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Andersonís Bethel Church celebrates 100 yearscomment (0)

July 16, 2009

By Gary Hardin

Bethel Baptist Church, Anderson, is 100, and Ila Pearl Rosson has been part of the church for all but its first 14 years.

“My parents started taking me to the church when I was an infant,” Rosson said of her introduction to the Colbert-Lauderdale Baptist Association church.

Since then, she has missed only a few services, giving her a near perfect attendance record over those 86 years. In the early days, Rosson’s family rode to church in a wagon pulled by a mule. As a teen, she walked several miles twice on Sundays to attend services at the church that her grandparents helped organize in a school building in Union Hill in 1909.

On May 17, 2009, as Bethel Baptist celebrated its 100th anniversary, the congregation also recognized Rosson for her faithful church attendance.

During the anniversary service, Allen Jeffreys, the chair of and a commissioner with the Alabama Baptist Historical Commission, presented the church with a plaque commemorating its century of service.

Eddy Garner, Colbert-Lauderdale Association’s director of missions, spoke, and Bill Barlow, Bethel’s pastor, delivered the morning message. Hal Putman, Bethel’s music director, produced a video history of the church.
Church records indicate 20 pastors have shepherded Bethel during its 100 years.

“I really love it,” Barlow said of his first pastorate. “God called me to the ministry when I was [37] years old. For a time in my life, I walked in the world. The Lord took all those things away. I’ve never looked back.”

Bethel’s first building, constructed in 1910 in Union Hill, served the congregation until 1947. At that time, a brick facility was built a mile away in Anderson. Over the years, several additions were made to this building. In 1955, Sunday School rooms were added. In 1967, the first baptistry was installed. In the early 1970s, new steps, rest rooms and a porch were added. In 1985, a new sanctuary was built.

Now the church is focusing on adding more people.

“We’re just a little country church that wants to grow,” said deacon Harral Thacker. “We have set a goal of having an attendance of 200 by the end of 2010.”

To help reach this goal, the church — which currently has an average Sunday worship attendance of 75 — began an Awana ministry in 2007 and a children’s worship ministry in 2008. In addition, outreach teams make visits and mail cards to prospects in the community, and a meals-on-wheels ministry provides food to those who need it.

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