About Us

Contact Information

Office Hours:
Monday – Friday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.


602 Main Street Columbus, MS 39701

Mailing Address:
PO Box 32 Columbus, MS 39703


What We Believe

Columbus First United Methodist Church is a community of faith rooted in The United Methodist tradition. Our church is part of a global Methodist movement of more than 12.8 million Christians. The mission of The United Methodist Church is to make disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Methodists from the very beginning under the leadership of John Wesley emphasized what some have referred to as “practical divinity.” This distinguishing characteristic of Methodists places the focus of Christian living on putting faith and love into action. To read more about the beliefs of The United Methodist Church follow this link: WHAT WE BELIEVE

Who We Are


Jimmy Criddle,
Lead Pastor
Anne Russell Bradley,
Associate Pastor
Aislinn Kopp,
Associate Pastor

Program Staff

Elizabeth Swartz,
Director of Lay Ministry and Communication
Debbie Criddle,
Children’s Ministry Co-Director
Lindsey Beck,
Children's Ministry Co-Director
Lynn Davis,
Children Ministry Assistant
Stephen Racine,
Director of Student Ministries
Emily Holley,
Assistant Director of Student Ministries
Doug Browning,
Director of Music Ministries
Dawn Bryant,
Director of Worship and Media

Support Staff

Joy Morgan,
Program Adminstrative Assistant
Betty Thornbrough,
Office Administrator
Pat Sims,
Church Administrator
James O. Allen,
Arthur McGee,
Building & Grounds Coordinator
Stephanie Gandy,
Kitchen Coordinator
Ann Banks,
Church Custodian
Gwen Colvin,
Custodial Staff

ELC (Early Learning Center) Staff

Naomi Edmonds,

Walt Porter Counseling Center Staff

Lucy Flowers,

Our History




FUMC, Columbus, Mississippi, has a unique historical background. Organized in 1823, it is the oldest church organization in Columbus. From 1821-1831, Methodists and other denominations used the historic Franklin Academy as a place of worship.

First Methodist has owned three church buildings. The first structure was erected at the corner of 2nd Avenue North and 8th Street in 1831 and was the first church building in Columbus. In 1844, a brick church was built in the center of the same block. The present building was begun in 1860 for a projected cost of $30,000 when the church had a membership of 334; the building was finished in 1866.

The Civil War interrupted completion of the facility. During this period, portions of the tin roof were removed to make canteens for the Confederate soldiers, and the building was used as a hospital for the sick and wounded. Due to the impact of the Civil War and reconstruction, the church faced enormous problems in the 1860’s and 70’s. Minutes from the Board of Trustees indicate concern over financial matters and lack of Sunday School teachers because so many had gone to serve in the army. As a means of raising funds, a system of pew rentals was instigated in 1871 and continued until the church debt was paid off in 1877.

Several revivals were held in the latter part of the nineteenth century and included evangelists, such as Sam P. Jones. Within six weeks, there were 105 additions to the church.

A pipe organ was added to the sanctuary in 1878, and the pipes for this organ remain in place, serving as a focal point of the sanctuary. A new custom-built organ was installed in 1960.

The church had an addition built in 1912, designed for Sunday School classes. It now houses the Chapel, kitchen, and choir rooms. The next addition was the Caffey Educational Building in 1950. This two-story facility more than doubled the existing space for the educational program of the church, providing space for all children and youth Sunday School classes, as well as some adult classes.

In 1953, it was decided that the original building needed extensive repairs. This led to a two-year renovation program, which included providing a new roof, new Sanctuary floor and ceiling, new steeple, and structural repairs. During this period, worship services were held in the auditorium of Franklin Academy.

The current structure possesses unusual architecture because the main Sanctuary is on the second floor, with twin staircases leading to it from a foyer floored with the original ceramic tile. The exterior of the building exhibits an imposing façade of old handmade brick with a towering spire that is a local landmark.

The $1 million Marguerite Tennille Family Life Center was completed in 1988, featuring a large multi-purpose room. 2001 saw the completion of the Fletcher-Jones Educational Building which provided a beautiful Artz Fellowship Hall, as well as large children and youth classrooms and kitchen facilities. The building also houses the Early Learning Center with state-of-the-art classroom facilities and a playground. FUMC continues to grow and is dedicated to meeting the needs of the twenty-first century while remembering its rich history!