According to a 2016 study by Pew Research Center, Alabama is tied with Mississippi for the most religious state in the country. By far the most popular religion in Alabama is Christianity, especially Evangelical Protestantism. Alabama is also home to a handful of other Christian denominations, including Catholics, traditional Protestants, and even Eastern Orthodox Christians.
It is not surprising that churches have played a big role in our history, our culture and our way of life. Here are 10 historic churches from each major denomination:
The first one documented The Church of Christ in Alabama congregation was founded in 1811 near the community of Antioch in Jackson County by settler William J. Price. Price had been baptized in Tennessee with his wife and a slave named Moses.
When Price died, he deeded property to the church where it currently stands. In 1864, the church building was burned down by federal troops and it was rebuilt in 1870.
The Flint River Primitive Baptist Church congregation formed 25 years after the end of the American Revolutionary War when 12 people met in 1808 at the home of James Deaton, becoming the first Baptist church in what would become more later the State of Alabama.
In 1809, a building was constructed near the community of Maysville, and an official deed was acquired in 1819, the same year Alabama was incorporated.
The Flint River Church joined the Flint River Baptist Association in the 1810s, to which it still belongs today.
Methodism was brought to Alabama by itinerant ministers like Lorenzo Dow and Matthew P. Sturdevant. These traveling preachers often gave their sermons outdoors, preaching in remote areas along the Alabama frontier.
Upon Alabama’s incorporation in 1819, administrators of the Methodist Episcopal Church began building the Huntsville First Methodist Church. It was completed in 1821 but was burned down by Federal troops during the Civil War. The current building was built in 1867 and extended in 1924 and 1956.
The Kimberly Church of God was founded by Martin Scott Haynes. Haynes was hired by the Methodist Church in the late 1800s to design buildings for Birmingham-Southern College. He was also hired to design St. Vincent’s Hospital. Haynes held a revival meeting in a tent at the intersection of Stouts Road and Highway 31 in 1902, where the church still meets today.
In 2014 Pastor Stan Cooke said AL.com that the church was the oldest continuous Pentecostal church in Alabama and the United States. The church building was damaged by a tornado in 2014.
Mount Cavalry Presbyterian Church was founded in 1806 by a group of men and women of mainly Scots-Irish descent and became a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in March 1823. The church burned down in 1925 but was shortly rebuilt after.
Mount Cavalry is now part of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), which she joined in 1981.
Named after the Anglo-Saxon monk and historian The Venerable Bede, St. Bede’s Anglican Church is the oldest Anglican church in Alabama. It was founded in 1977 by the Reverend Canon William Marvin. It is a parish in the Diocese of the Holy Cross, a non-geographic diocese of the Anglican Catholic Church (ACC).
The ACC was formed in 1977 in response to the Episcopal Church’s revision of the Book of Common Prayer and its decision to ordain women. Since then, other Anglican sects have split from the Episcopal Church.
According to the Holy Trinity Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Cathedral website, the first Greek male immigrant arrived in Birmingham in 1884. He was the first of many. Immigrants formed “The Lord Buron Society” in 1906 to raise funds to build a church and purchased a wooden building which became Holy Trinity.
After World War I Birmingham’s Greek community grew and an additional Orthodox church on the north side of the city, Holy Cross, was formed. The two merged in 1953.
The cathedral parish was established in Mobile in July 1703 during the French occupation of the colony. In 1711, a new parish church, Notre-Dame de Mobile, was built, but it was renamed under the Spanish occupation to its present name, Immaculate Conception.
The current cathedral was designed in 1833 by Claude Beroujon. Although construction began in 1834, the Panic of 1837 delayed its completion until 1850.
The Episcopal Church split from the Church of England during the American Revolutionary War. In the 1800s, the Episcopal Church was the church of many prominent Alabama planters and politicians.
Christ Church Cathedral in Mobile is the oldest Episcopal congregation in Alabama. It was established in 1823 and a building was constructed from 1838 to 1840. It was extensively damaged by a hurricane in 1906 but has been restored over the years. Its interior features Tiffany stained glass windows and a new bell tower was recently installed.
The first Lutheran congregation in Alabama was established by Theodore Heischman in Mobile in 1867 as the “Free German Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of Mobile”. Heischman saw the construction of a church building in August 1868, but when he left for California to raise funds, he was replaced by another minister. In 1897, the congregation voted to join the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
The congregation moved to a new location on Government Street in 1953 and changed its name to Grace Lutheran Church.
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