Decatur in Morgan County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
First United Methodist Church
“Growing in Christ, Sharing God’s Love”
The historic First United Methodist Church is the oldest continually meeting congregation in Decatur and the only downtown church still worshiping in its nineteenth century sanctuary.
Circuit riders served local Methodists from 1827 until the 1840’s. In 1834 this congregation of approximately 67 white and black members built the Methodist Episcopal Church, the first house of worship in Decatur, at the corner of Railroad Street and Church Street. In 1854 black members began meeting separately, forming what later became historic King’s Memorial United Methodist Church.
The Methodist Episcopal congregation worshiped in the 1834 building until the War Between the States when Confederates used it as a hospital. Union troops later camped in and around the building. Near war’s end, Federal forces dismantled the church building along with all but four Decatur structures.
The Methodist Church, known then as The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, relocated and built a frame structure on the present site in 1868.
The tower bell was donated to the church by a former Union
Thirty years later the congregation moved the 1868 frame building and erected the present brick structure of Romanesque architectural exterior and Akron style sanctuary. The three stained glass windows, representing the Holy Trinity, were framed in Decatur, using glass supplied by an Atlanta company. Some 300,000 bricks, many made in Decatur, were used in the building. The church’s Ladies Aid Society provided 555 yards of Brussels carpet.
Using mostly local talent and labor, plus donated material and funds, the total cost of the building and furnishing was $14,460.
The congregation dedicated the building on Easter Sunday, 1890. Growth of the church membership resulted in expanded fellowship and classroom facilities in 1927, 1955, 1991 and 2008.
Despite war’s destruction, two yellow fever epidemics in Decatur, several name changes and the city’s economic struggles, Decatur’s First United Methodist Church continues to share the faith and serve the community and world.
Erected 2016 by Alabama Historical Association.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Churches & Religion • War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Alabama Historical Association series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1868.
Location. 34° 36.74′ N, 86° 59.022′ W. Marker is in Decatur, Alabama, in Morgan County. Marker is at the intersection of Canal Street Northeast and Lafayette Street Northeast, on the right when traveling south on Canal Street Northeast. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 805Canal St NE, Decatur AL 35601, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. To Commemorate the Passage of The Olympic Torch (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Old Decatur Historic District / Old State Bank (about 500 feet away); Historic Downtown/Founders Park (about 500 feet away); First Presbyterian Church (USA) (about 500 feet away); “A Hard Nut To Crack” - Federal Defenses at Decatur (about 500 feet away); Votes for Women (about 600 feet away); Battle of Decatur (about 600 feet away); Rising Sun Lodge No. 29 (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Decatur.
Also see . . . Decatur First United Methodist Church. (Submitted on April 16, 2017.)
Credits. This page was last revised on April 16, 2017. It was originally submitted on April 15, 2017, by Sandra Hughes Tidwell of Killen, Alabama, USA. This page has been viewed 369 times since then and 52 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on April 15, 2017, by Sandra Hughes Tidwell of Killen, Alabama, USA. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.