Our Church History
Sunday School Time: 9:15 am, Worship Service Time: 10:30 am
Hawkins United Methodist Church, 3736 Halls Ferry Road, Vicksburg, MS 39180

Our Church History

Hawkins United Methodist Church

A Brief History


Hawkins United Methodist Church was born in the hearts of Reverend Thomas O. Prewitt and Dr. W. A. Tyson. In answer to an appeal to "Methodists and Friends" issued by Vicksburg District Superintendent, Reverend Prewitt, a small group gathered to organize a United Methodist Church in what was then known as the Jonestown community. The scripture, "Where two or more are gathered together in my name" would have been an appropriate description of the organizational meeting held in the home of Mr. and Mrs. W. M. Hawkins on the evening of March 14, 1951. Mrs. and Mrs. Hawkins were devout, dedicated, and lifelong Methodists. Mrs. Hawkins was a longtime member of Porter's Chapel United Methodist Church. Strangely, Mr. Hawkins had never officially joined the church.


A committee, composed of Fred Brown, J. H. Henderson, and J. P. Stafford, Jr., was appointed to pursue expansion of the church. Mr. and Mrs. Hawkins donated the initial land and Mrs. H. S. Walker later donated additional land. The Hawkins property was in a pasture and contained a small frame house. This house was utilized first as the church, later as the Sunday School Annex, and still later as a youth building for MYF and scouting activities.










On June 10, 1951, Reverend Bill Carroll, associate pastor at Crawford Street Methodist Church, held Hawkins Methodist Church's first service in the small frame house. At this first service, three persons were baptized. These persons were: an infant, Master James Polk Stafford, II, a teenager, Miss Billie Lou Adams, and Mr. W. M. Hawkins, age 75. Reverend Carroll, with the assistance of other pastors and laymen in the area, continued to server the church until the appointment of a regular pastor. The charter pastor, Reverend Thomas L. McCurley, Jr., arrived on December 23, 1951. Mr. J. P. Stafford, Jr., was the first chairman of the Official Board. Mr. W. B. Walker and Mrs. Fred (Louise) Brown were the first church school superintendents. The Wesleyan Service Guild, with Mrs. Foster (Jane) Cotton as president, was organized in September of 1951.


On September 23, 1952, for the consideration of one dollar, William M. and Clara B. Hawkins conveyed unto J. H. Meade, Travis Vance, J. P. Stafford, Jr., W. B. Baker, W. M. Hawkins, and Halsey Palmer, Trustees in Trust and their successors in office, of Hawkins United Methodist Church, the property the the church continues to occupy today. (Note: The money was never paid.) J. P. Stafford, Jr. was chairman of the building committee and Fred Brown headed the building fund.












The Hawkins Men's Club was organized in April 1953, with Mr. J. C. Allen as president. On June 7, 1953, the first church building was opened for use. Reverend Thomas Prewitt delivered the sermon. The bulletin stated, "A special feature of the present building is the tower with a spire reaching high into the sky to remind people of God's presence in this beautiful place of worship."


On June 28, 1953, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Walker, Jr. (the bride was the former Gloria Applin of Port Gibson) were the first couple married in the new building. The late Mr. Walker, father of the groom, had served as chairman of the building committee. On October 24, 1954, Reverend John H. Cook preached the annual "Wedding Ring Service," entitled, "The Christian Family - The Hope of the World."


The church was growing. The original charter members had totaled 25. By June 7, 1953, the membership had grown to 59 and by October 1, 1954 it had risen to 165. The church school consisted of 12 classes with an enrollment of 130 students. The youth fellowship consisted of two groups and met each Sunday night.


Funeral services were held at the Hawkins home on April 15, 1955, for Mr. William Mercer Hawkins. Reverend L. T. Brantley officiated. Mr. Hawkins was 79 years of age and serving as a Church Steward and member of the finance committee at the time of his death. His obituary stated, "Mr. Hawkins was a pioneer farmer and cattleman of this area. One of the founders of Hawkins Methodist Church, Mr. and Mrs. Hawkins gave the land."


In October 1956, ground breaking ceremonies were held for the new educational annez. District superintendent, Reverend M. L. McCormack and Reverend Thomas Prewitt conducted the ceremonies.


Pastors of Hawkins:
1951 - Present












Reverend T. L. McCurley, Jr.

December 1951 - June 1959













Reverend William Carroll

June 1951 - September 1951 Interim Pastor













Reverend Stewart Smith

June 1959 - June 1961













Reverend John Speed
June 1961 - 1963













Reverend James Conner
June 1963 - 1965













Reverend William D. Waugh
June 1965 - June 1971











Reverend Burt Felder
June 1978 - June 1983











Reverend Bill Lowery
June 1983 - 1986













Reverend Everett Watts
June 1971 - June 1973














Reverend Clinton Gill
June 1973 - 1978












Reverend Curtis Moffatt
June 1986 - June 1989













Reverend Robert Huffman
June 1989 - June 1992










Reverend Richard Robbins
June 1992 - June 1998










Reverend Mitchell Hedgepeth
June 1998 - 2004











Reverend John Harper
2004 - 2007











Reverend Chris Young
June 2007 - 2011












Reverend Susannah Grubbs Carr












Reverend Sally Bevill












Reverend Austin Hoyle



The second story of the education annex was completed in February 1967. Bishops Franklin and Pendergrass officiated at an open house ceremony. The bulletin stated, "The building provides adequate educational facilities for a church twice the size of Hawkins to allow room for growth."


