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Hand Memorial UMC - Southwest


The original building was a crudely constructed, structure about thirty by fifty feet which lacked a ceiling.  A Sunday school came into being with Mr. Jule Doy acting as both superintendent and teacher.  In 1898, during the pastorate of Rev. Huckabee, a new wooden church was erected o the site where the present church now stands.  Mr. J. L. Hand donated the lot for both the church and parsonage and contributed liberally towards construction costs.  Mrs. Florence Hollis Hand instructed a class of young ladies.  Rev. A. B. Wall arrived in 1917, the church building was sold and moved and the current sanctuary was built.  The Hand family donated half of the money that was needed in memory of Judson Larrabee Hand and the church was named Hand Memorial Methodist Church. Included in the new sanctuary were a ladies parlor, kitchen, separate classes for Sunday school, central heating and a pastor's study.  At this time, the parsonage was moved to its present location. In 1932, a two-story brick annex complete with basement, recreation room and up-to-date kitchen was constructed.  The land for this annex was donated by Mrs. Nat Bradford.    The parsonage was renovated in 1945, and chimes were given by the M. W. Turner family.  The sanctuary was redecorated with red carpeting in 1949.  The stained glass window presented by Mrs. J. O. McElvey in memory of her mother and father, Nat and Sara Bradford, and her husband, John O. McElvey, was installed in 1951.  The annex, which had been built in 1932, was razed and a new educational building constructed under the pastorate of Rev. Oscar Bell.  It was completed in 1955, and dedicated by Bishop Arthur J. Moore.  It houses a large fellowship hall, stage, kitchen, chapel and classrooms.  Air conditioning was added in 1957.  In 1966, the parsonage was sold and moved and a new one constructed on the same site.  Hand Memorial was selected church of the year for the Thomasville District in 1967. 

On September 29, 1981, fire destroyed the roof and ceiling of the building.  Since renovations were already underway, scaffolding caught the collapsing roof and saved the floor, walls and stained glass windows.  The organ and furnishings had also been removed.  The church sent the insurance refund check to the building fund of the new Christ Church in Albany. 

In 1992, Daycare, as an outgrowth of the Preschool, was initiated with four full-time and four part-time students enrolled.  In July, 1994, Hurricane Alberto caused the most extensive damage ever by a natural disaster with unprecedented flooding.  The UMW gather supplies for flood victims and made a monetary donation to the cause.  The UMM also donated funds.  Also in 1992, evangelism efforts included sponsorship of the first HIspanic ministry at Sale City and training for Prison Fellowship Ministries.  In 1995, supported by Hand Memorial, Steve and Gail Quigg returned to Zaire and continued their mission efforts in that country.  In 2001,after 11 years of support, the Hispanic ministry at Sale City was discontinued due to lack of support but support for the Quiggs in Zaire continued.  Extensive repairs and refurbishing of the church were undertaken in Spring, 2003, including painting the interior and exterior of the educational building, repairs to the steeple and structural changes to facilitate the expanded Preschool/Daycare program. 


242 Hand Avenue
Pelham GA 31779

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Conference Office

3040 Riverside Dr., Suite A-2 - Macon, GA 31210

PO Box 7227 - Macon, GA 31209

478-738-0048 | 800-535-4224

Administrative Office

3040 Riverside Dr., Suite A-2 - Macon, GA 31210

PO Box 7227 - Macon, GA 31209

478-738-0048 | 800-535-4224

Camping & Retreat Ministries

99 Arthur J. Moore Dr - St Simons Is., GA 31522

PO Box 20408 - St Simons Island, GA 31522

912-638-8626 | 888-266-7642

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Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors.