Rev. Joyner breaking the first ground, June 11, 1961
Rev. Joyner breaking the first ground, June 11, 1961

In February of 1961, Bishop Paul N. Garber, bishop of the North Carolina Annual Conference of the Methodist Church, appointed Rev. F. Belton Joyner, Jr. to organize a Methodist congregation in the Pine Valley Estates area of Wilmington. For the first few months, interested persons met in study groups as the gathering of a new congregation began. At a general meeting September 10, 1961, thirteen persons were received as the first members of Pine Valley United Methodist Church. Regularly held worship services began September 24, 1961. The first two services were conducted in the E.E. Criser home on Robert E. Lee Dr. and afterwards at Oleander Methodist Church each Sunday.

A groundbreaking service was held June 11, 1961 for the construction of a sanctuary and classrooms at the corner of Shipyard Boulevard and Stonewall Jackson Drive. Rev. Joyner broke the first ground. The people continued to worship at Oleander Methodist Church until November 5, 1961, when eighty-five persons attended the first worship service in the new sanctuary. In 1968, construction began on four additional classrooms. As attendance grew, the church decided to become a station church, leaving the joint charge with Oleander in 1970. Two Sunday morning worship services began in March 1972 in order to seat the large number of worshipers. A second sanctuary, built to seat approximately 375, was completed in October 1974. Membership by this time had grown to 479. A second worship service in this sanctuary began in 1983. By 1984, a proposed building program was presented to the members for a fellowship hall and office complex. Groundbreaking was held November 10, 1985 and construction was completed in October 1986. Renovations were completed in early 1987 on the original sanctuary to construct additional classroom space.

In 1990, membership had grown to 1100 and a fellowship time between the two worship services was added. In May 1992, a third worship service was added to accommodate the overcrowded conditions on Sunday mornings. Worship opportunities were now offered at 8:30, 9:45 and 11:00 each Sunday with Sunday School classes for all ages at 8:30 and 9:45, and an additional class at 11:00. By 1994, Pine Valley had continued to grow at an exciting rate. The membership was 1344, with the average worship attendance over 600 and the average Sunday School attendance over 300. Property adjacent to the sanctuary was purchased and tentative plans for a Christian Life Center were developed as a direct result of the spirit, enthusiasm and love generated by the congregation and staff of Pine Valley UMC. Easter Sunday, March 30, 1996, a groundbreaking ceremony was held and the first worship service was conducted Easter Sunday, April 12, 1997.

In 2011, the year of our 50th Anniversary, Pine Valley membership continues to maintain over 2100 members. The average worship attendance is 575 and the average Sunday School attendance is 225. As we reflect on the history of the past five decades, this time also becomes a wonderful opportunity for our congregation to dream for the future, connecting hearts to Christ and one another.