Red Ridge United Methodist Church
Monday, May 20, 2013
Sharing the Good News to Win Souls for Christ.
A Brief Red Ridge United Methodist Church History
By: Ruth Lockett, October 2002
Approximately three years ago efforts were being made to publish an historical book about Tallapoosa County. So, I (Ruth Lockett) began to gather data about Red Ridge Church. From this data I wrote a brief history within the publisher's guidelines and it was included in "The Heritage of Tallapoosa County" which was published in 2000.
Stories about Red Ridge date back to the Civil War and before (see marker in narthex). Early historians indicated that the first church was a log structure located west of the Dadeville-Tassassee Highway (now identified as Highway 49). The name of that church was Salem and was on a site near the cemetery located just inside the Highway 34 gate of Stillwaters. This building burned.
The second structure, a wooded and weather board structure, was constructed on a site east of the Dadeville-Tallassee Highway in the early 1850's near the present structure. This was in the Beat 9 voting precinct, which was called Red Ridge, thus the name of the community and the church.
In 1892 the Agricola church was built and some people left Red Ridge and went to the new church. However, Red Ridge survived this split and remained a vital part of the community, at times few in number, but strong in faith.
Red Ridge Methodist Church, in 1909, was not a part of the Conference for a short while; however, due to appeals by Rev. J. A. Smith and others, the church was accepted back into the North Alabama Conference.
The present location of the sanctuary was partly constructed around 1925 including hand hewn sills from the old church. Picture in your mind - the plain rectangular wooden building painted white on the outside, no porch but two steps up to the two front doors opening directly into the sanctuary. Two plain windows behind the altar and along each side three plain windows. Plain wide plank homemade wooden pews, a potbelly wood burning stove in the middle of the floor, brackets for kerosene lamps along the walls and an old time pump organ in the corner for music.
In the late 1930's and early 1940's Red Ridge was on a charge with Flint Hill, Poplar Springs, Agricola and Macedonia. (I cannot locate Macedonia, but I think it was Buttston.) During this time, worship services were held once each month, sometimes on Sunday afternoon, but Sunday School was every Sunday. About this time electricity came to the area and two drop-cord lights provided an abundance of light. The church also acquired an up-right piano about this time.
Agricola Church was officially disbanded about 1949-1950. When this happened the Conference gave Red Ridge anything usable from the church since is was falling down. The pews, pulpit and spindles in our altar rail came from Agricola. As you can see, many changes have taken place - electricity, carpet, pew pads, central heat and air, stained glass windows, indoor bathroom, brick work on the outside and the steeple. It was erected in 1987 and dedicated on May 17th of that year. A new sound system, additional parking, a new piano and organ have been added as well. Also, a sanctuary addition has been completed in the last few years.
Worship services have changed from one Sunday per month to two Sundays to every Sunday. Since 1974 when we were paired with Camp Hill our worship service has been at 9:30 a.m. and it was between 1983-1985 when weekly worship services began.
Membership has fluctuated through the years from 70+ in 1937, down to 35-40 in the 1950's and 1960's, with attendance at about 12-15 per Sunday. Currently membership is about 220 and attendance is approximately 135 each Sunday.
I was writing this history October 13, 2002 after the Board meeting at which we approved a budget for 2003 of over $100,000.00. In my folder of research data on Red Ridge United Methodist Church I found a copy of the 1952-1953 budget (50 years old). The total was $691.80. Yes, $691.80 for the entire year. Times have changed. Thanks to all of those who have worked so hard through the years to keep Red Ridge United Methodist Church a vital part of this area.