About

History

The history of the First United Methodist Church of Huntsville, Alabama  began less than 25 years after the organization of Methodism in America when pioneers seeking land began to migrate into the Tennessee Valley. In 1805, an itinerant Methodist preacher, John Ford, from South Carolina led one of the first large groups of settlers.

When the Western Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church met at Liberty Hill, Tennessee on October 8,1808, it established the Flint Circuit and appointed James Gwinn as circuit rider for a circuit extending approximately from McMinnville, Tennessee to Chickasaw (Hobbs) Island. The society at Hunt's Spring thus was in existence two months before Madison County was created in December.

One of the first acts of the 1819 Alabama legislature in the new state was to empower religious societies to hold real estate. In the following summer, the trustees of the 175 member Methodist Episcopal Church received a grant of land and by 1821 built a church. By 1822, the new church was overseeing the conference's mission school for Indians.

By 1830, the little frame church in the western part of town seemed inadequate, so on March 7, 1832, on the present site, "the most commodious and most beautiful {church} in Huntsville," was built. It was burned to the ground on January 6, 1864, during the War Between the States, when Federal troops were quartered in the basement and, despite protests by the minister, built fires on the wooden floor to cook their food.

With courage and faith, the Methodists immediately began to rebuild. On August 7, 1867, the cornerstone was laid and the new church was ready for use by the spring. The annex was completed in 1924 and by 1956, the Educational Building was needed. The Wesley Center was dedicated October 27, 1985.

On May 31, 2000, FUMC began a new building program to expand the ministry capabilities of the church. Through this program, the sanctuary and educational buildings were renovated, the church was made more accessible to persons with special needs, a new nursery was built, and a new multi-media worship center was constructed. All of this was dedicated for use in God's service on October 14, 2001 by Bishop Robert Fannin. 


 

The History of the First United Methodist Church, Huntsville, Alabama, written by Ruth Sykes Ford in 1958, updated in 1983 by Nancy Wilkinson Van Valkenburgh, is available for purchase in the church office.  Its tell many of the ways the church has served throughout the early years and, with God’s help, will continue to minister “In the heart of the City in the Name of Christ” to influence the community to know Him and to carry his message of God’s love and Salvation throughout the World.
 
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