Our Story

The Abbey is an Episcopal Church in the Avondale neighborhood of Birmingham, AL. We believe that Jesus calls us to be radical in our hospitality and generosity and to seek and serve Christ in all people. We observe that the Holy Spirit is most active outside the walls of traditional church institutions. We would love to host you at worship on Sundays at 4:00 p.m.

In 2014, Bishop Sloan called on the Diocese to “sing a new song to the Lord.” The Abbey was initiated as a new church that would meet in a nontraditional space and reach out to people typically underrepresented in the Episcopal Church. On Valentine’s Day, 2015, we opened a coffee shop, offering a “3rd space” ministry to anyone who needed a place to rest, study, or chat. We chose to locate our shop in one of Birmingham’s “in-between spaces” – a block of 41st Street South that tends to act as a buffer between the gentrifying neighborhood of cool restaurants and one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. Over the years our worshiping community and baristas created a ministry called “Saint Martha’s Table,” giving a free cup of coffee and a grilled cheese sandwich to anyone in need. We also began hosting a monthly pay-as-you-can brunch that fed a diversity of God’s people in body, mind, and spirit. That ministry has evolved into our volunteer-led Community Breakfasts, which are also pay-as-you-can and happen each weekday from 8-9 a.m..

In June of 2019, we decided to close our coffee business and live more fully into our identity as a church community. We worship God at the Holy Eucharist on Sundays at 4:00pm, and host a variety of small groups and classes throughout the week. We continue to seek that place where, in the words of Frederick Buechner, our “deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

What We Believe

The Abbey is an Episcopal Church, which is the American branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Our beliefs are best stated in the Nicene Creed (insert link) and the Baptismal Covenant. In the Baptismal Covenant, we promise, with God’s help, to:

 

  • continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of the bread, and in the prayers
  • persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever we fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord
  • proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ
  • seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbor as ourselves
    strive for justice and peace among all, people, and respect the dignity of every human being

We use the Book of Common Prayer and the Revised Common Lectionary, and we observe the traditional liturgical seasons.