History of Clemmons Moravian Church

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Clemmons Moravian Church began as the vision of Edwin Theodore Clemmons, who was born in Clemmonsville (later shortened to Clemmons) on October 17, 1826. A grandson of Peter Clemmons, for whom the community was named, Mr. Clemmons became the owner of a hotel in Asheville and operated a stage coach line.  He was living in Salem when he died on December 20, 1896.

Wishing to benefit both the Moravian church and his native community, he provided in his will for the Moravians to establish a congregation and a boarding school in Clemmons.  His instructions were that they erect a church, a school, and a parsonage. They were also to purchase land to be subdivided into building lots of an acre each and sold to Moravian families for one dollar per lot. Children of these families could then attend the Moravian School free of charge.

About a hundred residents of the community gathered in the second story room of a store operated by Carlos and Edward Strupe on October 29, 1899, for the first service. On August 13, the following year, the congregation was officially organized with the reception of 36 members. By the end of the year, the charter roll had grown to 45 members. The Reverend James E. Hall was called from the Friedberg congregation to serve as the first pastor.

Three rooms in the former Douthit store were prepared for the beginning of school, which opened in October, 1900, with the Reverend J. Kenneth Pfohl, a recent graduate of Moravian Theological Seminary, as principal. Other faculty members were two recent graduates of Salem College: Miss Bessie Whittington, who later became Mrs. Pfohl, and Miss Nannie Bessent.

The cornerstone for the school was laid in April, 1901, and the building completed in October for the beginning of the second school year. A dormitory for girls and another for younger boys were built to provide accommodations for boarding students. The older boys were housed in the second floor of the school.  Unfortunately, the funds of Mr. Clemmons’ estate ran out before the church building specified in his will could be constructed.

While plans were being completed for the school building, the congregation met for worship in the Methodist Church. The destruction of that church by fire during a storm on May 25, 1901, forced the Methodist and Moravian congregations to move into the old store which was also serving as the temporary school.  Five months later, the congregation moved into the new school building, sharing that faculty with the school for 25 years. The 1901 statistics indicate a membership of 70 with a Sunday School enrollment of 54 pupils and 8 teachers.

In 1915, the school became a Farm Life School, supported by state and county funds. It was finally consolidated into the emerging Forsyth County public school system, moving into the newly erected Clemmons School building in 1925. At this time the congregation became the sole occupant of the building.  Extensive renovations were undertaken to transform the facility to more efficiently serve its purpose as a church.

For over forty years following the school’s departure, the congregation used the remodeled auditorium as its sanctuary.  In March, 1968, the construction of a new sanctuary was completed.  The former sanctuary was remodeled once again, being converted this time into classrooms and restrooms.  This original building finally reached the end of its useful life and was demolished in 2010.

In March, 1984, another major construction project was completed.  It provided a fellowship hall with seating for 350, a modern kitchen, five classrooms, a nursery, an office, a storage room and restrooms for both children and adults.  The building also serves as the home of our Clemmons Moravian Child Care, which opened in 1984.

The newest building on our campus is our Christian Education Building, which was completed and dedicated on October 10, 2010.  It contains the church library, parlor, lovefeast kitchen, Sunday School department, music department, and Child Care after-school program.  Our Clemmons Moravian Preschool, founded in 1977, is located on the lower level of the building.