First Methodist Church is located on an original property at the corner of Greene and Morgan Streets, adjacent to the downtown business section. The plan generally is "L" shaped with educational, administrative, recreational and chapel facilities located in the minor left wing. This was the first unit to be built in accordance with a master plan developed in 1951 by Charles N. Robinson, architect of Lancaster, South Carolina. The late Dr. Elbert M. Conover was planning consultant for this work. The major wing to the right, containing the sanctuary and a small auditorium underneath seating 125, choir room and six class rooms has just been completed. The two wings surround a court yard measuring one hundred and sixty feet by one hundred feet which will be landscaped in the near future.
The two wings are joined and dominated by a tower raising one hundred and thirty feet above the ground. A commanding view of this tower for several miles around the city is available on all the approaches. The tower serves as the main entance to all parts of the building. The upper section houses the church bell, removed from the old sanctuary, now rung by an electric bell ringer. The bell, measuring twenty two inches in diameter, was cast in Troy, New York, in 1870. The lower portion of the tower is eighteen feet square at the base and is built of Colonial brick in colors ranging from brown to red. Walls at the base are solid masonry, sixteen inches thick. The tower tapers upward to a spire constructed of porcelain enamel panels, anchored to a steel frame. The spire is terminated by a satin aluminum cross eight feet in height. The exterior is Colonial brick trimmed in simulated limestone and wood, painted to match limestone. Paving brick walks leading to the tower entrance are flanked on one side by Early American post lanterns. The style of the building inside and out is Greek Revival.
The spacious tower vestibule and narthex has a Vermont flag stone floor laid in random pattern and variegated colors. This material also extends into the nave and chancel. Walls of the narthex from floor to ceiling are panelled in Colonial raised wood panels. The ceiling has a series of covered arches set at intervals over fluted pilasters. Two stairways lead from the narthex to the balcony.
The nave floor dimensions are forty six by eighty feet. The nave ceiling height is twenty seven feet. The total seating capacity of the sanctuary is over six hundred. Walls of nave have evenly spaced fluted pilasters of wood resting on molded wood pedestals. Slender Early American windows are evenly spaced between the pilasters. The windows are covered with rolling slat louvered linds and half circle traceries at the top. The balcony window is palladian.
Ceilings throughout the sanctuary are covered plaster of four different spans. The same radius is used for all spans. A classic cornice of molded plaster surround the sanctuary.
The altar rail is given the traditional location for Methodist Churches, just forward of the pulpit, and is set on a raised stone platform. The chancel is two fold in plan; first the choir section and second, the sanctuary section where the altar is placed. The choir section is developed with two equal bays. The first bay is flanked by organ cases composed of small pilasters, turned balusters and panels, and the second bay contains windows which match the nave windows and admit light into the chancel at each side.
At the intersection of the chancel and sanctuary twofree standing fluted columns are placed. These columns symbolize in that He was both human and divine.
Taken from Program on Opening of New Sanctuary, Sunday, January 15, 1961.