Organized in December 1965 and chartered on May 22, 1966, Aldersgate United Methodist Church has been an integral part of the history of the North Jackson community. When the name, Aldersgate is spoken in conjunction with the Methodist faith, one immediately thinks of the experience of John Wesley at Aldersgate Street in London on May 24, 1783, when he “felt his heart strangely warmed.”
The initial membership hoped that the spirit and warmth of the Wesley experience would always be associated with this place and thus the name Aldersgate was chosen. The building was completed in 1967 and on May 21, 1967, the formal opening and consecration services were held under the leadership of Reverend John Higginbotham, the organizing pastor. He was followed by the Reverends Tom Price (1965-1971), Wilson Brent (1971-1974), and Doyle Moore (1974-1975).
Additional construction and renovation took place during the late seventies under the pastorate of Reverend Randy Owens (1975-1980). The neighborhood experienced a substantial change in racial composition during the latter part of the seventies and early eighties, resulting in a decrease in membership. By 1982, Aldersgate could be described as an inclusive congregation. A small membership was nurtured by Reverend Clarke Harrell (1981-1986), Reverend Wendell Taylor (1986-1987), Reverend Majorie Walker (1987-1989), and Reverend James McRee (1989-1991).
During the nineties, under the leadership of the Reverend Michael Culbreath, Aldersgate experienced a rebirth and began to grow in membership and ministry. He was followed by Reverend E. L. Henry (1998-2002) who began to lay the foundation for future expansion of the church. After Reverend Henry’s retirement, Aldersgate was pastored by Reverend Embra Jackson (2002-2005). Led by the Reverend Dwight D. Prowell, Aldersgate strengthened its resolve to build a new sanctuary. This dream was realized and celebrated with a formal consecration service on June 26, 2011.
The history of Aldersgate is more than a history of buildings and pastors who served this congregation. It is the history of a people who have faithfully served this community. It is a place where the spirit of John Wesley is alive. It is a place where we live out our motto: “A Church after God’s Own Heart.”