SYCAMORE -- The congregation of Sycamore United Methodist Church is looking forward to seeing guests Sunday as the church celebrates its 114th birthday.

Minister James Long, who has been pastor at Sycamore UMC since 2009, is inviting the public to attend the homecoming and birthday celebration starting with worship at 10:30 a.m. with lunch provided following the worship service.

Guest speaker for the service is the Rev. Lee Witherington, who was pastor from 2007 to 2008. He is now pastor at Lincoln United Methodist Church.

The church history for Sycamore United dates back to the turn of the century, when Joseph Hawkins came to Alabama from West Virginia to manage a mining operation three miles south of Sycamore on Emauhee Creek. He and his wife were devout Methodist Christians. They set about the task of organizing a Methodist Church. The Sylacauga Methodist Church agreed to sponsor at Emahure that was recorded in Sylacauga’s church history. In the church minutes of July 1904, the following was written, “The Mission at Emauhee has done splendidly.”

A shelter was erected on the banks of the creek where services were held.

Eventually the families that were charter members of the church started building their first church sometime after 1907.

Some of the charter families included the Mizzells, Handleys, Barnetts and Thurmans, and later several families connected with the management of the mill owned by the Comer family that was contributed to the church.

The church became an important part of the community, growing through the years with a new church being built in 1953. The original building was moved to the north side of the church lot and converted into a fellowship hall and education building.

Then on a tragic night in December 1963, the church burned to the ground. All was lost, except the previous church building. Services were held there as plans were made for a new church.

The new church under the leadership of the Rev. Charles D. Hazel was completed in March 1965.

Years of labor and love have gone into the church. While the church, like most, has seen a decrease in membership, today it is rebounding with young and old members attending from across the area.

Church member Helen White said Sycamore has more than 50 members.

“Hardly any are from Sycamore,” she said. “They come from other places around the area because of the members in the congregation. Our church is really doing well.”

Programs the church sponsors throughout the year are a community Easter egg hunt; support of the Upper Sand Mountain Parish with household and clothing supplies; financial support to the Sycamore Fire Department; provide school supplies to elementary schools; and sponsorship of a backpack ministry, Soma Shoe Boxes; and makes homeless matts using plastic bags.

Regular Sunday worship is at 11 a.m., with Sunday school at 10 a.m. Wednesday Bible study starts at 6:15 p.m.

Anyone with questions about the 114th birthday celebration may contact White at 256-404-4781.