"When approached by Horace Hood, Clerk of the Session, with Session’s nomination of me to become church historian, I accepted immediately.”
Those are Betty Merritt’s opening words in her book entitled, "The Church of the Open Door," the documented history of our Church from 1924 to 1990. Betty goes on…” My major at Agnes Scott College was history and I have always enjoyed reading and learning about the past.” Betty passed several years ago but her efforts and those who assisted her in documenting Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church’s rich history lives on in a remarkable legacy for all of us to learn and enjoy. A copy of “The Church of the Open Door” resides in our Church Library.
Betty assembled three former educators and two former newspapermen to assist her in her endeavors. She notes…it took approximately eight hours of research to completely research one year…and the Church was 66 years old in 1990! The results of their efforts are published in the above-mentioned book. It is a remarkable piece of history, not only of Raleigh Court Church, but of the area, the War Years, the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, the people of the Roanoke Valley, the news items of the early years, the fall of the Berlin Wall…and she mentions that President George Herbert Walker Bush disliked broccoli but Mrs. Bush and Millie, her dog did not…and yes, the remarkable formation of our Church.
Chapter One…1924, “In the Beginning…” takes the reader from the early days, documents the first water bill for three months, $2.76, the first electric bill for two months, $15.77 and the first pledges, amounting to $6,930.00. The temporary building was completed on September 21, 1924, at a cost of approximately $3600.00. From “In The Beginning” to 1990, nearly 141 pages later, there unfolds a story of accomplishments, of problem solving, of the resilience of the people of Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church, and of a rich history told by one, and of many, who dearly loved, and love our Church.
Many of those in the early years are no longer with us. On the other hand, those who still are fondly recall Betty’s renditions and stories. It is because of their efforts and the contributions of so many that have carried forward from 1990 that we now share the continuing history of Raleigh Court Church. Advanced technology from Betty’s time has allowed us to present this segment of our history in a more accessible and updateable form. With our 100th anniversary on the near horizon, we hope to share a complete one hundred year history with you and to all who come after us.
Chairman: Dale Hanslik