First United Methodist Church of Bessemer

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First United Methodist Church of Bessemer in February 2010

The First United Methodist Church of Bessemer was a United Methodist church founded in 1887 and dissolved in 2010. It was located at Arlington Avenue and 19th Street North in downtown Bessemer.

The church celebrated the completion of a new $60,000 auditorium building on May 3, 1914. Pastor George Stoves turned the pulpit over to L. C. Branscomb for the honor of preaching the first sermon in the new building. That building burned to the ground on November 24, 1928 and was rebuilt the following year. A pipe organ was added in 1930. An education wing, designed by R. H. Hunt and Company of Chattanooga, Tennessee, was designed to blend with the original structure.

During the 1950s the church averaged attendance of more than 1,000 per week and became known for its annual performances of George Frideric Handel's "Messiah" oratorio. The church also hosted many graduation ceremonies for Bessemer High School.

Dwindling membership forced the church to close. Gordon McKinney led its final service on March 7, 2010.


  • "Methods of Bessemer Open Their New 60,000 House of Worship" (May 3, 1914) The Birmingham News, p. 14
  • Garrison, Greg (February 27, 2010) "123-year-old First United Methodist Church of Bessemer will close." The Birmingham News

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