BUMC members enjoy service at historic Clay Hill

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, May 24, 2016


Members of Brundidge United Methodist Church travelled to Clay Hill Church on Sunday for services and a dinner on the grounds. Organizers said worshipping in the historic church helps members recall their heritage and their history. Above, The Hendersons led the music at the services.

Brundidge United Methodist Church was built on the Akron Plan with classrooms arranged across the back walls of the church on both the main floor and balcony levels with easy access to the central auditorium space. The historic church has stained glass windows, an organ and it’s climate controlled.

But on Heritage Sunday, the congregation held services at Clay Hill Church, a simple church with four walls, a plank floor and windows that could be raised  – and were raised – to let the breeze come through.

“Every now and then, it’s good to get away from the church comforts and worship like our grandparents did – in an old country church,” said Margaret Ross, chair of the BUMC worship committee. “Clay Hill Church is part of our church. We didn’t realize or know that for a long time. When the Methodist Conference closed Clay Hill, it was just by chance that we found out that Clay Hill Church had been deeded to BUMC. We didn’t know what to do with it, but it was part of our heritage and the heritage of the Methodist Conference. We wanted to preserve it.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Ross said Old Christmas services are held annually on Old Christmas Day, Jan. 6, and other services have been held there over the years.

“We’ve had church services and dinner on the ground, and we had a couple that renewed their vows here at Clay Hill,” she said. “It’s important to keep the traditions of our historic churches alive. If we don’t, in a few years, there won’t be anybody around who remembers.”


Church members of all ages joined in the service and then enjoyed fellowship on the grounds.

Don Renfroe and his mule and wagon offered rides from the Banks highway down to the red clay road to the church for dinner on the ground and more preachin’ and singin’ after dinner was over.

Heritage Sunday at Clay Hill included dinner on the ground with “dining” chairs set up under an old cedar tree in the far side of the cemetery. Some members of the congregation chose not to fight the gnats and flies and they dined inside the church.

Prior to the singing, Brother Ed Shirley delivered a fire and brimstone sermon. Then, The Hendersons led the singing and also sang a variety of “old favorite” hymns that most people in the congregation knew by heart.

“We want to have more services and events at Clay Hill,” Ross said. “It’s a plain and simple church with a great tradition and a wonderful spirit. And, if you want to experience that old time religion, there’s no better place than Clay Hill Church.”


The Hendersons singing.