Local Church History
 
When Escambia County, Alabama was formed from Baldwin and Conecuh counties in 1868, the county seat was in Pollard because it was the largest and most prosperous town. The Brewton area was growing and became part of the Pollard Methodist circuit from  1873-1882. The Pollard minister would come to Brewton and hold services in a vacant store (where Tru Value Hardware is today, but in a different building). Thus, we started as a “storefront” church!
 
In 1879 a small wooden church was built (near NDI’s Paris Market). From 1880-1883, Reverend Robert Paine Baker was the minister. He lived in Pollard because the parsonage was there. Reverend Baker aided yellow fever patients in 1883 and became a victim himself. He is buried at Pilgrim’s Rest Cemetery in Alco, where many other yellow fever victims are also buried.

In December of 1883, Reverend B. C. Glen became the first resident minister. A parsonage was purchased on Carmack Street (the site behind The Hourglass and Hope Place).

A new parsonage was built behind the church in 1887. By May 1891, the church had 375 members and plans were made to build a new brick church. Many Brewton lumbermen had become wealthy and quite a few were generous Methodists. (No income tax was paid until 1914.) The church was of gothic architecture with stained glass windows, oak pews, a fine organ and inside columns – which now grace a home on the corner of Granberry Street and Evergreen Avenue. Two of the beautiful windows are in the archives room at the current church. The Methodist Annual Conference was held in this church because of its size and beauty.

In 1908, at the urging of the ladies, the exterior of the church was cemented and scored to make it appear to be made of stone blocks.

By 1947, floods, noise, and the lack of parking for automobiles caused members to make plans for a new building. The town had opened residential areas beside the public library so the Methodists bought property on the corner of Belleville Avenue and Underwood Streets – the current location.

From 1947-1950, services were held in the elementary school building – now the location of the Brewton City Board of Education.

January 29, 1950 was the date of the first service in the new church. A parsonage was located next to the church. Pews, carpet, altar rails, and the choir loft were all added in 1951. The fellowship hall was added in 1953.

On December 2, 1961 fire destroyed part of the sanctuary. It was quickly rebuilt and the Jesus window was replaced.

Then, in 1964, the Sunday School wing and carport were finished. Before the congregation could use the new rooms, Jefferson Davis Junior College held classes there while their buildings were being completed.

Brewton’s First United Methodist Church has a long history of community service. The Boy Scouts of America, Habitat for Humanity, the Christian Community Benevolent Fund have all held their meetings in our church and received support from the church as well as others in the community. The YMCA met in our church from 1986-1989 while their building was being finished. Aerobics and weight lifting were held in the fellowship hall. Currently, the Community Food Pantry uses our building. It is staffed by several churches in our town.

We can be proud of our church’s place in Brewton!

Methodist History
 
The United Methodist Church is the expression and hope of a rich tradition spreading the gospel to every corner of human society. The Methodist movement, led by John and Charles Wesley, began in England after each of the brothers had transforming religious experiences that moved them to work for the renewal and revival of the Church of England. They took their messages our of formal worship settings, directly to the people in the fields and streets. They formed small groups—many led by laypeople, both men and women—to nurture people in the Christian faith. Their message of personal experience of God’s love nurtured in faithful community through study, worship, and service found willing audiences among a broad range of people, from elite to the poorest of people.

 

In the mid-1700s, the Methodist movement spread to the New World. Leadership included laymen and laywomen, both European Americans and African Americans. John Wesley sent lay preachers, including Francis Asbury, to America to strengthen work of the movement. Wesley later sent Thomas Coke, an Anglican priest whom Wesley had ordained a superintendent (later called “bishop”), to oversee the American Movement.

In 1784, at the famous “Christmas Conference” in Baltimore, Coke ordained Ashbury a superintendent and several others as deacons and presbyters. The Methodist Episcopal Church in America was born with an emphasis on strong discipline/ ordained and lay preachers who traveled from town to town (circuit riders) to preach, teach, and spread the gospel through revivals and camp meetings; and a system of regular conferences to conduct the business of the church.

Two other churches were being formed in America about the same time as the Methodist Episcopal church. Philip William Otterbein, a German Reformed pastor, and Martin Boehm, a Mennonite, preached about spreading the gospel (evangelism) and personal experience of the Holy Spirit. Their followers organized the church of the United Brethren in Christ in 1800. Also at the turn of the nineteenth century, Jacob Albright, a Lutheran farmer who had ties to both the United Brethren and Methodist movements, took his message of evangelism and the ministry of all people to German-speaking settlements in Pennsylvania. The Evangelical Association was formed by his followers. These two churches merged in 1946 to form the Evangelical United Brethren.

In 1939, three Methodist bodies (Methodist Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal South, and Methodist Protestant churches) merged to form The Methodist church. The United Methodist church is the result of the 1968 union of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren.