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The Alabama AlGenWeb Archives

Articles from 1976 Journal-Register Newspaper

Winfield-1st Methodist Church

The Journal-Record - Bicentennial Edition
Thursday, July 1, 1976
Section B, Page 4


In 1860, on the eve of the War Between the States, this section of Alabama
was sparsely settled. There was no railroads and the only means of
transportation were roads not much better than mere trails. Widely
scattered farm house, with considerable distance between them, dotted the
landscape. This is was some years before Winfield came into existence, not
even Birmingham had become an incorporated town. The only nearby towns were
Fayette and Pikeville, the latter being the county site(sic) of Marion

In that year, 1860, John S. WHEELER and his neighbors organized a church,
located in the Goodwater community and named it Wheeler's Chapel Methodist
Church. For several years, the church met in the WHEELER home and during
the 1860's built a church near the present location of eastside Baptist
Church. Around the year 1881, the congregation built another church
building near the first location.

With the completion of the Frisco Railroad in 1887, quite a number of towns
sprang to life and Winfield became an incorporated town. Wheeler Chapel
congregation decided to move within the incorporated town and built a
church, thus becoming the parent church of Winfield Methodists. This church
building constructed in 1890, had for its first pastor, Rev. E. H. PRICE,
with Dr. T. G. SLAUGHTER being the presiding elder.

In 1910 the original building was torn down and replaced by a new frame
building. This structure served the organization until 1937, when a brick
building was erected, being the third church building on the same location.
Rev. Martin SWILLING was the pastor then and on May 12, 1946, this edifice
was dedicated by Bishop Coston J. HARRELL, the Rev. A. C. BLACKBURN being
the pastor.

Pastors of the church since Rev. BLACKBURN are as follows: Wallace LOVETT,
Allen MONTGOMERY, Henry GARY, John Miller SHORES, W. W. WOODBURN, Maynard

In the early 1960's the membership began to realize that the last building
was inadequate and began thinking about a new church plan. In 1962, some
plans were formulated to build and (sic) education building adjoining the
church and do some extensive renovating to the old structure. But sentiment
grew among the membership to move to a new location for better all around

A building committee was appointed on January 27, 1966 and empowered to
acquire property. On May 22, 1966, the membership in a church conference,
voted by a substanial(sic) majority, t build a new church on a new site,
which later was obtained. On September 29, 1968, the church membership
officially approved the plan for a new church structure and authorized a
bond sale to finance the project. The bonds were sold in September 1969,
with a large group of enthusiastic workers completing the project in a
short time. During the next month actual work was started on the building
which was completed in October 1970. The church located on the property,
which was the former homestead of Dr. R. L. HILL, held the first service on
October 25, 1970.

Homecoming has been celebrated on the anniversary of the opening in 1974
and 1975, with sermons being preached by Rev. Charles HOWARD and Rev.
Wallace LOVETT.

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