Contact Info Subscribe Links



all eyes on birmingham


National Association of Free Will Baptists
July 16-19, 2006, Birmingham, AL

Download Convention Housing Form or
Convention Pre-Registration Form

This summer, men, women, and children will flood the city of Birmingham for the 70th meeting of the National Association of Free Will Baptists. Those attending the annual event on July 16-19 will find a unique city, distinct in its history and heritage. Attendees will also have the opportunity to take part in Impact Birmingham, a historic one-day outreach event targeting the city of Birmingham.

NEW! Click here to view program, speakers, convention nominees, and special events.

The Magic City

Founded in 1871, Birmingham is a young city built on natural resources—coal, iron ore and limestone. A major crossroads in the South, the city grew so quickly that it became known as “The Magic City,” because so many writers said the city "appeared by magic.”

As a thriving industrial center (named for its counterpart in England), Birmingham was deeply affected by the Great Depression. Following World War II, however, the city blossomed again as medical research centers, engineering firms, and other industries replaced the iron and steel mills.

The 1960s tarnished the reputation of Birmingham forever with disturbing images of dogs and fire hoses turned on Civil Rights demonstrators. Although the horrors of the 1960s still haunt the city, Birmingham has risen above the past, creating a Civil Rights Institute and Museum and developing a reputation around the world as “the city that promotes human rights.”

Today, the city describes itself as “young, traditional, vibrant, friendly, and complex.” Consider the following interesting (and surprising) facts about Birmingham (found on the official tourism website):

  • Birmingham is Alabama's largest city.           

  • The University of Alabama at Birmingham's University Hospital is the world's top kidney transplant center (Birmingham News, Fall 2002).

  • In 2001, Birmingham took 10th place among U.S. cities on the annual list of Fortune 500 companies. (Fortune Magazine, April 2001)

  • In 1995 Mercedes Benz chose a site just east of Birmingham to build its first assembly plant outside Germany.

  • Birmingham is the only place in the world where all the ingredients for making iron—coal, iron ore and limestone—are found within a ten-mile radius.

  • Southern Living, the nation's most successful regional magazine, is published in Birmingham.

  • Birmingham is home to the nation's oldest baseball park, Rickwood Field. This park opened in 1910 and hosted baseball greats such as Jackie Robinson, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, and "Shoeless" Joe Jackson.

  • Saks, Inc, the nation's fourth largest department store chain, is headquartered in Birmingham and operates 330 stores in 24 states.

My Old Convention Home

Convention attendees should take advantage of reduced convention rates at one of three hotels this summer, the Sheraton Birmingham, the Tutwiler, and the Crowne Plaza Redmont. Download Convention Housing Form. Find a brief description of each hotel and its amenities below:

NEW! The Birmingham Radisson Hotel is offering a limited number of rooms to the convention. Act quickly. These rooms will not last long. Contact the hotel at (205) 933-9000.


The Sheraton Birmingham is Alabama's largest and most recognized convention hotel. Located in Birmingham's business district and connected by a covered skyway to the Birmingham/Jefferson Convention Complex, the hotel offers more than 350,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space


  • High Speed Internet Access

  • Coffee and Tea Maker

  • Indoor Heated Pool

  • Fitness Facility

  • Room Service

  • Laundry/Valet Service



With a sweeping circular drive and soaring columns, the historic Tutwiler Hotel was tailor made for special events. Built in the 1920s and lavishly restored in 2000, the hotel is a showplace in the heart of the Birmingham business district. Be sure to take advantage hotel specialties including verandah suites and chocolate-dipped strawberries.


  • Airport Shuttle Service

  • Fitness Center

  • Laundry

  • Meeting Space

  • Pets Allowed

  • Restaurant

  • Room Service

  • Suite



The Crowne Plaza is Birmingham's oldest operating hotel. The historic, renovated property is located in the heart of the Birmingham business, financial, and historic districts. The hotel offers breakfast, lunch and dinner in Grille 521. Other amenities include a fitness center and full-service business center.



