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TulaneLSU
TBD Fan
Member since Aug 2003
Member since Dec 2007
10909 posts

TulaneLSU's Top 10 churches of Auburn and Opelika, Alabama
Dear Friends,

My Auburn trip is now long in the past. Left behind now are just memories and photographs. I still have a good number of photographs remaining, and I am trying to organize them in some systematic way for your edification, education, and enjoyment. I feel as though I just touched the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Auburn and its environs. What a beautiful and mysterious land that welcomed me and let me participate in its being. For those who have not read my other letters about this land whose bucolic character will enliven even the saddest of individuals, I suggest the following:

TulaneLSU's Top 10 staircases of Auburn University
TulaneLSU's Top 10 trees of Auburn University
TulaneLSU’s Top 10 flowers of Auburn University
TulaneLSU's Top 10 pizzas of Auburn, AL
TulaneLSU's guide to Goodwater, AL
TulaneLSU's vacation to Tuskegee, AL
TulaneLSU's Top 10 signs of Ashland, AL
TulaneLSU's review of The Hotel at Auburn University
TulaneLSU's hike of Cave Creek Trail in Cheaha, AL
TulaneLSU’s Top 10 sculptures in the Auburn University Museum’s sculpture garden

I wanted to wait to release this top ten on the day President Trump announced that churches are essential, raising the question of his motivation. Anyone who knows anything about history does not need a presidential decree to understand the fundamental importance churches serve in a community. The church has always been a vehicle of service, or rather, a community that is called to serve those society has deemed unlovable and unworthy, and perhaps, more often, forgotten. Specifically, the church is called to help the orphan and widow, the prisoner and prostitute, the poor of spirit and wallet.

Would America exist as a nation in any way without churches? Absolutely not. Whether you look at the Pilgrims of New England, the Spanish Catholic missionaries in the Southwest, the Ursuline nuns in New Orleans, the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians in the Carolinas or the Anglicans of Georgia, the very essence of the country is the church.

Sometimes I wonder if I am just a cheap, less educated, less devout, less spirit led contemporary version of John Winthrop, whose beautiful “Model of Christian Charity” gave those first pilgrims aboard the Arabella the kick in the pants needed to get America going. His masterful sermon is often considered the first American jeremiad. I hope each of my letters, in one way or another, serves as a jeremiad to you, my friends.

Today, jeremiads, the inspiration for the American spirit, are few and far between. How many public figures get their inspiration from the Bible and then seek to model society after it? The last American movement of such form was the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, which has since skidded, even though some of the language used today in so-called movements is borrowed. For 50 years, like an overfed pig of a child, America has largely slouched away from the waters that fed her and sipped on the extra large Mountain Dew.

Priests, ministers, and pastors have become lazy and today hold a smaller and smaller place in the American public sphere. Others are beholden to political parties and economic power, neither of which holds water with me, an itinerant. Never before has the mainline church been so irrelevant to American public life. For afflictions of the spirit, often people now turn to gurus, psychologists, and psychiatrists. For afflictions of society, the government has led as the church failed to lead.

This trend away from Christian community, the founding inspiration for this nation, ultimately leads to a pointless society. As the great Oxford historian Arnold Toynbee surmised through his studies: once a civilization loses its religious inspiration, it begins to crumble. The cracks are first apparent with loss of interest, but the real death of the civilization comes several generations after the cracks appear. The cracks are just now appearing for America.

I so desired to get a real pulse on the church life in Auburn and its environs. I was prepared, having purchased several non-woven face masks from Brooks Brothers. One need only see the banding around the mask to know it is of superior quality to most masks being sold today. However, each and every church whose doors on which I knocked gave no answer. How sad a time it is when one knocks on a church’s door and it goes unanswered. Jesus faileth not in that regard.

There is no denying the sense of place that both Auburn and nearby Opelika hold. One can sense they are in a special place whenever they stand in either small town. At the center of both towns is American Protestantism. There is no escaping this fact. These are quintessentially Protestant American towns whose entire history has either, depending on the period, gushed or leaked from those churches.

