The Sycamore United Methodist Church will celebrate its 109th anniversary on Sunday, Oct. 20, with a worship service beginning at 11 a.m. Rev. Leroy Shaw will be preaching.

According to a release announcing the celebration, “Sycamore United Methodist has a long history of service to the community, from the Avondale Mills days until today. The Comer family was instrumental in starting the church. Now, 109 years later, Sycamore UMC is still striving to be community, nationally and world-wide involved.”

Current projects include a community Easter egg hunt, providing school supplies for Sycamore Elementary School and donating supplies for “flood buckets,” according to the release.

A “flood bucket” contains emergency supplies for use in case of flooding, tornados or other natural disasters. “These buckets are dispensed by the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church when the need is there,” the release says.

Somewhat further from home, church member Helen White “has participated the last two years by being a team member of a mission team to Honduras lead by Dr. Leigh Murphy of Talladega and Dr. Clay Davis of Sylacauga. Members of Sycamore UMC have donated, packaged and sent to Honduras large numbers of cases of clothes to be distributed to the rural villagers by the mission team. The same project has already started for the 2014 trip. Many people in the area have donated to the mission, along with the Upsi-Daisy Children’s Consignment Shop. The goal of SUMC is to continue to be part of the needs of our world.”

The roots of that goal extend back to the early days of the twentieth century. According to a history of the church published in 1966, a man named Joseph Hawkins came to Alabama from West Virginia to manage a mining operation on Emauhee Creek, about three miles south of Sycamore. Hawkins and his wife were both devout Methodists, and asked for the Sylacauga Methodist Church to establish a mission near the mining operation. The initial church building was just a shelter on the creek bank.

A lot for a permanent church was purchased a few years later. By 1907, the mission listed a membership of 223, with “88 new members added to the roll that year, with 33 adults being baptized. The pastor of the mission was the Rev. C.L. Sumner.”

It was not long after that, according to the history, that a permanent building was erected, using lumber from an abandoned church in another community and pews donated by a church in Center Hill.

In the early 1920s, the local textile mills were acquired by Avondale. Mill manager Hugh Comer, son of Governor B.B. Comer, joined with his family shortly afterward, and the church was given a major facelift.

Sycamore United Methodist Church is located on Village Street, behind Floyd and Beasley Trucking, across the street from Sycamore Volunteer Fire Station.

For more information, please call 256-249-2227.

Contact Chris Norwood at