Our HISTORY



HISTORY

In 1872, John G. Kullman brought a colony of five German families and one bachelor to Alabama and they settled on land that is now a part of the City of Cullman. The Cullman Mission was organized by the Rev. Sam P. West in 1881 . One of the leading laymen of that congregation was Mr. George W. Hanlin, who in 1879 had organized a Sunday school class for Methodists in Cullman.

Two years later, under the leadership of Rev. R. S. Hullett, the congregation erected their first church building on 1st Avenue West, between 1st and 2nd Streets. The church grew in faith and numbers and in its influence upon the community. This handful of early Methodists gave sacrificially of their time, talent and resources as faith commitments to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Their first church building was destroyed by the fire of 1893, which also destroyed the greater part of the northwestern section of the town. Shortly thereafter, the congregation led by their pastor, Dr. D. S. McDonald, made plans for erecting a new building on the present site. This frame building stood until 1923 when, under the leadership of the Rev. S. O. Kimbrough, it was torn down and used in constructing a tabernacle where the congregation worshiped while the present stone church building was completed.

This new beautiful building cost nearly $100,000 and a large indebtedness was incurred. This endeavor was an act of faith on the part of the congregation. Every person who has worshiped in the sanctuary or been nurtured in the church school has witnessed the devotion of our spiritual ancestors who built according to God’s Vision for God’s Church.

The Great Depression of 1929 hit before they had completed paying off the indebtedness on the beautiful rock structure they had built. They struggled for over ten years and made little progress. Faithful members began to make commitments to pay off the the remaining debt. Mr. Joe Sapp was sent to Louisville to negotiate a settlement with the officers of the Board of Church Extension. They wanted to know what they would have to pay in order to clear their church of this burden.

An agreement was reached on June 3, 1942 but it had to be paid off within a month. On Sunday, June 28, Rev. S. O. Kimbrough, returned to preach and that afternoon the burning of the mortgage took place. This was a day of both rejoicing and thanksgiving. People had given sacrificially and had freed their church of indebtedness.

Perhaps the most significant gift was made by a woman on her death bed who heard that the Methodists were planning to pay off the debt on their building and she wanted to take part. Although she had very little to give, she pulled a crumpled dollar bill from under her pillow and sent it by the postman, Mr. B. F. Hembree, to make her contribution.

Throughout the next three decades, the congregation continued to trust in God’s work and will for Cullman First as they purchased more property to house their growing ministries and community outreach.  Our spiritual forefathers and mothers responded to God’s vision and provided a witness for the current congregation in learning how to listen and discern the voice of God.

Our most recent expansion in 2001 was a response to what we believe is God’s call on Cullman First as we seek to reach out to this community and share the love of Jesus Christ in the 21st century.  We believe that God has great plans for God’s people.  Our mission statement, “Followers of Jesus challenged and equipped to reach people and change lives. (It starts with me.)” is challenging us not only to provide an environment that others may come to know the love of God, but to take that love out into the community to transform the world.



METHODISM

The people of The United Methodist Church are part of the second largest Protestant denomination in the United States. Our worldwide connection includes approximately 12.8 million members.

The United Methodist Church was formed when the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church merged in 1968. But we trace our heritage back to the movement begun in 1729 in England by John and Charles Wesley. Find out more about our history.

Below, you will find a brief list of some of the distinctive characteristics of our denomination. The United Methodist Church is:

Global: Today we speak many languages and live in many countries—with different cultures, ethnic traditions, national histories and understandings of Christian faith and practice.

Connectional: Every United Methodist congregation is interconnected throughout the denomination via a unique, interlocking chain of conferences. The United Methodist Church practices representative democracy in its governance. Conferences elect delegates who are authorized to act and vote. Learn more about our structure.

Inclusive: All persons are welcome to attend our churches and receive Holy Communion, and are eligible to be baptized and become members.

Grounded in Scripture: United Methodist trust free inquiry in matters of Christian doctrine. Our faith is guided by Scripture, tradition, experience and reason. Of paramount importance, however, is Scripture as the witness of God’s creating, redeeming and sustaining relationship with God’s people. Learn more about our basic beliefs.

Wesleyan: The United Methodist Church has a Wesleyan heritage, and as such, places an emphasis on mind and heart (knowledge and vital piety) and putting faith and love into practice (life). Find out more about our Wesleyan heritage.

Concerned about social justice: For more than 200 years, The United Methodist Church and its predecessor bodies have expressed concern for God’s children everywhere — the poor, the orphaned, the aging, the sick, the oppressed and the imprisoned. Learn more about our mission and ministry.

Mission-oriented: Our mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. In uncomplicated terms, this means we strive to nurture followers of Christ who then reach out and teach others about the love of Jesus. Find out about our mission around the world.

Ecumenical: United Methodists consider dialogue and missional cooperation between United Methodists and other Christians as a valid witness to the unity of the body of Christ.
Learn about our ecumenical and interreligious relationships.