Avondale United Methodist Church
Thursday, June 20, 2013
loving and serving God and others through worship, learning, fellowship, and outreach
Avondale United Methodist Church was founded as Avondale Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in 1886 out of an interdenominational community Sunday school group. The Reverend W. T. Andrews, fresh out of seminary, organized the church with 18 members and held services regularly in a community store. The congregation completed its first building in 1888 at a location on 5th Avenue across from the present site of the Avondale Park ball fields.
By 1917, the growing congregation, now 250 strong, was outgrowing its small wooden building. The congregation purchased new land that was, according to minutes of the church meeting, “really wonderful in its aptness and its beauty—at the center of the population to be served.” A new education building and sanctuary were completed in 1931, and by the congregation’s semicentennial in 1937, the church had grown to 950 members.
In the late twentieth century, with the economic and racial landscape of Birmingham undergoing seismic shifts, the South Avondale community experienced many changes that challenged the once growing congregation. Church leaders began to reassess the mission and ministries of the church in light of its changing environment, but they remained committed to the congregation’s original vision to be at the center of the community. New opportunities for connecting with the neighborhood, such as the Parents’ Day Out preschool, a tutoring partnership with the local school, food ministries that serve the area’s underprivileged residents, and new learning opportunities for those new to the church have given new expression to the core vision of the congregation.
Throughout its 125 years, Avondale UMC has been a part of the discipleship of thousands upon thousands of members and worshippers, no one person any more or less significant than any other. Indeed, our history is made up of individuals called by God to share in God’s mission by the unique gifts and graces God gives them. We pray that you will consider being a part of what God is doing in and through Avondale UMC and be a part of the Lord’s future for this place.