Mrs. Gertrude Jordan Burns

Our Harvest Founder

If I have a legacy to leave my people, it is my philosophy of living and serving.

Here, Then Is My Legacy...

I leave you love. Love builds. It is positive and helpful. I leave you hope. Yesterday, our ancestors endured the degradation of slavery, yet they maintained their dignity. I leave you the challenge of developing confidence in one another. This kind of confidence will aid the economic rise of the race by bringing together the pennies and dollars of our people and plowing them into useful channels. I leave you thirst for education. Knowledge is the prime need of the hour. I leave you a respect for the use of power. Power, intelligently directed, can lead to more freedom. I leave you faith. Faith in God is the greatest power, but great too, is faith in oneself. I leave you racial dignity. I want Negroes to maintain their human dignity at all costs. I leave you a desire to live harmoniously with your fellow man. I leave you finally, a  responsibility to our young people. The world around us really belongs to youth for youth will take over its future management.

Center Grove United Methodist Church

1869-1955 Selected History

by The Rev. Dr. Wyheme H. Ragland
1869
1870
1872
1886
1890
1895
1897
1901
1902
1903
1928
1928
1937
1944
1945
1947
1950

1869

Appointed
Pon Beat & Triana David McCauley, Pastor
Bishop Simpson, Presiding Bishop
A.S. Lakin, PE

1869

1870

Pon Beat: 200 Members, 4 Probationers, 4 Local Preachers, 100 Enrolled In Sunday School

1870

1872

Triana & Pon Beat: 215 members; 18 Probationers; 6 Local Preachers; $500.00 estimated value of church property.

1872

1886

“Cedar Grove is also on the Tennessee River, a strong and well to do society with two small adjoining appointments. It was left to be supplied. I employed a brother Taylor of Mobile as supply. He came to Decatur bold and zealous for the work; he wanted a little money to purchase some articles of clothing. I paid him the first quarter appropriation and that night as 12 o’clock he took the train for Mobile and I have not seen him since. I supplied the work with two local preachers who were punctual and faithful.. .after Donald broke down after 4 weeks at Cedar Grove …. .! ordered him away and put in charge B. G. Smith, a student at our Huntsville School. He has done first class work. They contemplate building a new
church this year. “Madison has two charges …. Fuller’s Chapel and Centre Grove. It was left to be supplied by Brother Stricklin of Huntsville, a local preacher.

1886

1890

“On the Cedar Grove work, with four appointments, Brother F. L. Teague is in charge, a very creditable frame church, 49 by 60 feet has been built without Church Extension help and the faithful labors of the pastor for two years has been rewarded by strengthening the foundation of the churches and enlarging the borders. On this work during last year a very valuable church property was bargained for, and Church Extension Society approved $50.00 to help pay for it, but payments have not been made; the fifty dollars, after waiting a year has goner back into the general fund. Sill I have hope that this church, wellnames Centre Grove, so important to our work, can be saved- not a certain hope, but a hope to arouse and move us.”

1890

1895

Cedar Grove & Fowler’s Chapel: 157 members; 11 probationers
Centre Grove and Fuller’s Chapel: 144 members

1895

1897

” …… We have built a parsonage at both Triana and Center Grove, and have some money on
had to pay on a church at Madison …… “

1897

1901

“Cedar Grove Circuit was at the last conference put into the hands of Rev. G. W. Mann. This was a wise thing in that he has done more to train and systemize the people than usual. He has succeeded in rebuilding the burn church at Cedar Grove and cared so much for the Cedar Grove Church that they are alive and planning also to build another new church.
This work will also in the midst of their poverty and efforts to rebuild, report $5.00 on benevolence.” “Center Grove Circuit is in charge of Rev. L. B. Smith who is ending his third year. He is much stronger in his work today than ever. The work had not done much material improvements aside from covering the new Center Grove Church, but has steadily improved spiritually and numerically. Good revivals have attended them and they will report $15.00 on benevolence.

1901

1902

“Cedar Grove Circuit- this work was pastured by G. W. Mann, who has broken the record of this work materially and spiritually. They had a good revival resulting in 28 conversions and accessions. They will report $26.00 for benevolence and this is double any former year.”

“Center Grove Circuit- The Center Grove Circuit has had a remarkable year under Rev. L. B. Smith, who finishes his fourth year. There was some interruption in this work at the first of the year by attaching Spring Hill Church to Cedar Grove, but I got the consent of Bishop Hamilton to let this remain as before. The work has done well this year and had revival meetings which resulted in four conversions and accessions. This work also steps up on benevolence will report $23.00”

1902

1903

“Cedar Grove and Cove Church were continued in the hands of Brother G. W. Mann. The services of the pastor in this work have proven during his three years edifying. The pastor is one of the most competent” dicipinarians “and strived to put rigid business in laid down in our discipline into all of his labors. This has resulted in giving us there a people, in point of worship and general improvement a hundred per cent improved on what they were when he took them in the beginning. This work has steadily improved in its benevolent giving and will this year go beyond any previous year. The different departments of this work have all been looked after and on the whole, a good year has been realized on all lines. The pastor has taken great pains to see that this work have its portion of literature for the year. And No church on the district is better supplied with literature than this work, especially at Cedar Grove.”

