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Historic church to hold 151st anniversary service

Sinclaire Sparkman • Updated Mar 25, 2017 at 11:00 AM

One of Lebanon’s oldest congregations will celebrate 151 years with a worship service Sunday. 

The service will begin at 10 a.m. at Pickett-Rucker United Methodist Church at 633 Glover St. in Lebanon. 

Pickett-Rucker originated from the first Methodist congregation in Lebanon, which gathered in one of Wilson County’s oldest remaining buildings, Pickett Chapel on Market Street. 

Enslaved African Americans built the church in 1827, and many also attended services at Pickett Chapel. The church was named after Methodist preacher brothers, Calvin and James Pickett, though it was first known as Seay’s Chapel.

Services were held there until 1856, when the white congregation moved to a bigger facility on West Main Street, which still exists today as Lebanon First United Methodist Church. 

What happened at the building from 1856 and during the Civil War is currently a mystery. After the Civil War in 1866, a group of newly freed African Americans pooled $1,500 to buy the Market Street building with the help of Calvin Pickett. They renamed the building Pickett Chapel. 

“This new black congregation held services at Pickett Chapel until 1973, when they outgrew it and built a new church on Glover Street, where they’re at today,” said Phil Hodge, a member of the Wilson County Black History Committee and supervisor of archeology with the Tennessee Department of Transportation. 

The congregation built the new building on Glover Street in 1973.

“The pastor at that time was named Rucker, so their new church took on the name Pickett-Rucker, which combined the name of both churches,” Hodge said. 

Sunday’s worship service will begin at 10 a.m. and celebrate the longstanding congregation.

For more information, call the church at 615-444-1164.

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