Our story

For more than 150 years, Central has been an integral part of the Meridian/Lauderdale County area.  We are a church with a rich history and passion to reach others with the love of Christ.  We exist to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.  To put it another way, we want to see people grow in the love of others and the love of God so that they are empowered to live their best life and help others do the same.  We believe that community is essential in this process.  We seek to connect with others for support and grace for the journey of life.  That's why we say life is better connected.  We put that belief into practice here. 

Together, we are better equipped to face all the obstacles of life.  Community allows us to help one another grow into the people and Christ followers we were created to become.  We offer various ministries and ministry opportunities to allow you to engage in relationships and life with one another and our community.  We're glad you're here and invite you to take a look around our site to find out more about what we offer.  Life is truly better connected and we'd love to connect with you!

Our history

Central United Methodist Church has been a part of our community since the first Methodists came to Lauderdale County in 1852. These Methodists worshipped in a log cabin and depended on circuit riders to conduct their services.  The congregation moved several times, from one log structure into another frame and log building, that was also used as barracks during the Civil War. This structure was eventually moved by oxen to four downtown lots that had been purchased.

In 1885, when the congregation decided to build a new brick and stone building, the log building was again moved by oxen and it became the Fifth Street Methodist Church.  Between 1885 and 1888, the church [sometimes called First Church] became known as Central. The brick and stone structure burned to the ground in 1913. The congregation met in the Lauderdale County Courthouse for six years as a new building was built on the present location. The cornerstone was laid on August 11, 1918, and the new church was opened for use on August 10, 1919.

In our present location, Central has continued to grow and thrive. Over the years, the church has expanded to include the city block between 10th and 11th Streets. Two new education buildings, a chapel, two sanctuary restorations, a fellowship hall, and an activities center are just a few pieces of growth that Central has experienced.  Today, Central is a thriving congregation of Christians worshipping together and growing in faith. We invite you to come be a part of our history.


A Collected History by Atherton C. Gossard, 1986

History of CUMC by Dr. H.M. Ivy, 1958

Timeline 1709-1984

Presiding Elders and Pastors 1839-2001

Meridian Star Account of Fire of 1913

Bulletin Organ Recital September 23, 1924

Lauderdale Mission Start of Methodism in County by Brunner M. Hunt, 1960

Methodist Advocate Article 1961

circlecinema   Watch a video of pictures from "back when" shown in 2010 during the 150th-anniversary celebration.