Brief History of the First United Methodist Church
of Madison, Florida
The First United Methodist Church of Madison, Florida has undergone many changes in
its long history. It has been located on at least two different sites and has been under the
jurisdiction of three different Annual Conferences. It has grown from a very humble
place of worship to the magnificent brick church and adjoining buildings which serve
approximately 500 members.
The First United Methodist Church of Madison was organized and the first building
erected for worship in A.D. 1830. Evidence in the archives of three Annual Conferences
show that Methodists met together periodically as early as 1820 in homes and were
ministered to by traveling “circuit riding” ministers who stopped here about once a year.
The first building erected by the Methodists occupied the site now occupied by the St.
Vincent DePaul Roman Catholic Church on Sumter Street in Madison.
The original congregation, known as the Madison Methodist Episcopal Church, used the
first building until 1856 when a second building was erected on the same site. This
building served the Methodist Church until A.D. 1901 when the property was sold to the
Roman Catholic Church. A new location was found and the erection of a third church
building was begun on the present location.
The new building was of red brick veneer with a spire in which the “sweet-toned” bell
from the old building was suspended. The bell was rung on Sunday mornings and
evenings to call the faithful to worship. This building served the congregation until
December of 1917 when it was destroyed by fire. The only remaining part of the old
church is a beautiful marble Baptismal Font presented by the “Orange Blossoms” in
Mr. Tommy Beggs restored the font as a gift to the church and it can be seen in the
narthex of the church today. The present church was begun in April of 1919 and by
December 6, 1920, had proceeded to the point that the cornerstone could be put into
place. The first worship service in this building was held on Sunday, May 15, 1921.
Sometime following his death at the beginning of World War II in 1941, the family of
Colin Kelly, Jr., donated the church’s pipe organ. Major renovations to the interior of the
church were done in 1998-99, which included modern heating and air conditioning to
replace the old system.
The history of the First United Methodist Church of Madison would not be complete
without noting that our congregation has existed under three separate Annual
Conferences: 1830-1834 South Carolina Annual Conference; 1834-1845 Georgia Annual
Conference; and 1845-present the Florida Annual Conference. The First United
Methodist Church of Madison has had four different names in its existence: 1830-1844
The Methodist Episcopal Church; 1844-1939 The Methodist Episcopal Church South;
1939-1968 The Methodist Church; and since merging with the Evangelical United
Brethren Church in 1968, we have been called the United Methodist Church.