Friendship United Methodist Church
Friendship United Methodist Church is a small Methodist congregation located on a 7-acre site on Church Road in Gardendale. The church was founded in 1839 and has an adjoining cemetery with graves dating back to 1859. The church currently meets in a small brick-clad structure. The current pastor is George Hollis.
In September 2008 Hollis announced that because of declining membership that Friendship would merge its congregation with Morris United Methodist Church, which he also pastored. The combined congregation had its first joint service at Morris on September 14. Hollis said that both churches would sell their existing properties and jointly seek a new home in the area. They renamed the church Friendship Community Church.
The Friendship United Methodist Church Cemetery is a 2-acre churchyard located adjacent to the Friendship United Methodist Church on Church Road in Gardendale. The cemetery contains approximately 470 graves, the oldest of which is the resting place of Tabatha Belcher, wife of Civil War veteran Arthur Belcher.
After the merger of Friendship with Morris United Methodist the combined churches made plans to sell the Friendship property to another church. Members of the Gardendale Historical Society fear that the property could fall into the hands of developers who could threaten the preservation of the historic churchyard. The Society is working with the Alabama Cemetery Preservation Alliiance to have the site added to the Alabama Historic Cemetery Register, a status that would give preservation advocates additional assurances.
- Friendship UMC Cemetery at idreamof.com
- Patterson, Melanie (September 12, 2008) "Historic church to close doors." North Jefferson News
- Garrison, Greg (September 14, 2008) "Morris, Gardendale Methodists to join arms as memberships decline." Birmingham News