  • High-speed Internet Access

  • Iron / Ironing Board

  • Coffee Maker

  • Fitness Center

  • Hairdryer

  • Dry Cleaning/Laundry



Birmingham is a diverse city. History buffs will be fascinated by the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute while golfers can accept the challenge of championship courses just minutes from downtown. Younger visitors will enjoy meeting the animals at the Birmingham Zoo. And what trip would be complete without a visit to a theme park (as parents and youth leaders groan). Enjoy the following brief tour of Birmingham’s attractions as you plan your trip.


Alabama's most popular not-for-profit attraction, The Birmingham Zoo draws more than 450,000 visitors annually. Approximately 750 animals of 250 species call the zoo home, including sea lions, cheetahs, and other endangered species from six continents. You will be fascinated by the variety of animals including bats, Koalas, and Black-Footed Penguins. Visit the Komodo Dragon and stroll through the fascinating interactive lorikeet aviary. Don’t miss the Hugh Kaul Children's Zoo, a $15 million exhibit dedicated to children and devoted to the animals and environment of Alabama. This new addition opened in April 2005 to coincide with the zoo’s 50th birthday celebration. Call (205) 879-0409 or visit for more information.


When you walk through the door of the Civil Rights Institute, you will step back in time to the 1960s and experience the historic struggle that took place in Birmingham. This gallery is more than a museum, however. It is known worldwide for its ongoing research into the arena of human rights. To find out more, call  (205) 328-9696 or visit the Institute online at


An icon of the Civil Rights Movement, the newly renovated Sixteenth Street Baptist Church is the site of the infamous 1963 bombing that killed four little girls and brought about national condemnation of racial violence. Call  (205) 251-9402 for more information.


Vulcan Park is home to the world's largest cast iron statue and features spectacular panoramic views of Birmingham. Located atop Red Mountain, the park is a reminder of Birmingham's history in the industry. The statue of Vulcan (mythological overseer of fire and forge) was built in 1904, standing as a symbol of Birmingham for more than 100 years. A 10-acre park surrounds the 56' high statue. Visitors can view the Birmingham skyline from an observation balcony high atop a pedestal more than 120 feet tall.

(THE ROSS BRIDGE COURSE Photo: Michael Clemmer—Golf Landscape Photography.)


Considered one of the world’s top golf destinations, the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail features 10 courses scattered across the state of Alabama, with 432 total holes of golf. Golf Digest called the Trail the world’s number one golf value destination in 2002. Golf Digest’s Best Places to Play 2004-2005 awarded an “outstanding” four stars or better to 17 of the 20 rated Trail courses.

Five courses of the Golf Trail lie within a short drive from Birmingham, including Ross Bridge and the three courses of Oxmoor Valley. Ross Bridge is a mammoth course, with 18 holes sprawling over 330 acres (almost 8,200 yards from the back tees). It meanders along the banks of two man-made lakes connected by a spectacular waterfall dropping 80 feet between the ninth and eighteenth greens. A gristmill added reflects the history of this old mining site. Many golfers have suggested that the course does not have a signature hole…but possibly eighteen.

Oxmoor Valley’s three courses feature scenic forests, numerous creeks and challenging elevation changes. The Ridge Course has rolling fairways, heavy tree cover, and extreme 150-foot elevation changes. The Valley Course is dotted with picturesque lakes and stretches two miles along a narrow valley. The 18th hole, a 441-yard par 4, rises to a dramatic finish with the historic clubhouse just behind the green. The Short Course is a delightful collection of 18 pure one-shotters with severe elevation changes. Nearly every hole plays downhill. Golf Digest described the course as one of the nation’s great values.

For more information about the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, call toll-fee (800) 949-4444 or visit


With rides like The Rampage (pictured left), Wild River Gorge, and The Hurricane, youth groups and kids will enjoy a day at Visionland theme park. A short drive from downtown Birmingham, the park offers group discounts on admission. Call a park representative at  (205) 481-4750 or visit the park's website at


©2005 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists