Groundbreaking Held To Rebuild Tornado Ravaged 114 Year Old Century Church

January 22, 2018

A groundbreaking was held Sunday morning for the reconstruction of the historic Century United Methodist Church, which was damaged beyond repair in the February 15, 2016,  EF-3 tornado in Century.

“Our last service was held on this site on Valentine’s Day 2016. The next day, the tornado came and knocked (the building) off our foundation.  Twenty months ago today the bell was removed from the bell tower. On July 8, the sanctuary walls came down,” Rev. Janet Lee said Sunday morning. “But we returned to this site not to talk about the old church, but to look forward to the future.”

During the groundbreaking ceremony Sunday, a church member held up a brick leftover from the foundation of the original church.

“I personally will see that it gets put in the foundation of the new church. It’s only fitting,” Lee told the congregation.

For more photos, click here.

Pensacola architect Carter Quina designed the new church to look much like the old building. It will include windows, pews, light fixtures, woodwork and more salvaged from the old church.

The Century United Methodist  Church was built in 1902, just after Century was established by The Alger-Sullivan Lumber Company. It was constructed of virgin long leaf pine, with interior detail and finish that created a reverent place for worship.

For over 114 years, the sanctuary helped to provide comfort and inspiration to Century residents with weekly services, as well as special occasions such as baptisms, weddings, and funerals.

Time took its toll on the familiar old building, along with a fire and hurricanes. The February 15, 2016, EF-3 tornado that struck Century dealt a blow from which the building could not be recovered.  Many architectural details were salvaged before the structure had to be dismantled.

Work on the Church Street site is expected to begin shortly and should be completed in about 10 months.

“We hope to be in the new building by Christmas,” Lay Leader J.R. Jones said.

Church members have continued to meet since the tornado, operating out of their Annex Building across the street.

For more photos, click here. photos, click to enlarge.


10 Responses to “Groundbreaking Held To Rebuild Tornado Ravaged 114 Year Old Century Church”

  1. Sylvia Hudson McCurdy on January 28th, 2018 4:31 pm

    This is wonderful news. I know it will be a blessing to the Century community. My family made many precious memories in that old church.

  2. Gary & Lynn Beasley on January 23rd, 2018 8:45 am

    Great News…..congratulations to the Congregation.

  3. Miriam Wilson Mick on January 22nd, 2018 10:25 pm


  4. Judith Jolly on January 22nd, 2018 8:28 pm

    Such a wonderful story. God bless this sweet church family.

  5. Bonnie Exner on January 22nd, 2018 3:00 pm

    Congratulations to REV.JANET LEE and the entire congregation of CENTURY UNITED METHODIST CHURCH.

  6. Tommy Wilson on January 22nd, 2018 1:17 pm

    CONGRATULATIONS to all my good friends in Century! This design looks terrific and we look forward to making a pilgrimage to see it once it’s done. A lot of marvelous history here, and it deserves to continue… Love to all of you, and may Our Father bless this worthy endeavor!

  7. Carl & Sylvia Godwin on January 22nd, 2018 10:42 am

    We are so happy to see the church rebuilt. We attend the Baptist church but we love the people here and we are excited for them.

  8. Phyllis Dickinson on January 22nd, 2018 10:05 am

    God bless Rev. Janet Lee and this loyal congregation! May the Spirit of God be always with you as you strive to do His will.

  9. Ruth Harrell on January 22nd, 2018 7:56 am

    Congtrats to this dedicated group of Christians !
    So happy to see this beginning and will watch
    as it becomes the beauty that it will
    be! Love y’all

  10. Mabry Dozier on January 22nd, 2018 5:56 am

    This is great news! I am so excited to hear this.

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