My new book METHODISM AND POLITICS IN THE 20TH CENTURY recalls that on Christmas Day 1941 President Franklin Roosevelt took visiting British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to worship at Foundry Methodist Church in Washington, D.C.. A lifelong practicing Episcopalian, FDR might have been expected to take Churchill to historic St. John’s Episcopal Church next to the White House. But FDR explained Churchill would enjoy singing with the “Methodysts,” humorously emphasizing the last syllable.
How would the upstate New York patrician be familiar with Methodists or their singing? He had attended Foundry Methodist before, as seen in this photo of his family outside the church on Christmas 1935: http://www.apimages.com/OneUp.aspx?st=k&kw=franklin%20roosevelt%20and%20methodist&showact=results&sort=relevance&page=1&intv=None&sh=10&kwstyle=or&adte=1337983792&pagez=60&cfasstyle=AND&rids=bb909371b4254ee79a38562da3df4f3b&dbm=PY2000&xslt=1&mediatype=Photo
And shortly after becoming president, FDR spoke at the Methodist church near his Hyde Park, New York home, sharing some history about the church and its community: http://docs.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/php92933.html
But FDR did not likely much if ever attend the Methodist church at Hyde Park since he was so regular and prominent at nearby St. James Episcopal, as pictured here:
Recently I visited FDR’s “Little White House” in Warm Springs, where he died in 1945, and which he had built as a retreat. The docents there did not know where FDR regularly attended church but suggested he likely did at the chapel he raised funds to build at the nearby Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for fellow polio victims. This chapel, built during his presidency, was staffed by an Episcopal clergy.
But FDR began visiting Warm Springs in 1924 in search of relief from his polio. While in Warm Springs, I purchased a 1977 book called The Squire of Warm Springs by Theo Lippman. It briefly mentions that in the 1920s there was no Episcopal Church in Warm Springs, so FDR would attend the Methodist and Baptist churches. More research is needed, but FDR probably gained a liking for the “Methodysts” and their singing at a small Methodist church in Georgia. The online history of Trinity United Methodist Church in nearby Durand, GA mentions that FDR spoke there shortly after first coming to Warm Springs.