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franklin county times

2 local churches named to Hallelujah Trail

By Staff
Jason Cannon
Franklin County Times
Two Franklin County churches will be featured on the Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association's Hallelujah Trail.
Mt. Pleasant Methodist Church, in Newburg, and the First United Methodist Church of Red Bay will be two of the 32 churches selected from the 16 counties that make up the Alabama Mountain Lakes region.
"The criteria was that each church must be at least 100 years old, on its original site, still holding services of some kind, and must be accessible to the public," Dana Lee Jennings, President and CEO of the Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association said. "Each county was only allowed to submit two churches."
The churches will be featured and marked on a travel brochure, set to be released by Alabama Mountain Lakes in the coming weeks.
Jennings added that the Hallelujah Trail would also tie into the Natchez Trace to the West and Lookout Mountain to the East, and serve as a segway for sightseers from one location to the other.
"What this has done is created another part to a driving tour of the Appalachian Region," she said.
The Hallelujah Trail will also be featured in the Spring 2008 edition of National Geographic Traveler Magazine.
In addition to the recognition, each county will receive an additional $1000 to prepare rack cards that list other historical churches in their area.
All 32 churches will officially be recognized Thursday at 10 a.m. at St. John's Episcopal Church in Decatur. Tour trail signage will also be unveiled at the meeting.
About the churches
Since the early 1800s, the Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church has survived many tragedies, including a flu outbreak and a deadly tornado. The framing of the present structure shows pegs and square nails which date back prior to 1900.
The First United Church of Red Bay sprung from humble beginnings. A mission from Booneville, Miss, set out to preach under a Brush Arbor, which was called Oak Grove. On split log seats, the community worshiped until they were later able to build a cabin. After the Methodist Church became part of the Alabama circuit, Oak Grove became the First United Church of Red Bay. The church has grown from logs to an encased brick structure with today's modern conveniences.