The present sanctuary of Main Street United Methodist Church was dedicated in 1888 by the bishop. The architect and builder was James D. McCullough. Not long after, in 1890, the bell now in the bell tower was purchased. That church was the first church on this lot (1840), but it was Abbeville’s second Methodist church; the first one was built in 1827 on Washington Street and was the first church in the village—then known as Abbeville Court House.
The founder of Methodism in Abbeville was a woman, Ann Fisher Moore. She came to Abbeville as a young wife and wanted very much to have a church in the town where she would raise her children. Born in England and raised in Charleston, she was Roman Catholic, but after reading a Charles Wesley hymn, she converted to Methodism. Her husband, James Moore, became the church’s first “local” preacher—he married, baptized, and buried people, and preached when the circuit rider was not present.
The nave of the present sanctuary originally faced the northeast wall. The front door was where the Good Shepherd window is, and the window on the northeast wall was over the front door. When the railroad came through Abbeville, and the railroad shops were built on the outskirts of town, the population increased by 1,000. The Methodists invited the newcomers to join, and, as a result, the nave had to be enlarged. It was re-oriented and what then became the back wall was moved. The bishop dedicated the remodeled church in 1895. The architects were Bruce and Morgan of Atlanta, also the architects for the exuberant Queen Anne Harris House at 200 South Main and Tillman Hall at Clemson.
Of the art nouveau Good Shepherd window that was installed in 1895, The Southern Christian Advocate said it was “a beautiful work of art not surpassed…in the South.” The “ruby cut-through clear glass” over the door between the narthex and nave also dates from 1895. The other windows in the nave, the windows in the DuPré Chapel, and the glass over the other doors are thought to have been installed in 1888.
In 2018, Keep the Music Flowing - A Campaign to Replace and Restore the Organ resulted in a new 649 pipe organ custom built for us by Kegg Pipe Organ Company. The façade pipes of the 1900 Felgemaker pipe organ were restored and the console and other pipes were replaced. The new and restored pipe organ was installed and dedicated during the February 17, 2019 worship service; District Superintendent Rev. Steve Patterson led the congregation in a pipe organ dedication Litany.
“We dedicate the pipe organ for the worship, honor, praise and glory of God. May this organ encourage our praise and lift our singing. May the music it produces bring our prayers to you in times of joy and times of sorrow.”
In 1925, to celebrate the 100th Anniversary and to “care for the young…of the church,” the congregation built the Education Building and remodeled the exterior of the sanctuary to be architecturally compatible with the new building. James C. Hemphill was the architect. The bishop dedicated it in 1944. In 1993, Jane Greene and her children gave the congregation the Greene Center to honor her parents Nora and Leman Greene. More recently, through the 21st Century Capital Campaign, the church raised the money needed to re-decorate and repair all church buildings, including the parsonage on Florence Street, for ministry in the new millennium. The bishop preached the sermon to celebrate the church’s 175th Anniversary in 2002.
As the banner on the wall of the narthex attests, Main Street considers itself a liturgical church, observing the Christian year in worship through music, drama, and sometimes dance. Main Street United Methodist Church exists to glorify God by offering praise and worship, teaching and making disciples of Jesus Christ, supporting each other, serving the community, and spreading the Good News of salvation!