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Our History

About 1In 1872, the new city of Birmingham grew quickly after the Elyton Land Company established a new industrial center in what was formerly undeveloped land. Bishop Richard Hooker Wilmer sent Philip Fitts to serve area congregations in the new city. With the 16 Episcopalians he found in Birmingham, Fitts began meeting at the corner lot sold to this young congregation for $5.00. By 1893, the church’s worship space, the Nave, was completed and welcomed worshippers. The first Lenten Preaching Series began in 1908, the Advent Episcopal School opened in 1950, and the Advent became the Cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama in 1982. Various renovations and building projects added spaces and expanded the school through the years, along with our Cranmer House and Advent House satellite locations. In 2022, Craig Smalley was called as Dean and Rector and began to lead our downtown Birmingham church family.

For those interested, the beautiful book Witnesses to the Light: An Adventure into God’s Workmanship, Past, Present, and Future by John Harris Harper provides a detailed description of the architectural and visible history of our downtown church building. Copies are available in the Advent Bookstore. 


About 2Our church is a gospel-centered church in the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama, as a part of the Anglican Communion. We have a living, daring confidence in God’s grace that is evident in our programs and ministries. Holding to what the biblical Letter of Jude calls “the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints,” this gospel-focus finds the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ ever and only at the center. 

The most comprehensive summation of our traditional Anglican doctrine may be found in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion

We find our theology expressing itself through our four hearts.

A heart for the gospel

We are passionate about proclaiming the transformative reality of Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. As a gathered body of sinners, we hope all who come will experience the power of the gospel, which is the power of God for salvation to all who believe.

A heart for those who have not heard the gospel​

There are billions of people in the world (many of whom live in Birmingham) who have never heard the gospel. Abiding in Christ and his word, with compassion for others, we seek ways to share the message of Christ’s love with those who have never heard it.

A heart for those who have been burned by the church

For whatever reason, many have been hurt by the church. We hope to be a place where those who have been burned will find comfort and strength from the gospel. 

A heart for the city of Birmingham

The Advent has been a presence in Birmingham since its formation in 1872. We continue a rich heritage of bringing the transforming power of grace to those in need around us, and we work to bless the city through the arts, historical preservation, and community involvement. Believing that the gospel touches all areas of life and we have a heart for the city where God has called us to serve.