First United Methodist Church of Gatlinburg, TN
We welcome you!
Join us for service on Sundays. Our 8:30 service typically has a small, intimate crowd, with a larger crowd at the 11:00 service. Dress is tourist casual, so we hope to see you here while you visit all the shops and attractions that Gatlinburg has to offer! Located right off the main Parkway across from the historic Gatlinburg Inn, we are conveniently located within walking distance to 60% of all Gatlinburg hotels.
Every person is a child of God and a person of sacred worth. We value your participation in our ministries. We invite you to join us online at our Facebook page and Youtube channel. Our Bread of Life Food Ministry continues to operate each week to serve our neighbors in need. Thank you for visiting us online! God bless you.
To reveal Jesus Christ in the world and to follow his teachings through acts of devotion, worship, compassion, and justice under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
We are open for indoor services. Mask wearing is optional for those who wish. If you prefer a smaller crowd, we suggest the 8:30 am service. If you have questions regarding our Covid-19 protocols, please call us at (865) 436-4691.
History of First United Methodist Church of Gatlinburg, TN
Built of native stone, matched and laid by native craftsmen, and crowned by a vari-hued slate roof, Gatlinburg First United Methodist Church has been acclaimed by visitors the world over as one of the most beautiful smaller churches in America.
Organized by a handful of members on October 16, 1938, the church building became a compelling dream of many. Bishop Paul B. Kern, in whose honor the pulpit of the church was placed, dreamed of a worship space where one could “find the heart of God in the heart of the mountains.” The Bishop gave inspirational and material assistance toward its inception.
Charles I. Barber, who bore an unusual love for the mountains, served as the architect who designed the building. Mr. and Mrs. Louis E. Jones made a gift of the land on which the sanctuary would be built. Mrs. Steve (Pearl) Whaley and her sons gave a gift of additional land for the rest of the church building and the parking lot. Mr. Pete McCarter was secured as the contractor, and actual work began in June 1945. When the rock work began, Bishop Kern conducted a service with the rock masons. He told them, “You are building a little Cathedral in the Smokies which will be visited by people from all over the world. Let each stone be a song and each strip of mortar a prayer.” Mr. Jones, a gifted artist, designed the church lighting fixtures hand-crafted of metal, and he also kept a watchful eye on all aspects of the craftsmanship that went into constructing the building. Mr. J.C. Cole, a pioneer Gatlinburg wood craftsman, and his wife, Eunice, designed and built the pews.
The sanctuary is topped by massive red oak beams, which were cut in the Waldens Creek area of Wears Valley. Over the entrance to the sanctuary hangs a unique dossal which has evoked many words of praise. It was designed, woven, and presented as a memorial by Mrs. Tina L. McMorran of the Pi Beta Phi School. The two-manual, nine rank Schantz pipe organ has been described as almost perfectly matched to the acoustics of the church. The clear glass windows in the sanctuary allow the congregation to look out upon the beautiful Smoky Mountains.
Gatlinburg First United Methodist Church was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on July 2, 2007, by the National Park Service. Earning the reputation of “Host to the Nation,” the church is pleased to welcome worshipers from all over the world. The congregation expanded its mission in 2013 by welcoming The Rev. Edna Lopez, Evangelist Marvin Lopez, and their family as spiritual leaders of the Hispanic component of the congregation: Primera Iglesia Metodista Unida.