Who We Are

The scriptures proclaim that “in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself” (2 Cor 5:19), which means that one of the most urgent aspects of God’s mission, the thing that compelled God to send his own Son to suffer and die for us, is to restore his relationship with us—to reconnect with us. Therefore, one of the most important things we can do as a church is to ensure that in our ministries we are seeking to participate in what God is already up to in the world.

Our Mission

The mission of Avondale is to love and serve God and others through worship, learning, fellowship, and outreach.

Our Vision

We envision a community of faith in which people are invited to connect deeply and intentionally with God, with each other, and with their neighbors.

 

Even those of us who have been in church all of our lives will occasionally feel disconnected. This can actually be a good thing. It’s a kind of holy discontent when we realize that there could be more to our relationship with God. After all, this relationship is what we were made for and it’s what God longs for. The Bible says that our searching for a connection with God is the result of God’s insatiable desire to connect with us. John Ed Mathison captured that hunger when he said, “Psychologists tell us that most people in America are unsatisfied...Something deep within us is still crying out for the real deal...Nothing will feel right until we get it” (Treasures of the Transformed Life, p. 8).

St. Augustine once prayed, “O Lord, thou hast put salt on our tongues that we may be thirsty for Thee.” Our prayer as a congregation and for our community, in the spirit of Augustine, is that God will kindle within us a great hunger and thirst for deeper and stronger connections with one another and with the Lord through the vital practices of Christian discipleship.

Our History

Avondale United Methodist Church was founded as Avondale Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in 1887 out of an interdenominational community Sunday school group.

The Reverend W. T. Andrews, fresh out of seminary, organized the church with 18 members and held services regularly in a community store. The congregation completed its first building in 1888 at a location on 5th Avenue across from the present site of the Avondale Park ball fields.

By 1917, the growing congregation, now 250 strong, was outgrowing its small wooden building. The congregation purchased new land that was, according to minutes of the church meeting, “really wonderful in its aptness and its beauty—at the center of the population to be served.” A new education building and sanctuary were completed in 1931, and by the congregation’s semicentennial in 1937, the church had grown to 950 members.

In the late twentieth century, with the economic and racial landscape of Birmingham undergoing seismic shifts, the South Avondale community experienced many changes that challenged the once growing congregation. Church leaders began to reassess the mission and ministries of the church in light of its changing environment, but they remained committed to the congregation’s original vision to be at the center of the community.

New opportunities for connecting with the neighborhood, such as the Parents’ Day Out preschool, a tutoring partnership with the local school, food ministries that serve the area’s underprivileged residents, and new learning opportunities for those new to the church have given new expression to the core vision of the congregation.

Sketch of the Sanctuary and Education Building, completed in 1931

Sketch of the Sanctuary and Education Building, completed in 1931

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Urban blight in the avondale area

The urban communities of Birmingham were slow to adapt to the social and economic changes of the late 20th century. Many businesses in Avondale closed and residents moved to the suburbs.

Avondale UMC today

Avondale UMC remains a vital part of the South Avondale neighborhood.