In 1826, three years after its founding, Macon was a struggling frontier town of 800 people living on the west bank of the Ocmulgee River. A Methodist Society was formed by sixteen citizens and led by Thomas Gardner, a local carpenter, and part-time preacher. In that year, the General Assembly of Georgia conveyed two wooded lots just outside the city limits of Macon for the construction of a church. There, on the corner of Mulberry and First streets, was the birthplace of Mulberry Street UMC. In 1828, Mr. Gardner, Alexander Richards, and Elbert Crews cleared the forest and built a forty foot by the sixty foot sanctuary. It was the first church building of any denomination in Macon, and no building has ever stood on this spot except a Methodist church. Shortly after its construction, Rev. Charles Hardy led the church's first services in the new sanctuary. The congregation quickly grew to one hundred twenty members. In 1831, the Georgia Conference was organized at Mulberry and the church became known as the Mother Church of Georgia Methodism. In 1848, the church could no longer support its membership in its original, modest building, so a new sanctuary was completed in 1850. By 1926, eight other Methodist churches had grown from Mulberry Street UMC.
Music at Mulberry Street UMC is a treasured part of the worship and ministry. Our Ainsworth Choir offers a varied selection of hymns, anthems, and major works, and the children's choir gives the youngest musicians the opportunity to grow in the love and appreciation of both music and God. The Moller pipe organ is a historic example of American organ building. The most recent renovation of the organ included a complete modernization of the console and seven new ranks bringing the total to fifty-four ranks and three thousand twenty-two pipes.
Children's ministries at Mulberry Street UMC include the Children's Center which is a year-round program offering a faith-based environment for children from six weeks to four years. In addition to Sunday school and worship activities, the church offers a wide variety of events such as movie nights, lock-ins, and Parents' Nights Out. Additionally, the Fall Festival, Easter Egg Hunt, and Vacation Bible School are annual events that the entire community enjoys. The youth ministry, serving sixth through twelfth graders, meets each Sunday night for worship, games, and dinner. This group also meets during the week and travels to retreats and mission trips throughout the year.
The Outreach Ministry, serving for forty-five years, offers meals, groceries, and clothing to the less fortunate with a devotional time each Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. There is also the Community Garden, tended by volunteers, which grows fresh produce for both meals and groceries. Missions include a flower guild, worship guild, and interior guild. The G2G mission trip unites the generations to minister to the elderly in Hayesville, NC. Gazelle volunteers visit those members who can no longer leave their homes and Hammers, Hands, and Hearts assist seniors, disabled, and needy members by performing minor repairs around their homes. The Iris Cambodia works to prevent and bring restoration to women and children who are victims of abuse, neglect, and exploitation. These are only a few of the many groups that are active at Mulberry Street UMC.