Lynch Chapel United Methodist Church is located at 504 East Fourth Street, Forest, Mississippi. It is one of the oldest churches in the Mississippi Conference. It was organized while the Mississippi Conference was known as a Mission Conference. The church takes its name “Lynch Chapel” from its founding pastor, Reverend James Lynch.
In 1868, God sent a great spiritual leader, Reverend James Lynch, to the Forest area. As his first endeavor in Forest, he organized a “Sunday School” in a small log hut. After that, the apparent need for an organized congregation was recognized. Reverend Lynch accepted a call from God to lead the congregation. On December 18, 1868, a deed was secured for the property where the present church stands. The Trustees included Mr. Henry Harper, Mr. Samuel Carr, and Mr. Lewis Graham. Shortly thereafter, the little log hut became a place of worship for the people. Later, a frame church and a parsonage were constructed.
The church and parsonage have been renovated and rebuilt several times during its history. In 1923, under the administration of Reverend R. N. Jones, the parsonage was destroyed by fire and rebuilt. In 1957 when E. T. Hawkins High School burned, school was held in Lynch Chapel Methodist Church. Lynch Chapel was rebuilt in 1962 under the administration of Reverend H. C. Clay, Sr. While the church was being constructed, services were held in the rebuilt E. T. Hawkins High School. Bishop B. F. Golden and Superintendent C. P. Payne participated in opening services for the new church on March 4-11, 1962. During the fall of 1964 under the administration of Reverend B. S. Thompson, Sr., the mortgage on the church was burned with Mr. Cortez Lamb, Sr., Chairman of the Official Board, Mrs. Claudell Holbert, Treasurer, and Mrs. Carrie L. Moore, one of the oldest members participating. On December 13, 1964, the building was dedicated. Bishop M. Lafayette Harris and District Superintendent S. S. Barnett participated in this service.
In the summer of 1965, under the administration of Reverend B. S. Thompson, a new parsonage was constructed. Mars Hill and Green Grove, sister churches of the Forest Charge shared this project. Later, Sherman Hill became a part of the Forest Charge and shared in this project. In the fall of 1974, during the administration of Reverend Harold Leverette, Lynch Chapel was renovated. This renovation was paid out under the 1976-1980 administration of Reverend Tommy C. Greer, Sr. The present Lynch Chapel United Methodist Church was constructed in 1989. It is known as the “MIRACLE CHURCH” because it was built and furnished within eight weeks. The church was built by Lynch Chapel Pastor Arthur Lewis, Jr., Reverend Earl Greenough and members of Alta Woods United Methodist Church Mission Team of Jackson, Mississippi, church members, and many friends who volunteered free labor and services. The church was furnished by members and friends who donated pews, lights, and other items. The opening ceremony for the new church was held on the third Sunday in December 1989. Participants in the ceremony were Bishops Robert Morgan and Marshall Meadors, Jr., Administrative Assistants to the Bishop Henry Clay, Jr., and Joe May, District Superintendents John Thomas, Charles Nickelson, and Cecil Jones, and Reverend Earl Greenough and the members of Alta Woods United Methodist Church Mission Team.
Lynch Chapel continues to serve the community under the capable leadership of Reverend Robert Brown who has pastored Lynch Chapel since June 2001. Reverend Brown’s vision is to increase current member participation, increase membership, and reclaim the children and youth of our church.
Submitted by Mrs. Sammie L. Nunley Rigsby, Church Historian, October 2001.