Rafters as seen through walls of curved section at right of church. (November 2007)


Overlays show original plans for remodeling. The rebuilt church is faithful to the original design and includes the intended changes, listed below.

Restoration Background

What began as a restorative endeavor evolved into a complete rebuild of our sanctuary at 163 Coit Street. See photos of the completed church here.


This rebuild enhanced the city’s efforts to revitalize downtown Florence as a civic, cultural and commercial center.


The redesign was endorsed by the Florence Downtown Development Corporation.


Work began in 2006, and the sanctuary rebuild was completed in 2010. We’ve recreated the original exterior look with thoughtful improvements to the interior.

 Summary of Cumberland’s Original Planned Improvements


Church Exterior

· Reinforce steeples

· Restore stained glass windows

· Create central entry/garden connecting church and educational building


· Re-plaster walls

· Relocate and elevate choir and pipe organ to behind pulpit, with choir robe and practice rooms

· Restore pipe organ

· Restore pews and pine floor

· Reinforce roof, ceiling & floor supports

· Strengthen balcony, install elevator and build new stairway and an audio-visual room

· Build glassed-in waiting area (narthex) spanning both doors

· Install new electrical, heat & air, fire and security systems


Educational Building

· Install new carpet, lights, toilets and ceilings

· Install new plumbing and kitchen fixtures

· Install new heating & air conditioning system

· Add third floor with sloped steel roof to house air system and future rooms

· Install rear elevator


General Property

· Build new entry driveway

· Expand paved parking in rear

· Demolish “The Hut”

· Update utility connections

(BELOW) Church shown before renovation, and eventual dismantling and rebuilding.


Renovation begins. Plywood boards cover vacant openings left by stained glass removed for restoration. The steeple on the left was also removed. (June 2005)


Rebuilding becomes necessary, and begins with a new foundation. Reinforcement bars for pillars protrude through the concrete base. (January 2007)


The new church takes shape. Steel girders follow the familiar lines of the former structure. (May 2007)


Interior, from front to back, looking through what will be the large restored stained glass window in the center of the original photo. Floor framing and pillars can be seen at the bottom, with beginnings of brickwork. (November 2007)

Other Views

A Quick Look at Construction Progress


The roof is added. (September 2007)


One of the steeples is ready to be installed.  (May, 2008)


The previous sanctuary, built in 1911 and the oldest in downtown Florence, had classic features such as:

· Genuine Tiffany stained-glass windows

· A working Moeller pipe organ with pipes that stretched almost to the ceiling

· Inlaid pine flooring

· A curved L-shaped balcony


This grand and historic structure — the only African-American church in downtown Florence —  provided a spiritual haven where young and old sought solace and came closer to the Lord.


The original plan (details at left and below) was to enhance, refurbish and upgrade. Unfortunately, the years slowly took their toll on the building, which had to be replaced completely.


That ending was the beginning of a new life for Cumberland.



See construction progress photos below the following text box:

Groundbreaking Ceremony


Sheathing wraps the building. (February, 2008)


The cornerstone is in place.  (September, 2008)

u m b e r l a n d

 United Methodist Church • Florence, SC


Our Vision: To be a beacon of faith, hope and love