GRANT PARK-ALDERSGATE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH (ATLANTA, GA)
Grant Park-Aldersgate United Methodist Church (Atlanta, GA) records, 1914-1999

Emory University

Pitts Theology Library

1531 Dickey Drive, Suite 560

Atlanta, GA 30322

404-727-4166

Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/rpcq5

Collection Stored Off-Site

All or portions of this collection are housed off-site. Materials can still be requested but researchers should expect a delay of up to two business days for retrieval.


Descriptive Summary

Creator: Grant Park-Aldersgate United Methodist Church (Atlanta, GA)
Title: Grant Park-Aldersgate United Methodist Church (Atlanta, GA) records, 1914-1999
Call Number:Record Group No. 049
Extent: 12.5 cubic feet (15 boxes)
Abstract:Contains the records of Grant Park and Aldersgate United Methodist Churches.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Collection stored off-site. Researchers must contact the Pitts Theology Library in advance to access this collection.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

Citation

[after identification of item(s)], Grant Park-Aldersgate United Methodist Church (Atlanta, GA) records, RG 049, Archives and Manuscript Dept., Pitts Theology Library, Emory University.

Processing

Processed by Aimee Morgan, December 2005.


Collection Description

Historical Note

Grant Park United Methodist Church had its origins in a one-room Methodist mission founded in 1914 at 499 Waldo St., Atlanta. Grant Park Methodist Episcopal Church, South was admitted to the North Georgia Conference in the fall of that year. The leader of the mission, Rev. W.W. Gaines, was the church's first pastor. There were 91 charter members. The congregation moved to the corner of Glenwood and Boulevard in 1915, and purchased a parsonage at the corner of Rosalia and Boulevard in 1916. Later, the parsonage was moved to allow for the construction of a new education building and sanctuary, completed in 1922. The church grew steadily from the 1920s through the 1940s. Membership peaked at 844 in 1944-1945. By the church's 50th anniversary in 1964, membership had declined to 374 as members moved away from the rapidly-changing Grant Park neighborhood.

Aldersgate United Methodist Church was founded in 1956 with Rev. Maxie Dunham as the first pastor. The first organizational meeting was held on January 15th. In 1957 the church sanctuary, located at 930 Custer Avenue Southeast, was completed. Membership peaked in the 1960s, then declined through the early 1980s. There was a brief upward surge in 1981, but in 1983 both membership and income dropped sharply.

In 1981, Grant Park and Aldersgate United Methodist Churches, both of which faced rising costs and shrinking congregations, were brought together into the first "urban circuit" of the North Georgia Conference. Rev. Sally Daniel, who had previously been appointed to Aldersgate, served as pastor for both churches. Rev. Quentin L. Hand was appointed as part-time assistant pastor.

In 1984, as a result of a membership vote, the two congregations merged to form Grant Park-Aldersgate United Methodist Church. A Service of Merger was held on June 17th of that year. The historic Grant Park building at 575 Boulevard Southeast was retained as the facility for the new church, and the Aldersgate church facility was sold.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Grant Park-Aldersgate demonstrated an active interest in social and community issues. In the early 1980s, the church collaborated with other area churches through the Grant Park Cooperative Ministry Food Bank. In 1986, church members chose to designate Grant Park-Aldersgate as a Reconciling Congregation, open to all who wished to become members regardless of sexual orientation. The church founded a Hispanic Outreach Center in 1996 as part of its ministry to the ethnically diverse Grant Park neighborhood. Other ministries in which the church was active included the Druid Hills Community Center and the Atlanta Network of AIDS Ministries.

In 1988, Grant Park-Aldersgate was selected as the Atlanta-Emory District Church of the Year for 1987. However, by 1999 the church faced severe financial difficulties. At a Church Conference on May 12, 1999, the congregation voted to close Grant Park-Aldersgate and to reconstitute as a new church with the assistance of the Conference Office on Church Development. A closing service was held on June 20, 1999.

