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RESOURCE CENTER AND ARCHIVES

Blue Eye Baptist Church marks 175 years of ministry in Lincolncomment (0)

May 14, 2009

By Stefanie Glass


On March 22, the usual Sunday morning worship attendance of Blue Eye Baptist Church, Lincoln, more than doubled as people gathered to mark its 175th anniversary.

About 145 people came together that day to celebrate how this Coosa River Baptist Association church has served the Lord for nearly two centuries.

The anniversary celebration included a morning service led by Pastor Harold Hazel as well as a luncheon, special music and testimonies from current and past members. Among the presentations that day were a written greeting from Alabama Gov. Bob Riley and a resolution from the Alabama Senate.

“It was just a good day,” Hazel said.

Member Connie O’Dell can attest to the fact that the church’s influence has been felt one generation after another.

She represents the fourth of six generations of her family to call the church home. She served as chairwoman of the anniversary celebration committee.

O’Dell said that in 1834, before the town of Lincoln was founded, William McCain and four others felt the need to start a church. At the time, the area was called Kingstown.

“The original structure was a large wooden room with a fireplace on one side,” O’Dell said. That building was used as the church for nearly 100 years.

“Then, in 1933, the old church was torn down and a new church was constructed,” she continued.

“In 1947 and 1956, Sunday School rooms were added. On Jan. 1, 1960, the congregation broke ground for this building in which we now worship. The members of the church built all three structures,” she said.

A few years later, a fellowship hall, more Sunday School rooms and a pastor’s study were added, which likewise were completed by church members.

According to O’Dell, the church was busy nearly every day of the week at one point in its history, serving as a school for area children.

Also in Blue Eye Baptist’s early days, members were encouraged “to follow a strict code of conduct or risk being called before the bar of the church.” O’Dell said behaviors such as drunkenness and church absences were brought before a church committee.

Hazel noted other differences in the past as well, such as needing individuals to guard the horses during services to keep them from being stolen.

Plus “the Indian kids would come and sit outside the building to listen to the church service and singings,” he said.

While many things have changed through the years, some things have remained the same. All-day singings, for example, started in 1919 and continue to be an annual event. Also Vacation Bible School was begun there in the 1950s and is still a priority during the summer. Most importantly, Hazel pointed out, the loyalty and love of the members have maintained a constant presence.

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