Epworth U. M. C. , Phenix City, AL
In 1886 William “Shoestring” White, a member of The Methodist Society of Columbus, Georgia met with a group in Girard, Alabama and saw the need for a place of worship for them. He mortgaged his own home in Columbus and built them a one room church. This first church started as a mission with about twenty-five members, mostly women and children. The first service in that church was on December 15, 1886.
In 1943 Rev. R. K. Jones became pastor of the charge. Under his leadership, a new modern building was built at 1221 Seale Road. It wasn’t until 1952 that Epworth received its first full-time pastor with the appointment of Rev. George Gilbert.
In the early 1960's the path of the new 280/431 Bypass required a move for the congregation. Not to be deterred, the members held services in a barn and an elementary school building until land could be purchased and a new building could be constructed. For 30 years the church was located in Asbury Park.
In 1988 under the leadership of Dr. Larry Bryars, Epworth members voted to change locations once again. Land was purchased at the current location on Highway 280 and soon construction was begun. The final service in Asbury Park was on December 2, 1990. Since the new church wasn’t yet completed, services were held in a temporary location - not a barn this time but in the old Prichetts’ fish camp. The first service in the new building was December 1, 1991 , nearly one year after leaving the Asbury Park location.
In August of 1995 the church was damaged by fire. This time the temporary move was to the Central Activities Center. Members voted unanimously to rebuild the current structure and to begin the second phase of the building project, a new two story educational building. Members moved back into the fully restored building in February 1996 and the educational building was completed later that year.
Today, a house that was included in the purchase of property adjacent to the church has become the Youth House of Epworth.
When Dr. Bryars and his family were moved in 1997, Rev. Michael McKnight became the pastor. He remained here for nine years.
In 2006 Rev. Michael Siglar was appointed pastor. In October 2007 a contemporary worship service was begun with 134 attending the first service.
New musical equipment was purchased and a new sound system was installed, funded by special donations and memorials. This service continues to grow under the leadership of Scott Yeilding, pianist at Epworth since the summer of 1992.
In addition to Scott we are blessed to be served by a superlative staff. The staff is anchored by Judy Smith who has served as secretary for over 40 years. Keith Badowski joined the staff in 2004 as an assistant to the pastor and as director of the Stephen Ministry program. Others on staff include Kevin Sharpe, music director, Michael Owens, pianist, Mark Waldrop assisted by his wife Carla, youth director, Letha Parker, director of children’s ministries, Mary Pittman, financial secretary, Rusty and Dana Townsend, custodial staff, and nursery workers Jessica Henderson, Leslie Merritt, Wendee Merrit, Betty Peterson, Brandi Atanasoff and Terry Watson.
In June 2008 we welcomed Rev. Grant Parker, wife Letha, daughter Rachel and sons Timothy and Jesse to our church family.
In 2011 a Capital Funds Campaign was launched to raise money for a Family Life Center. This will add much needed room for activities for everyone from children to seniors’ groups.
With God’s help, we will continue to grow numerically and spiritually.
3763 Highway 431 North, Phenix City, AL 36867
P.O. Box 58, Phenix City, AL 36867-0058
Phone: (334) 298-3186