Church History

tent beginnings

In 1956, a tent meeting was held in the Royal Oaks community of Kannapolis, NC. Those present decided that the community needed a Methodist Church.  On October 21 of that very year, Royal Oaks United Methodist Church was born, with the Reverend Frank Starnes as the first pastor. Ground breaking on a building to house the church began in January of 1957.  After 8 months, the first worship service was held in the new building. In 1962, the church built a parsonage to serve the minister and their family.

Membership at Royal Oaks began to grow, and on May 7, 1967, construction began on a new sanctuary and an education wing for Sunday school classes. On February 18, 1968, the beautiful sanctuary we are blessed to worship in today was consecrated in the Sunday morning worship service.

Former Pastors
1956 – 1960 Rev. Frank Starnes
1960 – 1962 Rev. Wade Benson
1962 – 1964 Rev. John Pennick
1964 – 1968 Rev. Terry Hammill
1968 – 1970 Rev. Louis Murray
1970 – 1972 Rev. Paul Ridenhour
1972 – 1976 Rev. Larry Clifton
1976 – 1978 Rev. Ed Sides
1978 – 1980 Rev. Andy Langford
1980 – 1985 Rev. Gary Royals
1985 – 1988 Rev. Jimmie Holland
1988 – 1989 Rev. Ted Craddock
1989 – 1994 Rev. Greg Gordon
1994 – 1997 Rev. Paula Judy
1997 – 2000 Rev. Ronnie Parker
2000 – 2005 Rev. Brooks Gibson
2005 – 2008 Rev. C. Darrin Everhart
2008 – 2009 Rev. Millie Orbison
2009 – 2012 Rev. Jesse Rogers                                                                                                    2012 – 2019 Rev. Paul Strahan

The Royal Oaks Wooden Cross
The wooden cross that hangs above the alter in the sanctuary and was hand crafted by one of the members of the church, W.R. Blalock. It has been part of the sanctuary since the inaugural worship service in February 1968. His daughter still attends Royal Oaks UMC and recalls when it was being crafted. “We were not allowed to roller-skate in the basement when the cross was being made because our father was concerned about the dust we would kick up,” recalls Judy Cline. The baptismal font was hand crafted by the same man. Royal Oaks has been blessed through its history with individuals who are willing to donate their time and talents.