"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble" Psalm 46:1 NIV
Ashville United Methodist Church's history began before Alabama became a State. Facts about its organization are given in Dr. Anson West's History of Methodism in Alabama, published in 1892, and in Dr. M. E. Lazenby's History of Methodism in Alabama and West Florida, published in 1960.
In April, 1818, the Rev. Ebenezer Hearn was removed from the Flint Circuit in the Tennessee Conference and sent into that part of Alabama which had been opened up by a treaty signed with the Creek Indians August 9, 1814. He was to preach in the wilderness and organize societies, now called churches, where practicable. This was the beginning of Methodism in North Alabama, and was under the leadership of Thomas L. Douglas, presiding elder of the Nashville District, Tennessee Conference. Rev. Ebenezer Hearn organized the Methodist Society in Catawla Town, which later became present day Ashville.
West's history mentions Catawla Town as one of the "prominent appointments" on the Cahawba Circuit. At the session of the Tennessee Conference held at Nashville, beginning October 1, 1818, the Rev. Thomas Stringfield was appointed as pastor of the Cahawba Circuit which probably extended around a 150 miles from Gadsden to Selma, according to West's history. Because of Indian disturbances, Stringfield did not go immediately to his appointment, and later in the year he was given another appointment. Rev. Hearn then served the Cahawba Circuit throughout the 1819 conference year.
Bro. Hearn set out by horseback for his new work, crossed the Tennessee River at Ditto's Landing and traveled through the lands of the Creeks. Late that afternoon he came to the cabin of an Indian Trader where he found a welcome and a place to spend the night. Dr. West's history tells us, "Here he offered his first evening sacrifice of prayer and praise in the wilderness". Daybreak found him again in the saddle, riding toward the south.
After traveling about twenty miles he came to a settlement called Bear-Meat Cabin which is now Blountsville. Among the settlers he found a number of Methodists. It was here that he preached his first sermon in the new and unorganized field and arranged for a service one month later. Leaving Bear-Meat Cabin Bro. Hearn traveled to Jones Valley where the city of Birmingham is now located, finding small settlements along the way. In Jones Valley lived the Rev. David Owen who had moved from Tennessee in 1817. He had built a house less than a mile from where the Jefferson County Courthouse now stands. This home became headquarters for Hearn and became the first house of Methodist worship in what is now Birmingham. This was more than half a century before there was any Birmingham.
After Bro. Hearn left this locality he went to Roupe's Valley, where there was a small settlement. His next stop was what is now Scottsville, in Bibb County, then on to the Falls of Cahawba, now Centerville. From the Falls of Cahawba he traveled Northeast to Wilson's Hill, now Montevallo. Dr. West in his history quotes Hearn as saying "Here I organized the first society I formed on my new mission."
From Wilson's Hill, Ebenezer Hearn traveled up the valley some sixty miles to a place called Catawla Town, on Canoe Creek. Here he organized a Society. Catawla Town is now Ashville. The next stop made by Hearn was at a cove now known as Bristow's Cove. It was from this place that he went back to Bear Meat Cabin. He had now made a round, established preaching places, organized two societies and in a measure formed a circuit. Other places were added on his second, third, and fourth trips before the end of the conference year. His work resulted in the formation of two large circuits. One of these was the Cahawba Circuit with a membership of 172. Lazenby's history states that the circuit "probably extended from Gadsden to Selma around 150 miles, the width being 30 to 50 miles." West's history mentions Catawla Town as one of the "prominent appointments" on the circuit.
At the session of the Tennessee Conference held at Nashville, Tennessee, beginning October 1, 1818, the Rev. Thomas Stringfield was appointed as pastor of the Cahawba Circuit for the year 1819. He was 22 years old. Ebenezer Hearn was given other work. Because of Indian disturbances he did not go at once to his new appointment. Later in the year a change was made. Stringfield was given another appointment and Hearn was kept on the Cahawba Circuit, for the rest of the conference year 1819. West's history names the preachers who served the circuit through 1832.
The church, here in Ashville, may well be proud of its connection with the Lambuth Family, so well known in Methodism. John R. Lambuth, the 21 year old Junior pastor, under Benjamin M. drake, during the conference year 1822, was the grandfather of the beloved Bishop Walter R. Lambuth. Bishop Lambuth was a medical missionary who served Methodism and the world, so nobly, until his death in 1921 at Yokohama, Japan.
