When the first settlers came to this area, they found white rock protruding from the ground and named their city Alabaster after the white rock. Later, the rock thought to be alabaster was found to be limestone, but the city continued to be called Alabaster.
For more than one hundred years, Methodists in Alabaster have faithfully proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ in word and deed. First United Methodist Church in Alabaster is believed to be one of the oldest churches in this area. Its exact date of origin is unknown. The oldest document located in church files is a letter, dated December 22, 1890, transferring the membership of Mrs. M. M. Smith from a church in North Georgia.
The church originally stood near the Alabaster lime quarry behind City Hall and was called Bethlehem Methodist Church. It relocated to Siluria in 1903 and a new building was constructed in the side of a hill about 300 yards south of the intersection of Montevallo Road and 11th Avenue South. The Siluria Methodist Church was on the circuit with Camp Branch, Ebenezer, and Saginaw. During those early years the Baptists of our community used the Methodist Church facilities until they were able to construct their own.
The church relocated in 1950 to its present site on Highway 119 and became known as Central United Methodist Church. In the early 60′s the educational building was added, followed by a new 500 seat sanctuary built in 1983. By this time the name of the church had been changed to First United Methodist Church. A Service of Consecration was held on December 23, 1983.
On July 23, 1996, a fire destroyed the old sanctuary and education building. “Rebuilding and Rebirth” became the theme as the people enthusiastically launched plans for new and expanded facilities. August 2, 1998, was a joyful day as we consecrated our new Fellowship Hall and Education Building. We are Resurrection People. Out of the fire came a new vision for a new day, new facilities and new opportunities for ministry in our rapidly growing community.
The congregation continued to grow with the community, pushing the limits of parking as well as ministry facilities. Plans were drawn up for a long-term building program on the current site, with the first phase including a Sunday School wing and new office space. Concerns over costs and long-term needs halted the project however.
In the summer of 2009, the congregation voted to purchase the adjacent shopping center (though it was not for sale), which held an empty Winn-Dixie. The owner, a resident of California, finally relented and sold the property to the congregation. The largest capital campaign in the church's history followed, with over 1.4 million dollars being pledged towards the phase of renovation.
On April 3, 2011, the congregation began 8:30 worship by walking from the sanctuary into the newly completed auditorium of Restore. Over the next several months, Restore became a hub for disaster relief, the headquarters of the local food bank, and a thriving place of worship. The Donald Nickerson Lathem greenway was completed in the summer of 2011, connecting the two facilities.
The Methodist in Alabaster have a tremendous legacy of mission, ministry, and perseverance, and we stand poised to respond with faithfulness to God's calling for many generations to come.