Ham Chapel is located approximately 5 miles north of Elba on Highway 189. Brother Michael brings the message each Sunday morning at 8:45, with Sunday School immediately following. The first Sunday of every month we celebrate Holy Communion and accept gifts of food for the Christian Mission.
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22293 Hwy 189 North
Elba, Al 36323
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elbaumc@centurylink.net
Pastor: Michael J. Lawler
503 W. Davis Street
Elba, AL  36323
Phone: 334-897-2219

 


An Early History of Ham Chapel
from Church records kept by Annie Lee Vaughan from 1935 until 1985

At one time there was an organized Methodist church at Ham school house, but interest in church work seemed to lag. The members and pastor seemed unconcerned and it was decided best to move the church organization to Lee school house where services were held regularly. But soon after Pastor E. B. Paul left in 1928, church services were discontinued at Lee school house.  The group was then invited to join the Elba Methodist Church and discontinue the community church. The group, as a whole, did not want to do this, but wanted an organized church either at Lee or Ham school house. Services were held occasionally either at Ham or Lee, but not as an organized church from 1928 until Reverend W. J. Hughes was sent in 1935.  Immediately after Reverend Hughes came, he organized a church at Ham school house with nineteen members.

The Charter members for the newly organized church were J. T. Vaughan, Eula Vaughan, J. A. Vaughan, Georgia Vaughan, Herman Vaughan, Kate Vaughan, Edgar Vaughan, Will Vaughan, Annie Lee Vaughan, John Frank Vaughan, Debbie Compton, O. C. Compton, J. L. Compton, Walter J. Compton, Vesta Parker, Claudia Mae Cooper, Lucille Boswell Griffin, Jeffie Gatlin, and Alice Gatlin. The pastor's salary was $50.00 annually.

In 1951, the first Quarterly Conference was held at Ham Methodist Church.  The conference was conducted by the District Superintendent, Rev. T. S. Harris and Donald Taylor was granted a license to preach.  Sunday School and the Methodist Youth Fellowship were organized.

For several years, the members of Ham Methodist Church had talked of building a church building.  Meetings were being held in the old Ham school house; the church had tried to buy the building but could not get a clear deed.  On May 11, 1953, chicken dinners were sold with the proceeds going to start a building fund.  $69.00 was cleared and placed into the Elba Exchange Bank for a building fund.  Mayor L. P. Mullins and J. A. Vaughan each gave an acre of land for church property and a building committee was formed. Also in 1953, a Woman's Society of Christian Service (WSCS) was organized.

Additional fund raisers for the church building were held; one such event was a barbecue in 1955 that raised $102. The building committee, chaired by Annie Lee Vaughan, agreed on a church plan consisting of a T-shaped frame structure with asbestos siding and hardwood floors.

By 1955, the average Sunday School attendance was 25, active church membership was 51, and the actual church roll was 51. The building fund had reached $410.68 in the bank plus several good pledges and a $500 donation from the Division of National Missions of the Board of Missions of the Methodist Church, Philadelphia, Pa.  On September 17,  the ground was cleared by the men of the church; the ladies brought basket lunches. Later in the year, the church plans were changed to a 26' X 44' concrete block building with a cement floor, open ceiling with 8 ft. walls, steel windows, four windows to the side, three doors, and seating for 108 people.  Edd Tucker was named chairman of the building committee. On the day after Thanksgiving, a group met to lay a foundation. The building was completed in 1957; Mrs. Debbie Compton's 85th birthday was the first celebration in the new church. Felix Parker donated a piano and Mr. and Mrs. Roger Winston and Roger, Jr., donated the choir chairs. Pews were placed by the descendants of J. T. and Eula Vaughan.

The first homecoming celebration was in 1960. All debts on the building were paid in 1962, but tile was laid on the floor which added another small debt.  On May 26, 1963, "Debbie Compton Day" was celebrated to honor the senior member of the church and the new debt free status of the church.  Another great day for the church was on June 23, 1968, when Angus and Georgia Vaughan Day was celebrated. An anniversary party celebrating the 14th anniversary of the present building was celebrated May 14, 1971. Carpet was added to the aisle and front of the church in 1973.  A cloth for the communion table and the pulpit were placed in memory of Felix and Vesta Parker; a lighted cross and a pulpit bible were placed in memory of Minnie Vaughan Lee. In 1976, twelve Methodist hymnals were placed in memory of Walter J. Compton. Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Dennis were honored in 1977. The brass cross and candlesticks were dedicated in memory of Leslie Lee; a purple and green parament were dedicated in memory of Clarence Dennis. Annie Lee Vaughan Day was held on October 28, 1984; the service included a litany of dedication of the Christian flag and the American flag.

Pastors and their initial year of service are as follows:
 
Year Pastor
1936 W. J. Hughes
1939 J. C. Vickers
1940 C. H. Seibert
1942 C. P. Roberts
1943-44, no records kept
1945 W. M. Sproles
1949 Fred Davis
1950 Harold DeVane, followed by Rex Mixon
1952 William Sullivan
1953 Lavand Davis
1954 Eugene Clopton
1955 Lewis Pope
1957 Clifford Jeffcoat
1959 Ralph Hendricks
1961 R. I. Lawrence
1963 David Carter
1966 T. S. Harris
1967 John Wesley Spivey
1969 T. S. Harris, followed by Mark King
1970 Edwin R. Sells
1975 Edward Dell Henne
1980 John Curtis Carmichael
1985 George M. Sedberry
1990 Winston Dow Jay
1994 John Bryan
1995 Alton Moore, Jr.
1996 Marvin C. Ennis
1999
John  I. Baxter

 2004                         Stanley Carter
 2015                         Michael J. Lawler                 

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