Most very early Methodist congregations in Albemarle County had their roots in the Maupin Meeting House, now Mount Moriah United Methodist Church . When the first congregation at Maupin’s was only 21 years old, the second of the surviving churches of Methodism in Albemarle County was founded. That church was our own Ivy Creek Church.
It was in 1808 that a small band of Methodists, doubtless a group who had attended the Maupin Meeting House, organized and built a church. Bland Ballard, because of his love for the church, gave one-quarter acre of land to be used for the building of a church. Evidently the church had already been erected when he gave the land. At that time Ivy Creek was a church of the Methodist Episcopal Church South.
The first church building was a log structure with a shed and a large stone fireplace. From all indications, the site was very near to where the WINA towers are at the end of Lambs Road. It is said that the ruins of the foundation can still be seen by a person willing to spend the time searching through the woods.
It is not clear who the first ministers of the church were, but it is a good possibility that the church was served by the same ministers who served the Maupin Meeting House. Ivy Creek Church grew and developed along with the other circuit churches in what was then the James River District. Ministers had to ride horseback or go by carriage or buggy between preaching points. The circuit riders spent a good deal of their time on the roads, which here in Albemarle County were noted for being notoriously bad. The church was near enough to Charlottesville so the Methodists who lived in town must have attended worship at Ivy Creek.
After some 67 years at the site on Lambs Road, the church was moved in 1875. Evidently the congregation had outgrown the small log structure that was the first building of Ivy Creek. E. M. Goodman gave about an acre of land on the bluff at Hydraulic Road near the Rivanna River. The new church building was completed in 1875 and the members moved to their new site with its more spacious facilities. This building was used for the better part of 45 years when again the congregation was forced by its blossoming growth to build a larger facility.
John Morris gave a tract of land totaling a bit more than 1 1/2 acres on which the present church stands. So it was that in the early 1920’s native stone was used to construct the new church. It was and is today one of the most attractive churches in the county and one of the few which has been constructed from field stone gathered in and about the building site. The architecture is pure Gothic in style and the stained-glass is the crowning touch to a beautifully designed house of worship. A vestibule was added at a later date using the same type of field stones.
The Albemarle Circuit, including Ivy Creek, Mount Moriah, Brown’s Cove and Wesley Chapel, was formed between 1926 and 1933 and persisted until recent times. The last minister to serve this four point charge was the Rev. Thomas Oder in 1962. At that time, Mount Moriah became a station church, and Brown’s Cove was served by a part-time minister. Ivy Creek shared a minister with Wesley Chapel. The parsonage at Ivy Creek was builtIn during 1962-1963. A 1.34 acre tract of land adjoining the church’s property was given by John Morris in 1962. It was this gift that allowed the parsonage to be constructed. In the 1950’s a cinder block building was added to the rear of the church in order to provide more room for the church school.
Ivy Creek continued to share a minister with Wesley Chapel until 1972. At that time, Ivy Creek became a station church, while Wesley Chapel was served by a part-time minister until its closing. Ivy Creek has continued to be a station church with its own minister residing on the charge.
As the church continued to grow it was necessary to build an educational unit with a large fellowship hall. This was done under the leadership of Eugene Baker in the early 1970’s. A large brick fireplace was built as part of the structure, reminiscent of the first church and its fireplace. The first organ for the church was purchased in 1974, and remodeling the sanctuary with new pews and pulpit was completed in 1976. The church can now seats about 120 person. T. Edward Helms was responsible for this beautiful remodeling job. With the addition of a new organ in 1996 and a public address system, Ivy Creek Church remains one of the most beautiful and functional houses of worship in the county.