 

“Center Grove and Spring Hill Circuit were continued this year in the hands brother L. B. Smith who bears the honor of being the only pastor to have served five full years in the same work. However, the work under consideration has not had much success. The benevolence will not be so good as last year, yet this pastor has done his duty no doubt in giving attention to this department. The revival fires did not catch as were desired …. Notwithstanding, all the drawbacks, the work held its own and lost nothing in the way of members.

1903

1928

“This is Brother Payne’s first year. Here an outstanding church was built at a cost of$3,500.00 and Cedar Grove Church painted in and outside. Here we were entertained atthe District Conference. The people styled this as the most beautiful Church on theHuntsville District”

1928

1928

Centre Grove Circuit: 266 members; 32 non-residential members; 75 Sunday School
members; $192.00, district- annual conference and benevolences; $3,000.00 estimated
value of church property; $680.00 present indebtedness on property.

1928

1937

Centre Grove Circuit: 266 members; 32 non-residential members; 75 Sunday School members; $192.00, district- annual conference and benevolences; $3,000.00 estimated value of church property; $680.00 present indebtedness on property.

1937

1944

” ………. Brother A. R. Matthews has rebuilt Center Grove Church -it’s a beauty. They want the Bishop to dedicate as soon as possible as he can find the time. Dr. Burghes has covered the church at Cedar Grove, and has money in had to remodel both the other churches on the Scottsboro Circuit.”

1944

1945

“Center Grove: Rev. A. R. Matthews, pastor. This charge, financially speaking is the ablest on the district. Properly developed, it could easily become one of the leading charges in the conference. The church building is large enough to accommodate a membership twice its present size.”

1945

1947

“Cedar Grove and Lowes- Rev. Earnest Langford, pastor. Brother Langford is keeping pace with those that run. and will be able to make a good report”
“Center Grove- Rev. A. R. Matthews, pastor. Brother Matthews serving the most progressive farmers of Madison County. This charge will not fail to follow good leadership.
All claims are paid.”

1947

1950

Cedar Grove & Lowes: 57 Active and Members; 41 Sunday school Membership $3,500.00
estimated value of property and assets. No Debts.
Center Grove: 196 Active and Inactive Members; 78 Sunday school Membership;
$5,500.00 Estimated Value of Property and Assets. No Deqts.

1950
{"dots":"true","arrows":"true","autoplay":"true","autoplayInterval":"3000","speed":"300","fade":"false"}

Center Grove United Methodist Church is presently a member of the North Alabama Conference, Northeast District. In 1842, during the era of slavery a group of pioneering worshipers assembled in order to form a congregation to reach and attract people of color, currently known as Center Grove United Methodist Church. The congregation composed of ten families was founded in a humble makeshift building in Mullins Flat on the Old Jink Jordan Plantation. In 1888, the Old LaGrange Hall, a former slave trading post, would become the second location for Center Grove. The two-story house was far much more than just a place of worship but served as a school and overall community pillar for African-Americans within the Madison County area. During the spring of 1974, a groundbreaking ceremony took place for a new church and parsonage on our present location. In 1975, with Rev. Wylheme as minister, church family and friends held their first service in the new sanctuary. We trace our legacy to these early pioneers of Center Grove that endured with God’s sovereign grace and mercy in the midst of challenge and obstacle.

Note to Church members:

Names of Pastors Acknowledging the Year of Their Appointment beginning with 1869 citing pastors appointed to Center Grove {and its predecessors} and their affiliation with the Methodist Episcopal Church- Northern Branch.
Many people of color after the American Civil war joined with the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church, African Methodist Episcopal Church, or African Methodist Episcopal Zion congregations. However, our congregation remained with the Methodist Episcopal Church. What was the work of Center Grove people between 1865, Emancipation and 1868? Our Church History may have already answered this piece of the puzzle, if so, “Thanks Be To God”. If not, then we still have research to pursue. During my research, care was also taken to list the Presiding Bishop and the Presiding Elder {PE} and District Superintendent {DS} during this same time frame.
You will appreciate the various ways that some of the congregations’ names were spelled as well as the spelling of names of the pastors. I did not make corrections as this was part of the official record of the Methodist Minutes. I have researched this information since Harvest 2010. The names of Center /Centre Grove and Cedar Grove were always before me I took all care to include the information when noted. Also, Center /Centre Grove and Cedar Grove would at times be on the same Circuit, however, the Bishop would not read out nor would there be a listing of every congregation on the Circuit. I encourage the Church Historian and Church History Committee to seek out the congregation’s history prior to 1869. Family Bibles, marriage records, deeds are also great clues to former pastors. I also encourage the Committee to begin an Oral History Section and record the memories of the senior members of the congregation. You may have a wealth of oral history sitting within your midst even in 2011. It is my hope that I have not reinvented the wheel in sharing this information nor is it my attempt to replace the written history that the church possesses. Please accept this as a supplement with my best regards. My information was taken from primary sources of the General Minutes of the Methodist Church and Central Alabama Conference Minutes.