During the early history of Methodism in Ashville it is not known where the services were held. In 1831, the Ashville Academy was chartered. The building for the school was also used as a place of worship by the Baptists, the Methodists, and the Presbyterians. It was called Mount Pleasant Meeting House. This information is given in Mattie Lou Teague Crow's History of St. Clair County published in 1973.
It was not until 1858, that land for a Methodist church was acquired. Today, the present church building stands upon this property, acquired by deed signed November 13, 1858 by Almeth Byers and his wife. A Photostatic copy of the deed hangs in the church office. No local church records exist covering this period of time. A two-story frame building was erected on this property planned for use, jointly by the Masons of Ashville and the Methodist congregation. This arrangement continued until 1892 when the church gave its interest in the building to the Masons who had it moved to a site near the County Jail. (This historic building was moved again in 1992 to Seventh Avenue, where it is in use today as a Museum.) A trustee's report to a quarterly conference on September 20, 1890 tells, "that the church needs some repairs." In the same report, there is this statement: "We have a new parsonage not yet completed. When completed it will be one of the best in the district." The Rev. J. W. Akin was the pastor. A membership record revised in 1890 also lists those who were members at that time, among them were LeRoy F. Box and Sallie V. Box who joined, by letter, October 1871.
An old record of the Ladies Society, now United Methodist Women, gives the date of organization as March 3, 1890. Mrs. B. F. Ashley, Mrs. Lena Robinson and Mrs. Ellen Nelson served on a committee with the pastor, the Rev. J. W. Akin, to get the Society organized. A Sunday School was organized in January, 1891 with three classes. E. J. Robinson was elected superintendent. Methodist people attended a Union Sunday School at the Cumberland Presbyterian Church prior to that. A Sunday School was organized in January, 1891 with three classes. E. J. Robinson was the superintendent. Methodist people attended a Union Sunday School at the Cumberland Presbyterian Church prior to that. The arrangement with the Masons continued until 1892 when the church gave its interest in the building to the Masons who moved it to a site adjoining the county jail. In 1992, local historians arranged for this old building to be moved down the street where it is now in use as an Archives Museum.
At the fourth quarterly conference on November 2, 1892, the trustees of Ashville Methodist Church reported that, "a new and commodious church is now in the course of construction." The pastor at that time was Rev. George E. Driskill. The church was ceiled and painted in 1894. In 1895 the "windows were frosted and the whole auditorium seated with good and comfortable seats", paid for by the Ladies Aid Society. The building was English style. By 1897 both church and parsonage were reported as being "in good condition and comfortable". Years later when repairs were needed, the steep roof and tall steeple were lowered on the church building, but remained in use for severnty years. The present brick structure was completed in March, 1963, under the pastorate of the Rev. Lahnoe Dwight Euler. A service of consecration was conducted on Sunday, March 17, 1963. The Rev. A. Tillman Sprouse, District Superintendent of the Gadsden District, led the service assisted by the pastor. That same year, Ashville Methodist Church was the recipient of the Town & Country Award, and again in 1965 while the Rev. James Keith was pastor. The award was given each year to the church in the District making the most progress.
On April 23, 1965, a charter was issued for the Methodist Men's club, and an active group of men of the church continue meeting today. The youth have had their organization for a number of years, first as the Epworth League and now as the United Methodist Youth Fellowship. A choir has been a part of the church program for many years. Old records reveal that programs of music were given on special occasions, as is done today.
A memorable event for the Town of Ashville and the Methodist Church occurred Sunday, March 20, 1966 when the Rev. Lester Spencer preached at the eleven o'clock service. The occasion was part of the observance of the Bi-centennial of Methodism in America. Mr. Spencer was one of the twelve Methodist ministers riding horseback from different parts of the country to Baltimore, Maryland. The project was called "Saddlebags East" and was to commemorate the ministry of the circuit rider during the early years of Methodism. The observance was sponsored by the Association of Methodist Historical Societies. Ashville was one of the ten places from Montgomery to Baltimore where Mr. Spencer stopped to preach. He arrived on horseback Saturday afternoon, dressed as a pioneer Methodist circuit rider. In his handcrafted saddlebags he carried a Bible, a Discipline and a Hymnal. He and a companion who was driving a camper spent the night as guests of the pastor, Rev. John H. Andrews and family. Sunday he spoke to a capacity crowd in the church sanctuary. At noon, and old-fashioned dinner on the ground was served. That afternoon, as Mr. Spencer prepared to mount his horse to leave, people crowded around to say good-bye, and to wish him a safe journey. As he rode away everyone watched and waved till he was out of sight. Other occasions have brought missionaries from Africa, Brazil and Bolivia to lecture here. Outstanding church leaders and preachers have been guest.
