In 1960, the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church bought 10 acres in rural west Cobb County. After much planning and survey work, the Rev. Byron Scott was assigned as pastor of a new church, Due West United Methodist Church (UMC), in June 1973, and plans were made to construct a building for worship. Scott went door to door in the community sharing his dream, and the initial church service was held July 8, 1973, in the Due West Elementary School cafeteria. There were 158 in attendance, and 21 people joined the church that Sunday. The offering totaled $198.93, and $12.80 was given to begin the building fund. Scott’s sermon was titled “The Church Built Upon You,” with text from Matthew 6:16-18.
Sunday school classes began in September that same year. Teachers had to transport all materials to and from the school, and the nursery staff had to bring in portable cribs and toys each week. The church began with one adult class, one youth class and combined classes for age groups below the junior high school level.
Other programs established early on were the United Methodist Youth Fellowship, United Methodist Women and United Methodist Men. The constitution service officially establishing the church was held on Dec. 9, 1973, with 36 charter families having joined.
Members had a groundbreaking service for the original building on June 23, 1974, and on Oct. 19, 1975, we held services in our own facility for the first time. We now could kneel at the altar for communion rather than standing around our temporary altar in the school lunchroom.
The church quickly outgrew its facilities and constructed a Sunday school wing with classrooms in 1979 under the leadership of the Rev. Pete Dinkins (1977). The Revs. Jim Turner (1982) and Mack Riley (1985) saw us through continuous growth into the 1990s. Guided by the Rev. Richard Hunter (1991), we began a Building to Serve campaign and soon broke ground on our beautiful south campus sanctuary. By faith and much prayer, it was completed in November 1995.
The Rev. Tom Davis was appointed to the church in 1997, and we began conducting our first contemporary service. Still growing, we took two major steps of faith — purchasing the soon-to-be-vacated Burnt Hickory Baptist building in January 2003 and breaking ground for a Family Life Center in October 2003. Services were held in all three buildings every Sunday in the early 2000s.
Due West UMC continues to be a church that places great emphasis on service to the community. We have offered vacation Bible school since moving into our original building in the ’70s and eventually added recreational sports programs, music and drama classes, exercise classes and numerous summer camps. Our award-winning preschool program started in 1995 under the leadership of Karen Coffeen. And who hasn’t visited our popular pumpkin patch, a youth ministry tradition for many years.
Mission outreach at Due West began in the 1980s, as members collected food for the MUST Ministries pantry, volunteered to stay overnight at Safe Night of Rest and served meals monthly to those staying at the shelter. Active involvement in more than 14 local mission programs continues today, with a special connection to the Murphy-Harpst Children’s Center in Cedartown, supported since the early 1980s. We began global mission work in 1998 with a church-building team traveling to Mexico, and we send teams to Costa Rica, Guatemala and Kenya annually.
Four chartered Scout groups, including American Heritage Girls (AHG), currently are being sponsored by the church. We took Boy Scout Troop and Cub Scout Pack 540 under our wing when the church began in 1973. In 1985, Troop 540 built its own Scout hut entirely with volunteer labor and materials. To date, more than 2,000 boys and girls have experienced Scouting through the Due West programs. So far, 191 Scouts have achieved the Eagle Scout rank, and one AHG member has earned the Stars and Stripes Award.
Longtime members of Due West UMC have many memories of the church.
Linda Brown (member since 1974): “I remember the night my brother-in-law passed away. My husband and I returned from the hospital to find our pastor and his wife, Jo, waiting for us in our driveway to offer comfort.”
James Majors (1978, as a baby): “I still remember the youth Bible study Charlie Mays taught us titled ‘Decisions.’ I am now 45, and our children are in the youth group at Due West. My years here have allowed me to meet lifelong friends.”
Billie Hall (1978): “We have been comforted in sad times and rejoiced with in happy times over many years. And we were fortunate to have leaders with vision who led our building programs and church expansion. Thank you, DWUMC!”
The Rev. Dr. David Campbell (2017) leads the congregation currently as we continue to “Gather, Grow and Go.”
– Submitted by the Homecoming Committee