City Road Chapel United Methodist Church is believed to be an outgrowth of a service conducted by the Rev. Green Hill, July 3, 1796, on the Cumberland River banks at Neely’s Lick. The recorded history begins with the building of a house of worship in the summer of 1848. Located in the middle of what is now Madison, it was named City Road Chapel after John Wesley’s first church in London. In an article that fall, the Christian Advocate talked about the new church saying, “Its doors will ever be open to the true worshippers, and we pray its altar fires may ever burn pure incense of prayer and praise.”
A few years after the Civil War, with the building in bad repair and the congregation dwindling, City Road Chapel united with McFerrin’s Chapel in a new church down Neely’s Bend Road called Midway. The church opened in 1872. There were complaints that the location was not convenient, however, and after the Midway building burned in 1899, a new church was built at the present site and re-named City Road Chapel.
An annex of nine rooms for educational use was built on the north side in 1923. In 1936, it was decided to build a large stone basement foundation and later erect a new sanctuary above it. Within a year, the basement foundation had been built. Construction on the sanctuary (our present place of worship) was started promptly, with the cornerstone laid May 15, 1938.
In 1950, the congregation voted to tear down the 1899 building to make way for a three-story education unit. Another three-story education building was completed in 1968.
On November 29, 1992, the congregation accepted the Building Committee’s recommendation of a multipurpose building and renovations to the older portions of the church. Groundbreaking for the new Fellowship Center was held on July 4, 1993, and the structure was completed in the spring of 1994. It contains space to serve 500 meals, a kitchen for meal preparation, a permanent stage, an elevated walking track, facilities for volleyball and basketball, and an elevator from the parking lot to the main (second) floor.
Throughout the years, City Road has ministered to the community and is living its mission statement “Growing in Christ, Sharing God’s Love.” With the high level of activity at City Road Chapel, there is little doubt that the Christian Advocate’s prediction in 1848 has come true—“Its doors will ever be open.”