Several years after the completion of the present brick church, the old parsonage located next to the church was torn down, and in 1979 the church purchased a brick home on 9th Avenue from the Williams family for use as a parsonage. In 1984 a steeple for the church building was given by Rev. Jim and Norma Jean Beck in memory of Jim's parents, J. W. and Minnie Beck.
In the summer of 1993, Dr. Belon Friday, a retired United Methodist Minister, was sent to Ashville as a part-time minister. Reverend Friday brought to the church many years of experience from the numerous appointments to various circuits he had faithfully served over the years. He often blended many humorous first-hand experiences into his sermons to illustrate very meaningful points to the congregation. Dr. Friday brought with him several family members who contributed to his ministry at Ashville. His beloved wife Anne blessed the church on several occasions with her special gift of song and music. Dr. Friday's youngest son, Patrick Friday, became licensed as a UMC minister during Dr. Friday's tenure at Ashville. Patrick preached on several occasions and was instrumental in bringing various speakers from his mission work to Ashville.
A service of celebration and dedication was directed by Pastor Friday on September 22, 1996, after art glass windows and front entrance changes were made possible through gifts of the United Methodist Women and various members in honor or in memory of loved ones. Honored guests were Bishop Robert E. Fannin of the North Alabama Conference, former Superintendent of the Gadsden District Bert Goodwin, former pastors Rev. Lahnoe Dwight Euler and Rev. John Smith. Other special guests were the descendants of those who contributed toward the windows installed in 1963.
On March 18, 2001, a Service of Dedication and Mortgage Burning for the new fellowship hall addition was held. Those participating in the formal program were Dr. Belon Friday, Pastor; Dr. Gerald A. Champion, Superintendent Gadsden District North Alabama Conference; Larry Feagans, Building Committee Chairman; Donna Vines, Children's Coordinator; Edith Tucker, Music/Worship Director; Katie Howell, tribute to elderly members; Polly Creitz, tribute to future generations; Ann Friday, soloist; and other members and guests.
In June 2009, Dr. Friday once again retired from regular pastorship of Ashville Methodist, but still remains active in his home church of Highland United Methodist in Birmingham, Alabama. Rev. Bob Smith came to Ashville following the retirement of Dr. Friday. He and his wife, Becky, live in the church parsonage in Ashville, which marks the first time in many years Ashville Methodist has had a minister living in the community. Bro. Smith has been a vibrant force in our church with the delivery of many inspirational messages. His leadership will serve our church well for many years as we seek to grow and reach-out to those in the Ashville community.
The closing prayer stated... "We now, the people of this congregation, surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, grateful for our heritage, aware of the sacrifices of our mothers and fathers in the faith and confessing that apart from us their work cannot be made perfect, dedicate ourselves anew to the worship and service of almighty God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
Ashville United Methodist Church belongs to the Cheaha District within the United Methodist Church and North Alabama Conference. Ashville UMC is an UP and coming Church, playing a "significant part" in each members life, and in the community of Ashville, AL. Ashville UMC has many doors through which people share in serving God and others. Whether you visit in person or via the Internet, we hope you discover something here to encourage you in your spiritual journey. Together, we can Open Hearts, Open Minds and Open Doors.
Welcome to your new church. Most everyone is excited to meet you. Few will remember your first sermon, but many will tell you it was great. If your church is going to vote on you, then the percentage of “yes” votes is likely to be high. The reason is simple. The vast majority of church members want to follow a good leader, and they want their church to thrive. But be careful. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking every following day will be like the first.
You’re at an established church, which means there are a few things already in place. During the leadership honeymoon, you’ll begin to figure out exactly what you are inheriting. You will want to tweak something. Some of your church members may think you are moving too quickly. Some will put you on a pedestal. Most will go with the flow. The “new” label will drop from your title.
Considerate pastors understand what they are inheriting before people stop introducing them as the “new pastor.” Here a few examples of the things you inherit as a new pastor of an established church...
1.You inherit people. Don’t miss this. You lead people, not processes. There will be plenty of established processes to discover, but you should know the people first. And if you don’t love the people where they are now, then you don’t deserve to lead them now or later.
2.You inherit a culture. Some people will be new. Some will be longstanding members. Others will show up your first day and stick with you. Others will leave your first day. The culture of your church, however, is likely deeply rooted. Culture is created by people, but it’s also bigger than any one person. No individual—including the pastor—will change the culture quickly.
