Central UMC Celebrates 150 Years in Ministry


On Sunday, September 17, Central UMC will culminate its year-long 150th anniversary celebration with praise and worship, fellowship and reflection! The church is gearing up for an exciting day together!

Nationally renowned composer, Dr. Sharon J. Willis, founder of Americolor Opera Alliance will present, along with Central UMC: "A Central History Lesson -- Tribute to the African American Church", premiere theatrical production. This play was written by Dr. Willis especially for this historic occasion.

All are invited to the celebration at 10 am in Central’s Sanctuary for this fascinating glimpse into our rich history. At noon, the church will embark on an exhibit which shares Central’s stories, preserves its past, and connects people in its history. (Food stations will be set up at various locations throughout the exhibit.)

"We owe it to future generations to be good stewards of the past," wrote Center UMC leaders.

Central Church was founded in 1866 as Clark Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church. The church was named for Bishop Davis W. Clark, who became bishop in 1864 and was the first President of the Freedmen’s Aid Society. The first location of the church was on Frasier Street in the Summerhill Section of Atlanta. In 1876 Clark Chapel moved to a new facility on Hunter and Central Avenue. The Clark Chapel congregation witnessed the inauguration of Clark University and Gammon Theological Seminary, and feels great honor in having played a part in the organization of these notable institutions when classes for the schools assembled in the basement of the old church.

Central helped mold the civic and religious character of Atlanta as the city evolved into the Southeast leader educationally, industrially, as well as served as a hub for civil rights activism. Some of the most progressive and aggressive movements for racial equality were engendered by and through Central Church. Central has a storied history and continues its journey of religious, civic, moral, and educational leadership.