Methodism began as a spiritual renewal movement within the Church of England. It was brought to North America by Irish immigrants. It is thought by many historians that the first Methodist preaching in North America took place in Frederick County, Maryland, perhaps as early as 1760.
In subsequent years, John Wesley, a Church of England priest who led the Methodist movement, sent lay preachers to America to win people to Christ and to organize them into classes for nurture and accountability. On June 21, 1781, Francis Asbury, the most famous of these lay preachers, came to Lost River, where Ignatius Pigman, the preacher on the Berkeley Circuit, was already working with a Methodist class. In 1782, the Berkely Circuit was renamed the South Branch Circuit. Asbury made the first of several visits to the home of Isaac Van Meter in Old Fields in 1783. In 1784, he preached at the home of Adam Hyder near Moorefield. In December of that year, when Methodism in America was organized into a denomination, Asbury became one of the first two Methodist bishops in the world. Two United Methodist churches in Hardy County are named for Bishop Asbury.
Methodists usually started out meeting in homes, but they eventually built church buildings. The Old Fields building is the second oldest Methodist church building in W.Va. In the early days, a Methodist circuit rider would preach in at least fifteen or twenty places. A class which used a church building would often share it with at least one other denomination. This was the case at Old Fields and at Moorefield.
In 1801, Christians of several denominations, including the Methodist Episcopal Church, came together to build a meeting house in Moorefield. (There is a sketch of that building in the church located on the wall in the hallway which connects the sanctuary with the new addition.) The Methodists established the Moorefield Circuit in 1815. The congregation built a building of its own, on the site of the present building in 1850. In 1869, the pastor served the following churches: Petersburg, Waugh Chapel, Andrew Chapel, Oak Grove, Bean’s Settlement, Moorefield, and Old Fields. Moorefield had the largest congregation, with 130 members.
By 1915 the growing congregation had begun planning and raising money for a new church building and In 1919, the first building was torn down in order to make room for a more modern building. During the construction of the new building, the congregation worshipped in the court house and moved into the new building in the spring of 1922, even though it was not yet finished. The Rev. Walter White preached the first sermon in the new building, which was built at an estimated cost of $50,000. The large brick church features stained glass windows of exquisite shades. The building was finished in 1927, under the leadership of the Rev. R.B. Claggett. The note was burned in 1928 by the Rev. C.W. Fink. The church was dedicated in the name of Jeffery Waite Duffey, the son of tavern owner John Duffey. Duffey was a Confederate Civil War veteran with the McNeill’s Rangers and was the first Moorefield man to enter the Methodist ministry.
The congregation currently gathers every Sunday morning for Sunday School at 9:45 and worship at 11:00. They have an evening service at 7:00 and live-stream the morning service on their Facebook page. From September through March, the church serves the youth of the community with an AWANA program for children on Tuesday evenings and on Monday evenings they host a youth program for young people in grades 7-12. The current pastor is the Rev. Mark Flynn.
Location: Corner of Winchester Avenue and Elm Street, Moorefield.