What becomes of such towns if those churches do not flourish? I fret at the thought. Today, I only wish to share with you TulaneLSU’s Top 10 churches of Auburn and Opelika, Alabama:


10. (tie) St. James Missionary Baptist Church, Opelika, AL



Cinderblock and steeple rarely look so clean and sharp as they do in tandem at St. James Baptist, near one of the only roundabouts in Alabama. This structure has a firm rock as its foundation and neither wind nor hail will break its walls.

10. (tie) First Baptist Church, Opelika, AL



It’s quite a beautiful building. Holding it back, in my view, is the Confederate war memorial, which appears to be on its grounds, although I do not know if it is. I tried to find more history on this church, but its website is remarkably quiet in matters of history. I did read on the placard outside that the congregation was founded in 1859. Like many churches, it was consumed by fire during the years of the Civil War. I do not know if it had anything to do with LSU’s first superintendent, General Sherman.. My guess is there is some embarrassment among the staff about the Confederate war memorial. Notice it soldiers, who like almost all Confederate soldiers depicted in memorials, including NOLA's old Robert Lee, faces northward.

This post was edited on 5/23 at 8:05 am


TulaneLSU
TBD Fan
Member since Aug 2003
Member since Dec 2007
10909 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 churches of Auburn and Opelika, Alabama
9. St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church, Auburn, AL



Many south Louisianans, especially New Orleanians, are surprised to learn that most of America is not Roman Catholic. In fact, very few places in America have a society that is so Catholic as that found in south Louisiana. I once had a Catholic teacher call me Pentecostal because she thought Episcopalian was the same thing, since we are under the umbrella of Protestantism. What an insult of the highest magnitude. My correction of her ignorance lacked no fervor and she received a proper historical education on Protestantism that afternoon.

As most of the South is Protestant by nature, Catholics have been on the town’s periphery, both symbolically and physically. Catholics in both Auburn and Opelika have churches removed from the town centers, whereas Baptist, Methodist, Episcopal, and Presbyterian churches, the true bedrock of the South, sit squarely where the town is. One must drive about a mile north of Auburn’s actual town to find St. Michael’s, which is a lovely modern building.

Catholics in Auburn first worshiped in 1912 at the newly formed Sacred Heart. The KKK may have harassed these Catholics, but I cannot find any stories of proof. The church established a mission for black residents, and three years later, joined the two congregations in 1966 to form St. Michael's.


8. St. Luke African Methodist Episcopal Church, Opelika, AL



I want to know more about its history. Please teach me about this historic AME church.

7. Auburn First Baptist Church



The congregation of Baptists in Auburn first met in 1838. The church served as a Confederate soldier hospital, and during that time, the building was destroyed by a tornado. It seems like this part of Alabama and Mississippi, not Oklahoma, Missouri, and Nebraska, has become the real tornado alley in recent years. Perhaps that is not different from historical norms. I’m sure there is a lot more history with this church, but I would be foolish to try to teach it.

The building itself is quite unusual in appearance. It is broad and low to the ground, a Mike Tyson-like structure. If one looks at it from the west, along the natural downslope, First Baptist appears even shorter. Its entrance lacks a grand entryway, instead, opting for a tripartite division of smaller doors. I find this architectural feature unpleasant, and does not give the appearance of a welcoming building, which all churches should.

6. Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Opelika, AL



This cute little church perched on a hill is the oldest extant building in Opelika. The congregation first organized in 1858, but their building was destroyed by a tornado in 1869. This current stone structure is beautiful and could just as easily be found in the countryside of the Lake District, England, such is its masonic characteristics.

5. Auburn University Chapel





Auburn University’s Chapel is the second oldest building in Auburn (1851). It began not as a part of the university, but as the Presbyterian Church and remained home to that congregation until it outgrew this space in 1917. The Presbyterians shared the space with others throughout the years, including Confederate soldiers, Episcopalians, and Auburn University students.