On November 17, 1968, Hawkins celebrated with its first Chrismon tree (Chrismons are Christian Symbols). The tree, a first for our area, was a project of the Women's Society of Christian Service and Mrs. Fred Brown. The idea originally began in Danville, VA, in 1957. Styrofoam, which was used to construct many of the ornaments, was just beginning to be used as a packing material. The ladies had to scrounge diligently to find enough Styrofoam to make the ornaments.


Bishop Pendergrass presided over a special ground breaking ceremony on February 2, 1969, for a new sanctuary. Reverend Bill Waugh was the presiding minister and Reverend N. A. Dickson was the District Superintendent. The congregation of Hawkins worshipped in the new sanctuary for the first time on Sunday, May 30, 1970. The title of Reverend Waugh's sermon was "Where do we go from here?" Among other things, Reverend Waugh stated, "We must all come to realize that unless this beautiful structure results in more people being reached for the Lord, and a deeper Christian experience and closer fellowship among the people of the church, this building will not have fulfilled its purpose. If we consider its completion an end within itself rather than a means to an end, this lovely place of worship will not be the blessing that it could be.


On May 30, 1984, plans were finalized for the construction and enlargement of the parking lot. Property was purchased and concrete laid. This parking lot has served the congregation well.


Hawkins United Methodist Church, from the beginning, ahs been a very diverse congregation. We have been involved in and have sponsored many varying activities. Over the years we have been especially proud of our young people and their contributions to the church and the community.


On December 28, 1999, a lifelong dream of Mr. Fred Brown was realized when his family donated a new steeple to be placed atop the sanctuary in his memory.


Today, the future is bright. We are busily making plans and we have many visions. In preparation for future expansion, we have acquired the following properties:


o The Arnold house in 1989
o The Lagrone property in 1999
o The Rater house in 1999
o The Eugene Hall Valley in 2000


We at Hawkins are the body of Christ and "He it is who binds us together and He it is who send us apart to be God's people."


Historical tidbits of interest:


o Peggy Findley Brasfield (Mrs. Earl) was born in the "small frame house."
o Early members speak of attending church services and watching the cattle graze outside.
o Mrs. Travis Vance used to bring her maid and they would clean the little house and prepare for services.


In June of 1951 Hawkins Methodist Church had 25 original members. By November of 1952, the membership had grown to 50. These charter members were:


1. Ables, Lucille C.
2. Adams, Billie Lou
3. Adams, W. B., Sr.
4. Adams. William B., Jr.
5. Allen, John C.
6. Allen, John C., Mrs.
7. Baker, Elijah
8. Baker, Elijah, Mrs.
9. Baker, William B.
10. Baker, William B., Jr.
11. Baker, William B., Mrs.
12. Boell, Juanita Joyce
13. Brown, Frederick R.
14. Brown, Frederick R., Jr.
15. Brown, Frederick R., Mrs.
16. Brown, Sandra Loraine
17. Callahan, Mary L.
18. Cotton, Jane C., Mrs.
19. De Rossette, Mar E., Mrs.
20. Findley, Barbara A.
21. Findley, Madonna C.
22. Hawkins, William M.
23. Hawkins, William M., Mrs.
24. Henderson, Hattie, Mrs.
25. Hendrix, William A.
26. Hendrix, William A., Mrs.
27. Jones, William C.
28. Jones, William C., Mrs.
29. McCurley, William E., Mrs.
30. Meade, James H.
31. Meade, James H., Jr.
32. Meade, James H., Mrs.
33. Meade, Jean, Miss
34. Mobley, William E., Mrs.
35. Mrs. Palmer, Halsey L.
36. Palmer, Barbara
37. Palmer, Ester J., Mrs.
38. Palmer, Halsey L., Mrs. 39. Stafford, J. P., Jr.
40. Stafford, J. P., Jr., Mrs.
41. Stafford, Jeanette P.
42. Stribling, Billy
43. Tuccio, Sam, Mrs.
44. Vance, Travis
45. Vance, Travis T., Sr.
46. Vance, Travis T., Sr., Mrs.
47. Walker, Henry A.
48. West, Miller, Mrs.
49. White, Percy E., Mrs.
50. Williams, Frances E.



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Hawkins Staff

Pastor - Austin Hoyle
Office Manager & Financial Secretary - Teresa Cain
Caretaker - Renee Chouccoli
Treasurer - Stephen Spangler
Music Minister - Open Position
Children and Family Ministries Director - Open Position
Youth Director - Terry Wong
Communications/Technology - Shelley Plett
Preschool - Nancy Biggers
Pianist/Organist - Ann Perrier

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