Christ Church at River’s Edge (CCARE) began as a mission of the Belmont Presbyterian Church. Daily Vacation Bible School was conducted in East Belmont in a tent near the Stowe Thread Mill section in the summers of 1937-1938. During the winter, Miss Nell Hall and Miss Katherine Carter (Directors of Religious Education), told Bible stories on Sunday afternoons in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Eli Weathers.
Interest grew and in early summer of 1938 a chapel was built to be used as an outpost Sunday School and preaching point. Bible School commencement of 1938 was held in the new chapel building.
Under the leadership of the pastor of Belmont Church, Reverend W.M. Currie, the work carried on. In June 1940, Reverend R.T. Baker was asked to preach at Bethel Chapel when he became pastor of the Goshen Church, North Belmont.
On February 2, 1941, a Commission from Kings Mountain Presbytery met at Belmont Chapel and organized East Belmont Presbyterian Church with 27 charter members.
Reverend R.L. Berry became full-time pastor in July 1944. Under his leadership the church membership grew. He served the church for ten years.
In 1948-1949, the present church building was erected with first services held on Easter Sunday, April 17, 1949. The indebtedness for this building was paid in 1954. Day of Dedication was held on November 7, 1954.
In 1975, East Belmont Presbyterian Church was dismissed by request from the Presbyterian Church, U.S. On May 18, 1975, the church became a member of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). Since this significant change in 1975, the church has continued to faithfully serve its church family, the Belmont community, and ministries around the world. The 1970s also was the beginning of significant economic change in our community and church.
The mid-1970s saw the emergence of large textile mills and factories in China and other developing countries in Asia and Latin America. These operations offered incredibly cheap labor and raw materials, as well as the capacity to quickly manufacture huge orders. By 1980, even though about 70 percent of the clothing Americans bought was still made domestically, a handful of big retail chains began transitioning away from actually making their own clothes. Instead, they increasingly just designed and marketed them, but outsourced production factories overseas where the work was done at a tiny fraction of the cost.
As a community highly dependent on textile manufacturing, the Belmont economy began to suffer as manufacturing jobs were lost overseas. Between 1990 and 2011, about 750,000 apparel manufacturing jobs in the U.S. disappeared. As jobs became scarce, children and whole families began to relocate and this took a toll on the Belmont community and East Belmont Presbyterian Church.
Today, Belmont is experiencing a renaissance and East Belmont Presbyterian Church remains dedicated to faithfully proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ and serving the Belmont community. In 2015, the congregation and its leadership decided to make a fresh start. The church was renamed Christ Church at River’s Edge in recognition of its proximity to the Catawba River.
Led by a new pastor with significant church planting experience, the congregation rededicated itself to the church and community. A group of dedicated families and long-standing members, confident in God’s sovereignty, has re-committed themselves to being salt and light to the Belmont community.
Christ Church at River’s Edge is a reformed church, experiencing reformation. Even as we celebrate all that Christ has done in the past, we are moving forward and reaching out to individuals, children, and families with the Gospel. We invite you to join us in this great adventure as we worship and serve our Lord Jesus Christ and the community of Belmont.
A spindle is a straight spike usually made from wood used for spinning, twisting fibers such as wool, flax, hemp, cotton into yarn. The CCARE church bell “pull” (pictured here) is just such a spindle and serves as a remembrance of our community’s rich history in the textile industry. Today, much of the textile industry has gone, but the church bell continues to be rung each Lord’s Day. Each Sunday, prior to worship, the bell is rung (usually by one of our CCARE children), as a reminder of the past and our enduring hope in Christ Jesus.