The Church at Ross Bridge

From Bhamwiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Church at Ross Bridge is an independent Methodist congregation located at 2101 Grand Avenue in the Ross Bridge community of Hoover. It was originally founded on the Southside in 1903 as 11th Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church, South and until December 10, 2022, it was part of the United Methodist Church or its predecessors. The pastor is Nathan Carden. It began meeting in the former Ross Bridge Welcome Center in 2011.

Location History

The congregation was organized as 11th Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church, South in 1903. Initially it met in Second Presbyterian Church, but soon erected a Romanesque revival limestone auditorium church in 1904 on the the northeast corner of 12th Street and 11th Avenue South. This was its home until c. 1992 when it moved to a new building at 2701 Sydney Drive off Lakeshore Parkway in the Oxmoor Valley and took the name Aldersgate United Methodist Church. The residential community planned at the time for that area did not materialize, therefore the congregation moved to Ross Bridge in 2011.

11th Avenue United Methodist Church

1903 rendering for 11th Avenue Methodist Church
11th Avenue UMC in June 2009

The 11th Avenue United Methodist Church (from 1903 to 1939, 11th Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church, South and from 1939 to 1968 11th Avenue Methodist Church, located on the northeast corner of 12th Street and 11th Avenue South was one of three churches built in the same neighborhood of Southside in the early 20th century. Along with 2nd Presbyterian Church and St Andrew's Episcopal Church, the three served the growing southwest area of Birmingham as the city's population was spreading out from the old downtown.

The church was organized by a hundred people on December 8, 1903 as 11th Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church, South. It met in a frame building before constructing a $25,000 gray stone building in 1904, while W. E. Morris was pastor. Like many United Methodist Churches, 11th Avenue UMC was built of heavy stone, "for the ages". A tall belltower on the corner and turret roof on the opposite side of the narthex were either never completed or later removed.

Changing demographics and the development of UAB meant that many congregants had moved away from the area, but, as late as the early 1970s, the church was committed to remaining in place and reaching out to its neighbors with day care and evening educational classes. The size of the congregation, however, dwindled to the point that, in the 1990s the church closed its doors and sold the building to HealthSouth. The congregation changed its name to Aldersgate United Methodist Church and moved to Oxmoor Valley. The Southside building was boarded up and remained vacant.

UAB acquired the property when it purchased HealthSouth's southside hospital in April 2006. Former Birmingham City Council member John Katopodis claimed that the building had been promised to him, but UAB took possession after a settlement was reached.

In December, 2006 UAB officials made plans to re-roof the deteriorating structure to help preserve its condition for possible future re-use. In 2008 the roof was found to still be caving in and the university had made no decision about future use of the property. In February 2009 UAB announced that it would demolish the building in order to construct a parking deck adjacent to its planned UAB Art Institute. Demolition took place in August 2009.

Aldersgate United Methodist Church

After meeting briefly in Shades Cahaba Elementary School the congregation relocated to 2701 Sydney Drive off Lakeshore Parkway in 1992. The planned school and community that the church was to serve were never erected and the congregation did not experience the expected growth. In 2008, Beverly United Methodist Church relocated from West End to the Aldersgate buidling and the two congregations merged in 2009.

The Church at Ross Bridge

In early 2011 the congregation purchased 5 acres off Ross Bridge Parkway and later that year began to hold services at the Ross Bridge Welcome Center under the new name The Church at Ross Bridge. The congregation leased and sought to sell the property off Lakeshore Parkway while growing with new members from Ross Bridge and neighboring communities. iN 2018 it purchased the former welcome center located at 2101 Grand Avenue. It now owns seven acers at 3200 Ross Bridge Parkway on which it plans to build a future campus.

In 2022, the congregation voted to disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church, The disaffiliation was approved by the North Alabama Conference on December 10, 2022. The church describes itself as an independent church in the Methodist tradition.



  • "Year Has Been Conspicuous For New Church Buildings" (July 1, 1903) The Birmingham News, p. 33
  • Casson, Barbara (October 8, 1971) "Coordination lack seems to hurt groups' efforts on Southside." Birmingham Post-Herald, via Birmingham Public Library Digital Collections
  • "Century of Worship: The Story of Service to God and Man, First United Methodist Church, Birmingham, Alabama" (1972) Birmingham, AL: First United Methodist Church
  • Coman, Victoria L. (December 22, 2006) "Forlorn Southside church gets assist". Birmingham News
  • DeButts, Jimmy (June 27, 2008) "UAB completes city property deal with HealthSouth." Birmingham Business Journal
  • DeButts, Jimmy (February 20, 2009) "UAB tearing down landmark church to build parking deck." Birmingham Business Journal
  • Anderson, Jon (March 29, 2013) "Former Aldersgate Methodist Church finds new home in Hoover's Ross Bridge community" The Birmingham News
  • Garrison, Greg (November 22, 2022) "United Methodist split update: Clearbranch votes to go; Trinity Homewood stays" The Birmingham News
  • Garrison, Greg (December 10, 2022) "United Methodist split: 198 churches leave North Alabama Conference" The Birmingham News

External links