Excerpt from Albemarle Annals, 1961
Scattered Disciples maintained fellowship through their Union Meeting set up in 1834, four of their original six churches being in the Albemarle area. A merger was effected on May 2, 1845, with the Bethel Conference, when 11 of the 30 churches in the united group had Albemarle location. These 11 enrolled 558 of the entire State group of 1859 members registered in the year of the merger. When J. T. Walsh came to the State in 1852 he had successfully urged a better organization of the 37 churches then existing, of which 10 were north of Tar River; 15 were between the Tar and the Neuse; and 12 south of the Neuse. These river boundaries served as a natural criteria for an improved, expedited fellowship. It worked. These subdivisions long had a variety of names but were often referred to as First, Second, and Third Districts, counting from north to south.
J. T. Walsh, editor of the Disciples' first paper originating within the State, was first sustained as an evangelist, by a cooperation of churches. Projected mainly from Hookerton, Kinston, Rountree, and Oak Grove in Greene. He yearned for the practical extension of such evangelism in like groups throughout the field. In his Christian Friend, of December, 1853, he suggested: The Churches in Beaufort County with others in Martin and Washington Counties might form another meeting to be called The Beaufort Cooperation. These churches we judge could support one evangelist in their midst. In pursuance of this thought a call went out for delegates to attend at Athens Chapel, then known as Union Chapel, on July 28-30, 1854. It was to lay ground work for fellowship meetings on forthcoming fifth Sunday week-ends. Names of participating churches at this gathering are not given, except three new ones, Pungo Chapel, Christian Hope, and Free Union. A promotional visitation was scheduled for 10 churches to be done opportunely by their four leading evangelists: Seth H. Tyson, John M. Gurganus, H. D. Cason, and John A. Leggett. Their aim was to. Have an informed constituency in the support of area evangelism.
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