IUMC History

Our church was organized in 1887 with 12 members. Soon afterward, the original building was constructed at 2009 Second Avenue, South on property donated by Edwin Montgomery.  At the time we were a charge on a circuit in the Bessemer District.  In 1917 we were placed in the Birmingham District, and in 1939 we became a full time station church, and completed an addition to the building that included four classrooms upstairs and a basement, which provided a children’s department, a kitchen and a dining area.

In 1951 our sanctuary was redecorated and a new lighting system installed.  In the mid-1950’s we recognized the need for new facilities and began a search for suitable property.  In May, 1956 we purchased the property we now occupy, which included a large two-story house on the corner of Deering and 20th Street that became our parsonage.

Shortly, thereafter, a building committee was selected to consider a new church building and how to finance the construction.  We chose Edgar Batson as our architect and invited bids on the construction of our first unit, consisting of the sanctuary, pastors’ study, eight classrooms and restrooms.  Brice Building Company was the successful bidder at approximately $120,000.  We financed the construction by the sale of $100,000 in church bonds.  We sold these bonds to church members and to members of the community at large in less than 10 days.  The bond maturities were spread over 10 years.  We were able to pay them all off in less than five years.

On July 15, 1962, we moved into our new home, which was truly a red-letter day in our history.  I wish I could describe to you the mixed feelings of joy and humility of our people that day but words fail me.  Meanwhile, we sold our old building to a Pentecostal group for $10,000.

In 1963 we built a new parsonage on our property, which is now our youth center.  In 1976 we built the second unit of our master plan, which included our fellowship hall, kitchen and classroom upstairs and the basement with six classrooms, restrooms and storage areas.  This addition was financed by church bond sales, which we paid off in very short order.  In 1988 we purchased the present parsonage and converted the old parsonage into our youth center.

Several United Methodist churches in our area closed in recent years and some of their members joined this congregation.  These churches have included 67th Street, West Woodlawn, Acipco, Ruffner, Overton, Boyles and Grace.  This has proved to be a joyous blending and adds much to our worship and our service outreach.

If I may be permitted a personal word, it has been my privilege to witness the growth and development of our church for the last 58 years. Over the years, I have witnessed acts of sacrifice, dedication and devotion that have been an unending inspiration to me.

No one knows what the next 120 years will bring, but I believe that here in this small corner of God’s kingdom the people of Irondale United Methodist Church will still echo the  words of the prophet Micah, “What does the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, love mercy, and to walk humbly with the Lord your God.”

Kelly Thomas, Jr.
December 2, 2007