Scope and Content Note

These records document the complete history of Grant Park and Aldersgate United Methodist Churches: their founding as separate churches, their responses to changing neighborhoods and declining membership in the 1960s and 1970s, the formation of the first urban circuit in the North Georgia Conference in 1981, their merger into one church following a vote of church members in 1984, and the closing of that merged church in 1999. Included are extensive administrative records, meeting minutes, quarterly, church, and charge conference reports, correspondence, and church publications. Of particular interest are subject files from the 1980s and 1990s documenting the church's ministry to minority groups, most notably gays and lesbians and the Grant Park Hispanic community. The Grant Park records contain files and scrapbooks from several women's organizations, including the Woman's Society of Christian Service, the Wesleyan Service Guild, and the Woman's Missionary Society. Also included with the records are over 700 photographs (both color and black-and-white) and slides, the bulk of which show church activities and members from the 1980s and 1990s.

Arrangement Note

Series 1: Grant Park United Methodist Church, 1914-1984. 2.8 cubic ft. Arrangement varies by subseries.

Subseries 1: Historical Records, 1922-1981. 0.2 cubic ft. Arranged alphabetically. This subseries contains records of general historical interest, including narrative histories, awards and certificates presented to the church, and documents related to the church's 50th anniversary celebration.

Subseries 2: Administrative Records, 1930-1984. 0.4 cubic ft. Arranged alphabetically. In this subseries are minutes and reports from church commissions, including the Commission on Education and the Commission on Finance and Stewardship; membership correspondence and mailings; financial records; and church directories. Three oversize membership registers and a treasurer's book have been separated from the subseries and are stored separately.

Subseries 3: Meeting Minutes, 1938-1984. 0.3 cubic ft. Arranged alphabetically. This subseries contains minutes from meetings of the church's main leadership body, whose name changed throughout the church's history. Names by which it was known were the Board of Stewards, the Official Board, the Administrative Board, and the Administrative Council.

Subseries 4: Conference Records, 1924-1983. 0.6 cubic ft. Arranged chronologically. This subseries is comprised of reports and minutes from quarterly and church conferences.

Subseries 5: Newsletters, 1963-1984. 0.2 cubic ft. Arranged chronologically. Echoes, Grant Park's official church newsletter was issued once a month. It served as a way for the pastor to communicate with church members. This subseries contains a near-complete collection of newsletters.

Subseries 6: Orders of Worship, 1939-1984. 0.5 cubic ft. Arranged chronologically. This subseries consists of orders of worship from both weekly and special occasion church services.

Subseries 7: Church Organizations, 1940-1984. 0.6 cubic ft. Arranged alphabetically. This subseries contains administrative records and scrapbooks from numerous church organizations, including the Woman's Missionary Society/Woman's Society for Christian Service, the Wesleyan Service Guild, the Fidelis Class, the Adult Fellowship Class, and the Men's Bible Class. Many of the items in this subseries were originally contained in scrapbooks. In most cases, these scrapbooks were in poor condition and when possible items were removed for preservation reasons.

Series 2: Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 1955-1984. 1.6 cubic ft. Arrangement varies by subseries.

Subseries 1: Historical Records, 1955-1981. 0.1 cubic ft. Arranged alphabetically. This subseries contains records of general historical interest, including narrative histories and awards and certificates presented to the church.

Subseries 2: Administrative Records, 1960-1984. 0.4 cubic ft. Arranged alphabetically. Records found in this subseries include budgets, treasurer's reports, correspondence (mostly letters written and received by the pastor), membership directories, and newsletters. There is also information on church programs and activities, such as its chapter of United Methodist Women and its 1981 summer day camp program. Board meeting minutes have been separated from this series and are stored with oversize items.

Subseries 3: Conference Records, 1956-1983. 0.5 cubic ft. Arranged chronologically. This subseries consists of quarterly and charge conference reports from the founding of the church until its merger with Grant Park in 1984.

Subseries 4: Orders of Worship, 1955-1982. 0.6 cubic ft. Arranged chronologically. In this subseries are Orders of Worship for weekly and special occasion services. Orders of Worship from 1982-1984 were shared between Aldersgate and Grant Park, and may be found in Series 1, Subseries 6.

Series 3: Grant Park-Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 1940-1999. 5.1 cubic ft. Arrangement varies by subseries.

Subseries 1: Historical Records, 1952-1995. 0.1 cubic ft. Arranged alphabetically. This subseries contains documents of general historical interest, including narrative histories and awards and certificates presented to the church.

Subseries 2: Administrative Records, 1984-1999. 0.6 cubic ft. Arranged alphabetically. Records in this subseries include administrative council minutes, pastors' correspondence files, and records of committees including the Worship Committee, the Pastor-Parish Relations Committee, the Nominations Committee, and the Education Committee.

Subseries 3: Financial Records, 1984-1998. 0.4 cubic ft. Arranged alphabetically. In this subseries are treasurer's reports, finance committee records, budgets, and other financial documents.

Subseries 4: Real Estate and Property, 1983-1992. 0.15 cubic ft. Arranged alphabetically. This subseries is comprised of files related to the church's property and facilities. Much of the material relates to church renovation projects. Two legal-sized files have been separated from the subseries and are stored with oversize materials.

Subseries 5: Membership Records, circa 1940s-1999. 0.15 cubic ft. Arranged alphabetically. This subseries includes membership lists, directories, mailings, and information on membership transfers.

Subseries 6: Conference Records, 1984-1997. 0.4 cubic ft. Arranged chronologically. This subseries consists of charge and church conference reports and minutes from the founding of Grant Park-Aldersgate United Methodist Church through 1997.

Subseries 7: Newsletters, 1985-1999. 0.15 cubic ft. Arranged chronologically. This subseries contains the monthly newsletter of the church. Originally called Echoes, the name was later changed to The Supplicant. The majority of issues date from 1992-1999.

Subseries 8: Orders of Worship, 1984-1999. 0.8 cubic ft. Arranged chronologically. In this subseries are orders of worship for both weekly church services and special occasion services.

Subseries 9: Subject Files, 1981-1998. 1.35 cubic ft. Arranged alphabetically. Files in this subseries reflect Grant Park-Aldersgate's concern for and involvement with community and social issues. The files contain information on organizations such as the Christian Council of Metropolitan Atlanta, Help House Emergency Housing Shelter, Grant Park Cooperative Learning Center, Grant Park Cooperative Ministry Food Bank, and the Methodist Federation for Social Action. There are also files on the church's own community outreach activities, such as their Hispanic Outreach Center, as well as information on ministry to gay and lesbian Methodists through the Reconciling Congregation program.

Subseries 10: Photographs and Moving Images, circa 1940s-1999. Arranged chronologically and by format. 1 cubic ft. Most of the photographs in this subseries are not captioned, and many of them can be dated only approximately. The bulk of the photographs are from 1980-1999. A few undated oversize photographs date from the 1930s-1950s. Photographs from the 1980s and 1990s depict church members and special events, such as holiday parties and special occasion services. Oversize photographs are stored separately.

There are also 49 color slides. Slides 1-5 depict Easter celebrations at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in 1981. Slides 6-14 depict the exterior of the Grant Park-Aldersgate church building. Slides 15-39 are images taken at the time that Grant Park-Aldersgate was selected as the Atlanta-Emory District Church of the Year in 1988. The final item in this subseries is a VHS videotape of a service in celebration of renovations to the church building on June 3, 1990.

Boxes 11-15 contain oversize items from several subseries, totaling 2.5 cubic ft. These include Bibles, Grant Park membership registers, Aldersgate board meeting minutes, photographs, plaques removed from the sanctuary of the church, and commemorative plates from Grant Park United Methodist Church. For more details, see the container listing below.


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Description of Series

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