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Ham UMC History

A Brief History of Ham United Methodist Church

Ham UMC is located approximately 5 miles north of Elba on Highway 189, and worships each Sunday at 8:45 a.m. with Rev. R. Steven Reneau preaching. 

Compiled by Annie Lee Vaughan

from 1935 until 1985

At one time there was an organized Methodist Church at Ham schoolhouse, but interest in church work seemed to lag. The members and pastor seemed unconcerned, and it was decided best to move the church organization to Lee schoolhouse where services were held regularly. Soon after Pastor E. B. Paul left in 1928, church services were discontinued at Lee schoolhouse.The group was then invited to join the Elba Methodist Church and disctoniue the community church. The group, as a whole, did not want to do this, but wanted an organized church either at Lee or Ham schoolhouse. Services were held occasionally either at Ham or Lee, but not as an organized church from 1928 until Rev. W. J. Hughes was sent in 1935. Immediately after Rev. Hughes came, he organized a church at Ham schoolhouse with nineteen members. 

The charter members for the newly organized church were J.T. Vaughan, Georgia Vaughan, Herman Vaughan, Kate Vaughan, Edgar Vaughan, Will Vaughan, Annie Lee Vaughan, John Frank Vaughan, Debbie Compton, O. C. Compton, Walter J. Compton, Vesta Parker, Claudia Mae Cooper, Lucille Boswell Griffin, Feffie Gatlin, and Alice Gatlin. The pastor's salary was $50.00 annually. 

In 1951, the first Quarterly Conference was held at Ham Methodist Church. The conference was conducted by the District Superintendent Rev. T. S. Harris and Donald Taylor was granted a license to preach. Sunday School and the Methodist Youth Fellowship were organized. 

For several years, the members of Ham Methodist Church had talked of building a church building. Meetings were being held at the old Ham schoolhouse; the church had tried to buy the building but could not get a clear deed. On May 11th, 1953 chicken dinners were sold with the proceeds going to start a building fund. $69.00 was cleared and placed into the Elba Exchange Bank for a building fund. May L. P. Mullins and J. A. Vaughan each gave an acre of land for church property and a building committee was formed. Also in 1953, a Woman's Society of Christian Service (WSCS) was organized. 

Additional fundraisers for the church building were held; on such event was a barbecue in 1955 that raised $102.00. The building committee, chaired by Annie Lee Vaughan, agreed on a church plan consisting of a T-shaped frame structure with asbestos siding and hardwood floors.

By 1955, the average Sunday School attendance was 25, active church membership was 51, and the actual church roll was 51. The building fund had reached $410.68 in the bank plus several good pledges and a $500.00 donation from the Division of National Missions of the Board of Missions of the Methodist Church, Philadelphia, PA. On September 17th, the ground was cleared by the men of the church; the ladies brought basket lunches. Later in the year, the church plans were changed to a 26' x 44' concrete block building with a cement floor, open ceiling with 8' walls, steel windows four windows to the side, three doors, and seating for 108 people. Edd Tucker was named chairman of the building committee. On the day after Thanksgiving, a group met to lay a foundation. The building was completed in 1957; Mrs. Debbie Compton's 85th birthday was the first celebration in the new church. Felix Parker donated a piano and Mr. and Mrs. Roger Winston and Roger Jr., donated the choir chairs. Pews were placed by the descendants of J. T. and Eula Vaughan.

The first homecoming celebration was in 1960. All debts on the building were paid in 1962, but the tile was laid on the floor which added another small debt. On May 26, 1963, "Debbie Compton Day" was celebrated to honor the senior members the church and the new debt free status of the church. Another great day in the church was on June 23rd, 1968 when Angus and Georgia Vaughan Day was celebrated. An anniversary party celebrating the 14th anniversary of the present building was celebrated on May 14th, 1971. Carpet was added to the aisle and front of the church in 1973. A cloth for the communion table and the pulpit were placed in memory of Felix and Vesta Parker. a lighted cross and pulpit bible were placed in memory of Minnie Vaughan Lee. In 1976, twelve Methodist hymnals were placed in memory of Walter J. Compton. Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Dennis were honored in 1977. The brass cross and candlesticks were dedicated in memory of Leslie Lee; a purple and green paramount were dedicated in memory of Clarence Dennis. Annie Lee Vaughan Day was held on October 28th, 1984; the service included a litany of dedication of the Christian flag and the American flag. 

Interesting Facts about Alabama Methodism

Entrance of Methodism into Alabama
through Matthew P. Sturdivant, 1808

Alabama Conference, Methodist Protestant Church
Organized 1829

Alabama Conference, Methodist Episcopal Church in America
Organized 1832

Continued as Alabama Conference, Methodist Episcopal Church, South 

Alabama Conference, The Methodist Episcopal Church
Organized 1867

Alabama Conference, The Methodist Church
Organized 1939

Name Changed to Alabama-West Florida Conference of The Methodist Church

Name Changed to the Alabama-West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church
in joining with the Evangelical United Brethren in 1968

 William Jennings Hughes
 John Clinton Vickers
 Charles Herman Seibert
 Claude Peavy Roberts
 William Matthew Sproles
 Fred Leland Davis
 Elvin Theo Edgar
  Andalusia District
  Ralph Rush Hendricks
 Robert Irving Lawrence
 David Worthington Carter
  Thomas Summerfield Harris
 Edwin Riley Sells
 Edward Dell Henne
 John Curtis Carmichael
 George M. Sedberry
 Winston Dow Jay
 John Bryan
 Alton Moore, Jr.
 Marvin C. Ennis
 John I. Baxter
 Dothan District
 Stanley Carter
 Michael J. Lawler
 Robert Steven Reneau