3.You inherit a staff. It’s important to understand the influence of the staff on people and culture. A newer, younger staff is often less influential than a long-tenured staff. And the culture of the staff may be quite different than the culture of the church.
4.You inherit a schedule. At one church I pastored, the second service began at 10:55am. I asked a few people, “Why the extra five minutes?” Every answer was different. No one agreed on why, but everyone agreed on what. The service started at 10:55am.
5.You inherit expectations. If your new church has 400 people, then you have 400 different sets of expectations about you. These expectations are an amalgamation of ideals, previous leaders at your church, personal preferences, and favorite pastors and church leaders in culture.
6.You inherit traditions. Some things stick for generations because they are good for generations. Other traditions need to go. Figuring out which traditions are good, bad, and ugly can take time. Don’t assume your gut reactions to church traditions are correct. Take the time to learn why they exist.
Your new church will welcome you. The first day, first week, first month, and perhaps the first year will go well. Use the time to understand better what you are inheriting.
Rev. Sammy Hodges, Pastor
First Lady Linda Hodges
"Life is an opportunity, benefit from it. Life is a beauty, admire it. Life is a dream, realize it. Life is a challenge, meet it. Life is a duty, complete it. Life is a game, play it. Life is a promise, fulfill it. Life is sorrow, overcome it. Life is a song, sing it. Life is a struggle, accept it. Life is a tragedy, confront it. Life is an adventure, dare it. Life is luck, make it. Life is life, fight for it!" ~ Mother Teresa
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you" Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV
“Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without all doubt, we may. Herein all the children of God may unite, notwithstanding these smaller differences”
― John Wesley
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" John 3:16 NIV
Hank Hough and Preacher Kingdom Dog Ministries
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight" Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV
United Methodist Children's Home
3140 Zelda Court Suite 100
Montgomery, Alabama 36106
Vice President of External Affairs
External Affairs Office
898 Arkadelphia Road
Birmingham, AL 35204
Every child deserves a loving home, and a chance to thrive. At the United Methodist Children’s Home, we are providing safe homes, caring support, life skills and college scholarships to neglected and abused youth from Alabama and Northwest Florida.
NOMADS (Nomads On a Mission Active in Divine Service) – provide volunteer labor for United Methodist organizations. NOMADS demonstrate God’s love through our work and by listening to the people with whom we work. We do new construction, remodeling, and repairs for churches, children’s homes, camps, colleges, outreach missions and disaster rebuilding. Team members do maintenance, cleaning, painting, electrical, drywall, sewing, flooring. NOMADS travel by RV. NOMADS are people who enjoy using their skills in service to others.
NOMADS Program Administrator
United Methodist NOMADS
P.O. Box 3508
Shawnee, KS 66203
Max and Anne Armstrong
211 Hallman Trail
Remlap, AL 35133
Max tel. 205-910-9685
Anne tel. 205-910-6249
Sunday School 9am
Sunday Church Service 10am
Choir Practice 7PM Wednesday
Bible Study 6PM Wednesday
Bible Study 10am Thursday
Ashville, AL, the original County Seat of St. Clair County, now shares the County Seat with Pell City. Ashville is conveniently located off I-59... 30 minutes from Birmingham and 20 minutes from Gadsden. Ashville has easy access to Neely Henry Lake for fishing and water sports.
Aging Outside the Box®
CBN.com -- The popular phrase “think outside the box” gave me the idea to “age outside the box,” living with power, style and vitality.
Satisfy us in our earliest youth with your loving-kindness, giving us constant joy to the end of our lives. (Psalms 90:14 – TLB)
Many people over 50, with their toes barely inside the new millennium, are discovering ageless living and endless energy. They are neither imprisoned in the past, nor refusing to embrace the present. People who are aging outside the box do not fear the future, but rather capture each moment as an opportunity to learn, to grow, to become increasingly all that they were designed to be.
Think of the people in your life who are aging with power. There is power in living through the Word of God, The Holy Bible. Rev. Rick Warren has taken me and millions of people deeper into the understanding of having power through the bible with his book The Purpose Driven Life. Hopefully, as we age, we enjoy spiritual maturity as we live in God’s abundance.
There is power in the blood of Jesus. My stuttering Paw Paw (Grandfather), who is now walking the street of gold, sang with gusto, “There’s Power In The Blood,” directing our church choir. He loved to sing, because he did not stutter while singing. As a ten-year-old girl, my Paw Paw put me in his church choir. I vividly recall him turning red in the face as he belted out his song, “THERE’S POWER IN THE BLOOD, POWER IN THE BLOOD!” That song and my Paw Paw implanted forever in my heart and head that the power of the blood of Jesus IS above all powers.
