History of Woodlawn UMC
In 1889, the Reverend F. S. Hudson was appointed city missionary to the city of Augusta. One of his first efforts was to organize a Sunday School in the Woodlawn area, with Lewis Goodrich as first superintendent. A small building was erected which was considered sufficient for a few years. The officials of St. John and St. James Methodist churches endorsed the movement. In 1890-92, the Reverend B. F. Frasier, Pastor of Broadway had charge of Woodlawn.
In 1892, the mission had grown in numbers and interest and the necessity of a regular church organization was conceived by the leaders. The reverend George W. Yarbrough, Presiding Elder, assisted in the organization. In November 1892, the Revered W. S. Stevens was appointed pastor in charge by the North Georgia Conference. At Quarterly Conference, in 1893, an Official Board was elected and George T. Lynch elected as superintendent of the Sunday School.
In 1899, a lot on Pope Avenue was secured and a parsonage erected.
In 1910, a movement to enlarge Woodlawn Church was started. The result was securing a lot on the corner of Fifteenth and Silcox Streets. The foundation of the church was begun early in December, 1911. June 20, 1912 marked the laying of the cornerstone. July 9, 1916, the official opening of the new church was held, reverend R. B. O. England, pastor.
On February 1934, a fire destroyed a big portion of the sanctuary. The Reverend T. M. Sullivan, pastor, supervised the rebuilding of the church. The Ham-Ramsey Tabernacle in Allen Park was purchased and services held there while rebuilding the church. Some of the lumbar, wiring, etc. in the tabernacle was used to rebuild. The church soon sold the tabernacle. Later a new Church Directory was produced. Funds from these sources and from loyal members left the church with only a small debt. The building was much better than the previous one. The cornerstone of this building was laid early 1934. Both cornestones have been placed in the court of the new church.
In 1942-45, World War 2 reached into our membership and one hundred and sixty one men and women answered the call of their country. In honor of these young people, the church bought and installed an Austin pipe organ and placed the plaque in the pulpit. This organ was rebuilt and placed in our new sanctuary in 1968.
As the years followed, the church began to add adjoining property and building additional buildings. Many improvements were made. A new parsonage was built on the property in 1955. In 1960, the parsonage on the property was used as a nursery and church parlor and a parsonage was purchased in the Brynwood section.
In June, 1963, the Georgia Highway Officials and the Urban Renewal Officials requested a meeting with the officials of Woodlawn. At this time, a plan was presented by highway officials which meant widening of Fifteenth Street in the future, taking fifty feet of property of Woodlawn. This would mean the taking of a major portion of the sanctuary and the nursery building. Property around Woodlawn, including Woodlawn, would be in Urban Renewal area. Woodlawn had two alternatives: buy other property in urban renewal area or relocate away from present area. A church conference was held and the decision was made to locate in some other part of they city, nearer the center of our membership.
In December of 1967, Woodlawn Church moved to a new location, 2220 Walton Way, into the new building, complete in every detail, costing over half a million dollars, Elmer L. Perry, Jr., A.I.A., architect and Guy C. Smith Construction Co. the builders. Dr. Garnett Wilder was the pastor during the building period and he played a large part, along with the building committee, in getting the land, planning and building the new church. He received fine cooperation. Especially beautiful are the sanctuary, the chapel, court and the grounds. All furnishings in the chapel are from the old church, including the lovely stained glass windows. The chapel is named for the Wilders.