1401 Maple Drive, Griffin
Established in the tradition of John Wesley, Griffin’s First Methodist Episcopal Church was organized as part of a circuit in 1841 in a warehouse near the intersection of Hill and Broad Streets downtown, but also held meeting in various homes. In 1842, a small, single-room wooden building was erected on the southeast corner of Hill and Solomon Streets on land granted by General Lawrence Griffin, founder of the city of Griffin in 1840. In 1846, Griffin became a station charge with a full-time pastor, the Rev. W. D. Martin. The first report on the Griffin church in 1847 showed 140 white and 40 black members. A brick building consisting of a sanctuary with a basement was erected in 1855 and was remodeled and enlarged over the years. In 1859, the Griffin District was created the same year that the Civil War broke out.
Some of the walls of that first brick building survived until the property was sold in 1961 when the congregation moved to its present location at 1401 Maple Drive. In 1967, the Chapel, the Fellowship Hall, and Bell Tower were added.
The Bell Tower replaced the church steeple in concept. It houses the original church bell and a set of chimes. It pealed a joyous sound at the end of World Wars I & II downtown. It is cast of bronze and weights more than 500 pounds. The bell was refurbished to move to the new church grounds and is equipped with electronic fixtures that allow it to be rung by pushing a button, no longer having to pull a rope attached to the bell. It is thought to be the oldest bell to hang in the bell tower of any local church.
Other reminders of the old church downtown that were moved to Maple Drive were the two large holly trees in front of the sanctuary, moved from the yard on Hill Street and the marble baptismal in the chapel.
The beautiful stained glass windows at the four corners of the sanctuary were moved from downtown along with two windows that are featured in the chapel.
June 2000 the congregation celebrated the grand opening of the Christian Enrichment Center housing a gym, built for physical and spiritual development, along with an office expansion and new music suite.