There is also power as many aspects of aging become positive. It is possible older people may have more financial flexibility to glorify God. With an empty nest, many are experiencing more self-time and time to enjoy one’s passions. It’s a good time to start a new career, enjoy a hobby, or live and travel to a geographical area of one’s choice.
What style of life has God planted inside your DNA? Many times, as we age, we flow into the life God has planned for us. My passions are God, family, Country, writing, speaking and traveling. I feel I have lived many years to get into my flow of life that feels good in my spirit. I am enthusiastic about my style of aging. Your style of life will certainly be personalized.
Life in Christ is unfading,
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not whither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. (Psalms 1:3 KJV)
(1) The power to live and develop.
(2) Power of continuing in force of effect.
(3) Physical or mental energy. (Webster’s Contemporary Dictionary)
And Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated. (Deuteronomy 34:7 KJV)
Wow! Moses enjoyed vitality in his later years.
The 76 million baby boomers are focusing on aging with vitality! In their quest for the fountain of youth, they are changing the way we age. They have learned that exercise is the golden egg of aging. It slows down aging by positively effecting your cardiovascular system, your immune system, your musculoskeletal system, and your emotional well-being. Exercise rekindles and re-sparks our fire for life.
Fighting aging is all about high self-esteem and self-confidence, feeling good about yourself, and living a happy balanced life.
By the end of this century, more people will be over 50 than under in this country. It’s important that we age outside the box, with power, style, and vitality.
Special Guest Speaker - Shane Harris - CMA C.H.R.O.M.E. Cross Riders #1048 Pinson, AL
Christian Motorcyclists Association
P.O. Box 9
4278 Hwy 71 South
Hatfield, AR 71945
What a wonderful time we have had together for the past few weeks. linda and! are very thankful for all the friendly gifts of food and fellowship. We have felt most welcome as a part of the congregation and a part of the community. We absolutely enjoyed our special song service and covered dish dinner this past Sunday. It was a great time of worship and fellowship and a magnificent showcase of the talents and gifts God has given to us at Ashville United Methodist. A good time was had by all.
As we are settling into the home, church, office and life in Ashville many thoughts come to mind. Thoughts of new friendships, new connections, new beginnings and new experiences. At times my thoughts have wandered to those connections that have been left behind; a home left, job left and friends left. I think of Leslie (Rev. Hand) and her transition to her new congregation. Those new relationships and connections she wlll make and those that she also has had to leave. Then my thoughts wander to each of you, those we have met and those we have yet to meet. Transitions can be difficult for all involved. My prayer for each of us is that we can accept each new opportunity and each challenge for what it is. A chance to make friendships that haven't existed, connections that we weren't sure we could make and beginnings that have the potential to develop into wonderful new experiences. Each of you have helped to make the beginnings of this transition process all the better.
So we must pray, for each and every person that is a part of Ashville UMC. We Pray for those that are to come and be a part of this wonderful body of believers. We pray for each step we take as the Holy Spirit leads. In "Lord Of The Rings" J.R.R. Tolkien writes, "it's a dangerous business ... going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to."
We have already made many steps. Steps toward getting to know one another, steps toward continuing the work that the Holy Spirit has already been doing in the lives of the people of Ashville Church and Community. Let us take those steps together. If we are sure to pray and take each step with faith, we never know where the Holy Spirit may sweep us off to. Scripture says it this way, "He guides me in proper paths for the sake of his good name. 4Even when I walk through the darkest valley," (Psalm 23:3b-4a Common English Bible.)
Sunday July 6th is Communion Sunday and I look forward to sharing our first communion together. As communion celebrates the connection we share with Christ} with one another and with those saints that are already present with Christ, we will start a new Sermon series entitled "Connect Four". I hope you will join me in this journey to connection each Sunday as we look at The Purpose, The Power, The People and The Puzzle.
Until Next We Meet.
Angie Cantrell, Director
The Pregnancy Care Center
St. Clair Co. Sav-A-Life, Inc.
6426 US Hwy. 11
Springville, AL 35146
The Pregnancy Care Center has been serving young ladies facing an unplanned pregnancy since 2002. We understand that finding out that you may be pregnant can be scary and you may have many questions and concerns about your future and your choices. We are here to help you make good choices and understand your options: Parenting, Adoption & Abortion. All of these choices have risks and have an effect on your future. Please come in and let us help you make this choice. We are here for you!