by Rev. Allan Purtill



There was a time in Huntersville when a ride to the hospital would end in Charlotte or Mooresville; a time when Gilead Ridge was just a sloping narrow hill; a time when discovery was left to what could be imagined on a vacant lot; and a time when information came from talkers squeezed into booths who distributed news and ate sausage biscuits till mid-morning.

A mere 10 years ago the Huntersville Herald appeared. Delivered at every door, some digested every page of the goings and comings of neighbors. But not everyone took up and read. Some Heralds were left outside. My Herald doesn’t immediately come into the house. However, it never rests for long and by week’s end has visited every room. So, a decade ago the Herald found its voice and we are asked to celebrate by answering, “How have we changed since?”

I’m not sure how I can sufficiently answer that from a religious point of view. I’m only one voice among many. But alas, they asked a Presbyterian in a 250-year-old church nonetheless.

From the vantage point of a new pastor at Hopewell Presbyterian Church, the oldest church in Huntersville, I remember the time since 2002 only by the stories passed on to me. Stories are told by the men and women who live in and around our remaining fields and forests and by those whose homes still smell of fresh paint. They say 10 years ago coming to Hopewell for worship you would not have passed Barnette Elementary, but the farm of the McDonald family. Upon arrival, you would have entered the same sanctuary, but heard good news from another voice, a voice that also spoke to preserve Huntersville’s rot, rust, stone and story.  The newer voices say they found a community in the church to replace the dear friends and family left back home in Ohio, Minnesota and New Jersey.

From the vantage point of a resident in Huntersville’s first subdivision,
Cedarfield, begun long before the Herald came, but finished in this last decade, I can share that I sit on a cove with neighbors from the North, South, Midwest and even Concord. I garden on a small plot but produce enough to share as folks always have. The children run from house to house, and we freely worship or not. Last Christmas, my children were thrilled with the display of lights, and sounds, and motion, though I must confess my own lacked luster. We share tales around campfire occasionally and meditate along the creek trail.

From whatever pulpit or perch we’ve observed, a lot of folks will be quick to tell you, they don’t like change. The Herald wasn’t read on your tablet in 2002, and I hope it will still be paper in 2022. But the right change at the right time is good. Beneficial progress in community is accomplished when we are informed accurately, honor a forum for public expression of opinion, and tolerate different conclusions to the questions of our day.

There was a time when we didn’t have the voice of the Herald. I think we’re better for it that we do. More voices lead to clarifying what’s true. May the Herald provide in the future news of comfort and conviction. The truth hurts, but the truth will set us free.

The Rev. Allan Purtill is the minister of Hopewell Presbyterian Church, 10500 Beaties Ford Road, Huntersville. Find more information about the church at www.hopewellpresbyterian.com or by calling 704-875-2291.