Church in the Pines & Chapel

Church services are held each Sunday from 9:00 AM until 9:30 AM. We have services at Church in the Pines, our outdoor amphitheater, during the warmer months and have services at Children’s Chapel during the cooler months. Services include speakers from all over the area and special music each Sunday. Dress is casual. Docking facilities are available for those coming by boat.

Ways to give

When you choose to tithe at Church in the Pines or Children’s Chapel, you choose to

  • Text PINES to 41411 and follow the instructions texted back to you.
  • Memorial and Honor cards- With a donation of at least $10 a card we will notify a family or person that a donation was given in their honor or in memory of their loved one. No mention of the amount is made.

Follow @childrensharbor and request to join the “Church in the Pines and Children’s Chapel” private group to stay in the loop.

Contact info: 334-857-2133


Church in the Pines Guest Speakers

Click on the left photo to view the lineup of guest speakers for our upcoming Church in the Pines Sunday services. You can also view them in our events calendar here. We hope to see you there!

Church in the Pines & Chapel History

Our little Church in the Pines began in 1953, under a small, pine straw covered arbor, on the shoreline (750 mi) of a yet undiscovered and rather new Lake Martin in Alexander City, AL. Julia Russell organized and convened the first service with the help of the reverend Duncan Hunter. Church in the Pines became, pretty much, a certainty; a guarantee, none-the-less, of remaining “down at the lake” all day on Sunday. The services, with time, took on a non-denominational and ever more sophisticated format. The most unique aspect of this little church was, however, the fact that many of the congregation arrived in a rather motley collection of boats.

In the early days the property was owned by “Russell Mills” and in 1956 they constructed a large, open, a-frame building to replace the pine straw covered arbor that was the original in the mid-70’s Russell Lands, Inc. took over responsibility for the property. the church was then renovated, and permanent benches were installed. In 1987 Mrs. Julia asked Mrs. Luanne Russell to begin coordinating the services – which she did for many years thereafter and continues, to this day, to advise management in regard thereto.

In 1963, friends of the Dunn family contributed the altar structure as a memorial to William Ransom Johnson Dunn, III – and to “all who love the lake.” Russell Lands donated the entire property to Children’s Harbor Inc., in 1989; subsequently, same was dedicated to the memory of Adelia McConnell Russell.  In 1990, Children’s Harbor Inc., put on the mantle of responsibility, now providing year-round services, either in the Church in the Pines or in the Children’s Chapel.

Church in the Pines is one of the most unique worship services in this country and it is deeply embedded in the hearts of hundreds (for over 65 years now) and reverently remembered by thousands. Innumerable couples have been married in the two facilities, as well.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this ministry of Children’s Harbor,
— Ben Russell