The Macon City Board of Missions, after months of planning, sponsored the organization of Riverside Methodist Church. On Easter Sunday, April 21, 1957, Bishop Arthur Moore, Rev. Tom Whiting, District Superintendent, and other church leaders met with a group of prospective members on a 9 ½ acre lot on Pierce Avenue, Macon, Georgia. The site was selected by the Rev. Whiting and Rev. David G. Mann and was purchased for $40,000 from Dr. and Mrs. Charles T. Rumble. At the 1967 Annual Conference, Rev. J. Harold Beaty, a native of Macon, was sent to become the first pastor of Riverside United Methodist Church.
The first worship service was conducted at Burden Chapel of the Methodist Home for Children on June 16, 1957, where 71 persons came forward to unite as a new congregation. By the next Sunday, church school classrooms had been set up in several buildings of the Methodist Home and Riverside was on its way. By Charter Sunday, November 3, 1957, the membership consisted of 362 members.
In the Spring of 1958, the church engaged the architectural firm of Jackson R. Holliday to prepare an over-all church plan. After many months of preparation, the Macon-Bibb County Planning and Zoning Committee approved a plan for the construction of a $400,000 Educational Building and Fellowship Hall at the church site.
The first building to be constructed was the Scout Hut, which is still in operation and houses Boy Scout Troop 8 and Cub Scout Pack 8. On February 21, 1960, groundbreaking ceremonies were conducted for the main building, and construction began the following day. The first worship service was held on December 18, 1960, in the Fellowship Hall with Rev. J. Harold Beaty presiding.
In 1974, a Building Committee was activated to realize the dream of building a new sanctuary. After several years of preliminary survey and preparation, the groundbreaking ceremony was held on Easter Sunday 1976. 19 months later on November 13, 1977, the first service was held in the new sanctuary. The church bell was given by Marvin and Christine Jones in memory of their son, Dr. Bobby Jones, MIA in Viet Nam.
After 25 years, the church needed to expand the Fellowship Hall area and the administration offices, install an elevator, and look for a special space for their Children’s Ministry. On October 2, 2005, the congregation met on the grounds by the administration building for a groundbreaking ceremony. On February 9, 2007, in the 50th Anniversary year, the new additions were opened.
Just as the people in 1957 were looking to the future, we still look to the future excitedly anticipating what God has in store for us next.