Auburn University bought the building from the Presbyterians, and it became a YMCA as well as home of the student theater. For 70 odd years it has also served the students of Auburn as a non-denominational chapel. Why does LSU not have such a structure? Tulane does. Sadly Delgado does not have one either.

4. Auburn Methodist Church





The Methodists of Auburn are the real cornerstone of Auburn. They were the ones who built a church here in 1837. They were the ones who established East Alabama Male Institute, which was a college for Methodists. After the Civil War, finances were rough, so the Methodist church gave the college to the state. The state proceeded to name a new college on that very site Auburn University.

The building has a beautiful bell tower that almost looks Bavarian. It is connected to the church with a brick cloisters. The brick is an unusual and affordable method to achieve that cloistered effect. I approve.

3. St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church, Auburn, AL





I hoped to find Holy Trinity in Auburn, but time prevented me. I did however find St. Dunstan’s downtown. In front, in good Episcopalian fashion, there was a book depository where I found a great book about John Milton. It is a good read so far.

The first good and right Protestants in Auburn, the Episcopalians, began worshipping in Auburn in 1851. Many of the first services were held in the Auburn Chapel. In 1886, Church of the Holy Innocents came together to give a home to these beautiful people.

Holy Innocents became St. Dunstan’s in 1925 when this brick structure was built. It appears that this church was set to serve the faculty and students of Auburn University. At the same time, Holy Trinity was also formed for the growing town, which moved away from the town center in 1958. Holy Trinity is today the larger congregation.

2. First Presbyterian Church of Auburn, AL





Presbyterians, as the Baptists, Methodists and Episcopalians, were among the first European settlers of this land. They first worshiped together in 1851 in the Auburn Chapel. They moved to their current location in 1917. The sanctuary originally was inspired by the Methodist auditorium style, but gratefully, that has been replaced with the more traditional linear pew design leading to a central pulpit.


1. First United Methodist Church of Opelika, AL



In 1857, Methodists and Episcoplians in Opelika first worshipped together. I imagine the building was white because if there's one thing you notice about Opelika churches it is that they are almost all very bright white. This church was built in 1881, but got massive upgrades in 1909 showing us what a building might look like if the White House and the U.S. Capitol had a child. The dome, Corinthian columns, portico, they all give thought to Jefferson's Rotunda at the University of Virginia. This is one of the beautiful churches of the South.

Faith, Hope, and Love,
TulaneLSU
This post was edited on 5/23 at 8:14 am


S
Texas Southern Fan
RIP Wayde
Member since Jan 2007
112206 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 churches of Auburn and Opelika, Alabama
quote:

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54
The Boat
Vanderbilt Fan
Nashville, TN
Member since Oct 2008
114094 posts
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re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 churches of Auburn and Opelika, Alabama
That woman that escaped from your basement has you running all over Alabama trying to catch her.


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210
Jim Rockford
LSU Fan
Member since May 2011
77476 posts
 Online 

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 churches of Auburn and Opelika, Alabama
It's good to see Protestantism so prominently featured, a subject sorely lacking in the knowledge of many heathen OTers.
This post was edited on 5/22 at 8:28 pm


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84
OweO
LSU Fan
Plaquemine, La
Member since Sep 2009
87459 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 churches of Auburn and Opelika, Alabama
Tulane. those are beautiful pictures. Thanks for all that you do.


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87
Cosmo
Houston Astros Fan
glassman's guest house
Member since Oct 2003
99227 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 churches of Auburn and Opelika, Alabama


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64
NastyTiger
UConn Fan
Hammond/Baton Rouge/Lafayette
Member since Jun 2005
10615 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 churches of Auburn and Opelika, Alabama
I want a top 10 of water towers in East Feliciana.


