Church Street United Methodist Church

Saturday, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Come “Celebrate the Journey” with Church Street United Methodist Church as the congregation celebrates its longevity.

Selma’s oldest Christian denomination opens its doors for tours March 19 as the 46th Historic Selma Tour of Home’s featured church.

The present structure, built in 1901, is the third sanctuary constructed on an acre of land set aside for Methodists by the Selma Land Company in 1817. The soaring Romanesque features inspire both congregants and visitors alike, and the bell tower rises as one of four church towers that can be seen by travelers as they cross the Pettus Bridge into downtown.

Inside, visitors can view impressive stained-glass windows, including the rose window in the rear of the sanctuary. The window memorializes early Methodist founders.

One of the newest windows depicts Leonardo DaVinci’s 1498 masterpiece, “The Last Supper,” and the Ascension Window, which portrays Jesus among angels as he ascended into Heaven, honors the memory of an Alabama Supreme Court justice.
Also of interest is a marble baptismal font presented by members of Temple Mishkan Israel in 1896. The Jewish congregation held services at Church Street while their building underwent repair.

The tour includes a photographic display of the three church buildings, the first of which was a wood-frame structure that opened in 1835. That church was torn down in 1851 and replaced by a two-story brick building designed by Sturdivant Hall architect Thomas Helm Lee. But in March 1899, a severe storm sent the steeple crashing point down into the sanctuary during choir rehearsal, and the building had to be razed.

Among the biggest events in the history of Church Street was the funeral of U.S. Senator John Tyler Morgan. A longtime member of the church, Morgan died in 1907 shortly after taking the oath of office for his sixth term. The largest crowd ever to gather at the church came that day, including U.S. Vice President Charles Fairbanks. Dignitaries filled the pews and lined the streets as a grand procession of military units, government carriages, Confederate veterans and the hearse pulled by 12 white horses made their way to Old Live Oak Cemetery.