CUMC celebrates 175 years

Published 3:40 pm Monday, November 19, 2018


COLUMBIANA – Columbiana United Methodist Church celebrated its 175th anniversary as an organized church on Nov. 11. The Rev. Billy “Buster” Timmons presided over the celebration starting with the worship service and ending in a festive covered dish lunch for all in attendance.

The choir was directed by Norris Broome in a medley of songs, including “Back to the Church in the Wildwood” and “Upon this Rock,” with soloists Jeff Cates and Debby Brunson Powers.

Jim Strickland noted how well the choir sounded, especially in the last song, “Upon This Rock,” and said, “It was out of the box…caught me off guard.”

The instrumentalists were Brenda Cole Seale on piano and shakers, Karen Morris Jones on organ, Ben Corbitt on guitar and Jonathan Seale on congas. The choir members in attendance were Lynda Bounds, Charles Corbitt, Judy and George Dudley, Nena Fowler, Mary Louise Jones, Bob O’Connor, Debby Powers, Clendon and Pamela Raines, Judy Roberts, Ty Sockwell, Barbara Thomas, Debbie Timmons, Pam Williams and Jeff Cates.

The pastor invited the Rev. Dr. Debra Wallace-Padgett to give the sermon. Church members and visitors heard an inspiring message from Bishop Wallace-Padgett on “Power in the Movement.”

Wallace-Padgett was elected the bishop of the United Methodist Church, North Alabama Conference, at the 2012 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference.

The planning committee for the celebration consisted of Kathy Corbitt, Lisa Davis, Sue Eddins, Janice Gordon, Carolyn Mundy, Merrie Lynne Pearson, Pamela Raines and Buster Timmons.

They planned cleaned, organized and updated portions of the church. They set up a historical display of pictures showing the original church and additions that have been made since it was moved to its present location on North Main Street across from the Shelby County Courthouse.

The first written records of the present-day Columbiana United Methodist Church were dated Nov. 14, 1843. The first building was erected in 1856. It moved to the present site and was remodeled in 1950.

After the worship service and leading up to lunch, members of the congregation shared their memories and recollections of events that have happened over the past 25 years and in some cases longer.

A former youth and member of KIMCO, Jonathan Seale, was reminiscing in front of the photo display with his dad, Tom Seale, about some of the things the youth did during the construction of the multi-purpose addition in 2002. He recalled that all the youth had signed their names on the bricks and the concrete floor prior to completion of the addition.

A discussion ensued as to who was the oldest member of CUMC. Retired Judge Oliver Head was in attendance and owns the distinction of being one of the oldest members of the church. His parents relocated to Columbiana in 1932 when he was 2 years old. He remembers joining the church in 1937 when he was 7 years old.

Joan Nichols Alexander shared that her parents joined the church in 1937 when she was a baby.

Judy Carter Roberts and her sister, Nena Carter Fowler, shared stories of how their mother, Jane Fowler Carter, made them join the choir. Judy first joined when she was 12 years old back in 1954 and holds the distinction of being in the choir the longest. She said there were only 10 members. She began singing soprano, but now sings tenor.

Their family has a long history of service in the CUMC. Their grandfather, Luther Fowler, affectionately known as “Pop Pop,” was the founder of the Sunday school class that still carries his name today.

The Rev. Buster Timmons said the anniversary was important “because of where we are going – what’s next.”

“That’s exciting to me,” he said.