In 1923, a group of believers from the Leaksville Pentecostal Holiness Church in North Carolina desired a Holy Ghost movement closer to home. With their pastor’s blessing, 22 people formed and founded the Draper Pentecostal Holiness Church in Draper, North Carolina. When the weather permitted, the group met in tents by the town’s pond and then in homes during the first bitter winter.
Leaksville, Draper, and Spray were small mill towns located just a few miles from one another. However, in 1923, a few miles were quite challenging without a proper automobile. Many of the mill workers lacked adequate transportation, so a Holy Ghost-filled church within walking distance unlocked new spiritual potential for Draper families.
In 1924, the church built a small building nestled among mill village homes just a few blocks from the Fieldcrest Mills. E.R. Sutterfield served as the first pastor of the church. The church building served the congregation well for 25 years until 1951 when fire destroyed the building after the first service of spring revival. While church members were in shock, the spirit of Draper banded together, and members were invited to hold worship services in other buildings until a new church could be erected. Draper members worked tirelessly to raise the funds needed to build the facility.
On July 6, 1952, members of the Draper PH Church were called back to the corner of Delaware and Bethel as the new church building was dedicated. Since that time, the campus of Draper PH has expanded with additional buildings built and utilized for multipurpose uses. A new fellowship hall building was added in 1986, and the previous building now houses the church’s active Hope Outreach Center.
In 1967, Leaksville, Spray, and Draper merged into one city named Eden, North Carolina. While the city created a new identity, the mill districts remained distinct. The area fluxed with changes to the economy as local mills closed and abandoned the historic buildings. The city focused inward, creating a more cohesive place for people to raise families. Transportation became more available. Technology expanded with telephones, television, cable, internet, and cell phones commonplace in almost every home.
Today, Draper PH Church remains on the corner of Delaware and Bethel, and our mission strives to be a Place of Hope for our community. In 2018, Rev. Chris Burns led the church into a new season. The church partnered with Second Harvest Food Bank and launched the Hope Outreach Center (HOC) offering a monthly food giveaway serving an average of 85 families each month. To date, the HOC has distributed about 200,000 lbs. of food to the Draper community. The HOC is also a community service site for juvenile offenders giving volunteers an opportunity to love and mentor teens. The church offers community focused events such as safety and skills training classes.
One of the hardest seasons for the Draper PH Church to date was the pandemic. As the world shut down and isolated, church members worked hard to stay connected with internet streamed services, porch-dropped packages, and parking lot services. Eden city officials gave the green light to shut down Delaware Avenue during parking lot church services to give way for sound equipment. “Amens” rang out as car horns. Neighbors sat on their porches to listen. The church remained connected, yet safely distant as we navigated the threats of Covid 19. God remained faithful.
As the congregation of Draper PH Church honors the legacy of their spiritual heritage that started near the old Draper Pond 100 years ago, we see God’s faithfulness. Draper PH recently held its Centennial Celebration Homecoming on Sunday, September 17, 2023. Bishop A.D. Beacham, Jr., General Superintendent of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church, was the guest speaker. Bishop Beacham encouraged the congregation to lift their heads as the fields were white and heavy with harvest. God has a purpose for you individually and the church “to seek and save the lost.”
Bishop Beacham’s message is encouragement that every IPHC church might need to hear. God is faithful, and He has an individual purpose for you. While Draper PH Church has seen fires, floods, pandemics, and economic casualties over the last 100 years, it has also seen provision, rescue, favor, and redemption.
“Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah! Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in” (Psalm 24:6-7, ESV).
We look back at the last 100 years with appreciation, and we look forward to the next 100 with hope and faith.
Learn more about Draper PH here: https://draperphc.org