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130
TIGRLEE
LSU Fan
Northeast Louisiana
Member since Nov 2009
30143 posts
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re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 churches of Auburn and Opelika, Alabama
You need a life


Jim Rockford
LSU Fan
Member since May 2011
77476 posts
 Online 

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 churches of Auburn and Opelika, Alabama
I sincerely doubt you would have the effrontery to tell him that in person.


SECdragonmaster
Auburn Fan
Putting the sexy back in dyslexia.
Member since Dec 2013
11639 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 churches of Auburn and Opelika, Alabama
This is like a second trinity for me.

God - Jesus - Holy Spirit

Lee County - Churches - TulaneLSU

Coincidence?

Not likely.


TIGRLEE
LSU Fan
Northeast Louisiana
Member since Nov 2009
30143 posts
 Online 

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 churches of Auburn and Opelika, Alabama
Ok
You tell him in person for me jim.


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40
SidewalkTiger
LSU Fan
In your head
Member since Dec 2019
8182 posts
 Online 

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 churches of Auburn and Opelika, Alabama
quote:

For 50 years, like an overfed pig of a child, America has largely slouched away from the waters that fed her and sipped on the extra large Mountain Dew. 


What a line.


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91
Tunasntigers92
LSU Fan
The Boot
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15788 posts
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re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 churches of Auburn and Opelika, Alabama
Gotta love the preachers Range Rover in #10


TulaneLSU
TBD Fan
Member since Aug 2003
Member since Dec 2007
10909 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 churches of Auburn and Opelika, Alabama
Friend,

I doubt that is the preacher's vehicle. Every Southern Baptist preacher I have known drives a Honda Accord or Toyota Camry, usually used and in clean but worn shape. The head minister of that church is named Jeff Meyers, who is the author of AskJeff: The Top 10 Questions. He does an online Q&A, and I hope to have an answer next Wednesday about the car question.

Yours,
TulaneLSU

This post was edited on 5/23 at 8:02 am


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91
Upperdecker
LSU Fan
St. George, LA
Member since Nov 2014
21897 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 churches of Auburn and Opelika, Alabama
TulaneLSU,

Thank you for this wonderful post. These churches are quite beautiful in a southern small town way. However I do find it concerning the lack of Roman Catholic Churches. Was this due to a lack of availability, a lack of beautiful Roman Catholic Churches, or favoritism from the reviewer? Looking forward to your response.

As always, yours in Christ,
Upperdecker


TulaneLSU
TBD Fan
Member since Aug 2003
Member since Dec 2007
10909 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 churches of Auburn and Opelika, Alabama
Dear Friend,

I found just two Catholic churches in the region, and this scarcity stems from historical reasons, explained in the description of St. Michael's, #9 above. The Opelika Catholic church, St. Mary's, was the first Catholic church in the region, having been a mission of the Mobile Diocese, established in 1910, two years before Sacred Heart in Auburn. I considered also including it, but its building was quite small and attached to a house, a rectory, perhaps. It was quite removed from Opelika's downtown and I only came across it as I was in search of the Great Beast, against which I battled. It is a story for another letter.



Yours,
TulaneLSU


S
Texas Southern Fan
RIP Wayde
Member since Jan 2007
112206 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 churches of Auburn and Opelika, Alabama
Friend,

I was told by a tigerdroppings/Auburn alum that, to quote, “university chapel got robbed.” Otherwise they enjoyed your list. Quality pics


Go with God
- S


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11
SkintBack
Navy Fan
SoLo
Member since Nov 2015
659 posts
 Online 

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 churches of Auburn and Opelika, Alabama
Tulane,

Mother and I would like to request "The Top 10 Two-Lane Bridges of Ascension Parish". Your options are many.

Peace be with you,
Skintback
This post was edited on 5/23 at 8:34 am


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21
DoctorTechnical
LSU Fan
Birmingham
Member since Jul 2009
2311 posts
 Online 

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 churches of Auburn and Opelika, Alabama
quote:

near one of the only roundabouts in Alabama
Thanks to this throwaway line, TIL that Alabama has an official 125-page roundabout design manual.

Drive Fast and Turn... Right?



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