Every day at noon, the sound of church bells resonates from Twin Towers United Methodist Church, a block from Alameda City Hall. It’s a welcome reminder to stop, take a breath, and enjoy the day. This year, the church celebrated 170 years of faithful community on September 11 and will commemorate this anniversary on Sunday, October 15, with a worship service at 10:30 a.m., followed by a special anniversary lunch at noon. All are invited to celebrate with Twin Towers UMC as we journey towards an inclusive and loving future for all under the theme of “Following Jesus, Thriving in Community, and Healing the World.”
Twin Towers UMC: A Brief History
On September 11, 1853, Encinal Methodist Church was founded by a gathering of twelve individuals at Rev. James McGowan’s home. The church’s first building stood on land donated by Bishop William Taylor, a radical Methodist and Holiness missionary, and was consecrated by Bishop Mathew Simpson, a well-known abolitionist and educator.
Two years later, a bell cast in Boston arrived in Alameda, and it remains in the church’s tower today. Over the next century, the congregation witnessed growth to two churches, endured challenges such as the temperance movement, Prohibition, name changes, fires, the Great Depression, wars, and the civil rights movement.
In 1973, First Methodist Church and Santa Clara Avenue Methodist Church voted 58-3 in favor of a merger, forming Twin Towers United Methodist Church. Since then, they’ve focused on community service, supporting organizations such as Fred Finch Youth and Family Services, Midway Shelter, Alameda Meals on Wheels, the Alameda Food Bank, and more. In the early 2010s, Rev. Don Cunningham and his late wife, Lillian Cunningham, ensured the church’s survival during a transitional period.
In March 2020, Twin Towers adapted to the pandemic, transitioning to an online community, and after returning to in-person worship in Spring 2022, they continue to offer online services as well, connecting with friends from afar. The church lived through and bears witness to the dawn of new pandemics of loneliness, lovelessness, and racism along with the worsening trifecta of houselessness, inflation, and economic crises. In response, they’ve emerged as a community dedicated to promoting God’s healing and social justice in their neighborhood and beyond.
Art of Healing Workshop
As part of the 170th anniversary celebration, Twin Towers UMC’s Healing Prayer Team is offering a one-day workshop, “The Art of Healing,” facilitated by Donna Fado Ivery, on October 14, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Ivery will lead attendees in her “Flow with the Spirit” silk scarf painting process, a beautiful way to honestly express yourself in a safe, sacred space. Impossible to fail and lots of fun! All are invited. Register online to attend. A registration fee of $20 is suggested to cover the cost of materials and lunch, but none will be turned away for lack of funds.
Anniversary Service and Luncheon
Twin Towers UMC will honor its journey and the milestone of its 170th anniversary with community events throughout October, culminating with its worship service and luncheon on Sunday, October 15. All are invited to celebrate with us at Twin Towers UMC as we journey towards healing and social justice for all. You may RSVP online for the Anniversary Lunch.
If you cannot join in person, consider celebrating with us virtually by connecting with us online via our weekly newsletter or on social media (Facebook and Instagram) where we share regular updates from our community members who are both near and far!
Rev. Akesa Po’oi Fakava serves as the pastor of Twin Towers UMC.
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