A Brief History

A Brief History


Wightman UMC was organized in 1877 in Prosperity as part of the Newberry Circuit. The first actual church to be built and named Wightman Chapel was dedicated in 1885. There are two legends as to how Wightman Chapel received its name. One is that it was named after one of South Carolina’s bishops, William May Wightman, and the other is that it was named for the Bishop’s daughter, Miss May Wightman.

In the fall of 1889, the Prosperity Circuit was formed consisting of Mt. Pleasant, New Hope, Wightman and Zion churches. In 1913 this circuit was divided with Wightman and Zion forming the Prosperity Charge.

Wightman dedicated a new educational building in 1965 and the current sanctuary in 1968. For 108 years Wightman and Zion were a part of the same appointment but in June of 1997 Wightman became a station appointment. Construction began on a new parsonage in June 2000 with completion in December 2000.

The Prosperity Civitan Club disbanded in 2000 and on August 11, 2000, deeded its building and adjacent property to Wightman UMC. On September 23, 2001, the Civitan Building was renamed the Asbury Bedenbaugh Center. This facility is currently known as “The Lighthouse” and is used weekly by the youth. In 2006, a building expansion began at the Asbury Bedenbaugh Center. The 1,500-square-foot expansion included a stage and open auditorium area. This project was completed in January 2007.

As Wightman was experiencing growth, a building committee was elected to look into the expansion of Wightman’s facilities. After approval, ground was broken on a new building on June 27, 2004. The building of this facility was completed in 2005. This facility is now named the Christian Life Center, or CLC for short.

Following a called charge conference meeting, July 20, 2014, and church forums on September 28 where polls were taken approving the purchase, the administrative council voted to proceed with the acquisition of nearly 3 acres and the house at the corner of Langford Street and US Highway 76 for future development. The purchase of the property was completed in March 2015. Following a 90 day capital campaign in August, the loan for this property was paid off in December. Following the clearing and sodding of the Langford Street property, a dedication ceremony was held on November 11, 2018, of the new athletic field. The property has been named the Mary and Susie Langford Property with the Mike Mills Field.

Wightman Pastors

1877-1878 – T.G. Herbert
1879-1880 – J.W. Kelly
1881-1882 – A.J. Stokes
1883-1885 – Manning Brown
1887-1889 – M.M. Brabham
1889-1892 – J.B. Traywick
1892-1894 – D.D. Dantzler
1894-1895 – Dove Tiller
1896-1898 – E. G. Price
1899-1900 – W.H. Ariail
1900-1901 – W.B. Wharton
1901-1903 – G.R. Shaffer
1903-1905 – J.K. McCain
1906-1909 – H.W. Whitaker
1909-1913 – S.C. Morris
1913-1917 – E.P. Taylor
1917-1918 – J.L. Stokes
1918-1922 – J. Dempsey Griffin
1922-1926 – R.E. Sharp
1926-1928 – A.Q. Rice
1928-1932 – G.H. Pearce

1932-1936 – G.F. Clarkson
1936-1938 – T.L. Bryson
1938-1941 – M.E. Boozer
1941-1946 – J.A. Bledsoe
1946-1949 – Rex V. Martin
1949-1950 – H.M. Montgomery
1950-1952 – H.A. Whitten
1952-1956 – Ray P. Hook
1956-1960 – Paul Scott
1960-1965 – George E. Strait
1965-1971 – Raymond W. Brock
1971-1977 – James H. Williams
1977-1987 – Donald J. Hope
1987-1993 – Ben M. Gafford
1993-1997 – E. DeVon Ruth
1997-2007 – Eddie N. Taylor
2007-2012 – Michael A. Turner
2012-2015 – S. Dean Lollis
2016-2020 – Brian T. Rainwater
2020- – Ben L. Barnett