The History of Gravel Hill
Gravel Hill United Methodist Church has a very rich past. In 1846, Henry and Elizabeth Landis sold a portion of their farm to the trustees of the church for a sum of $5.00. This plot of ground was 60 square perches and included an area for a cemetery. The first church erected on this site was known as “Zion’s Church on Gravel Hill” and was a member of the United Brethren Church denomination.
In 1905, the original church building was torn down and a new building was constructed. In 1911, the United Brethren Church merged with the Evangelical Church and Zion’s Church on Gravel Hill became known as Second Evangelical Brethren Church. In 1952, additions were added to the north and south ends of the building to create a new chancel area and room for additional seating. In 1956, another addition was added to the north to allow for a larger sanctuary, In 1968, a second merger took place between Evangelical United Brethren Church and The United Methodist Church. The Second Evangelical United Brethren Church was renamed Gravel Hill United Methodist Church. In 1969, an education wing and fellowship hall were completed. In 1996, the church celebrated 150 years on Gravel Hill. A year-long celebration of “Shining the Light of Christ” culminated with a picnic and dedication of the pavilion behind the church.
Tragedy struck Gravel Hill United Methodist Church on the evening of February 3, 1998. A fire caused by an electrical problem totally destroyed the sanctuary and extensive smoke and water damage affected the remainder of the building. The fire which destroyed the church turned out to be a catalyst that brought the church together stronger than ever. The love and support Gravel Hill experienced from the community of Palmyra and surrounding areas in the weeks following the fire inspired the church to rebuild the structure as a worship center for the community. The fire, along with the outpouring of gifts and offers of help, changed the focus of our ministry. We went from maintaining ministry within our church family to looking outside ourselves, following Christ’s great commission to go into all the world and making disciples.
Gravel Hill has been a strong spiritual church since its beginning. We are committed to learning, living, and sharing Christ’s love with our community and Christ’s community around the world.