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RESOURCE CENTER AND ARCHIVES

FBC Greenhill honors, displays 150 years of church historycomment (0)

August 6, 2009


The attendance of First Baptist Church, Greenhill, swelled significantly May 24 as current and former members and well-wishers gathered to celebrate 150 years of ministry.

Normally about 160 people worship at this Colbert-Lauderdale Baptist Association church on Sunday mornings. But that day, there were 227.

The celebration included greetings from local elected officials and presentations by Eddy Garner, director of missions for Colbert-Lauderdale Association, and Keith Hinson, an associate in the communication services office of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions.

“One of the biggest ‘hits’ of the celebration was a history room,” said Pastor Gregg Woodard.

On display were historic items like the original church bell, an oil lantern used in one of the first buildings, treasurer’s books with handwritten entries from the late 1800s and photos of early members, former church buildings and baptisms in a nearby creek.

John Green, a member of First, Greenhill, since 1965, can well recall those creek baptisms before the church got its own baptistry, which now is seeing regular use, as the church is reaping the harvest of being in an area that is growing.

In May 1859, 10 people established the church, which originally was called Union Grove Missionary Baptist Church. It shared a building with another congregation in the North Carolina community of Lauderdale County and alternated Sundays, according to Woodard.

At the beginning of the 20th century, a new church was built near Richardson Creek. In 1921, the congregation moved to a nearby site close to Stutts Cemetery on Bridge Road. There was even a time, while at this location, that a truck was used to transport members and visitors to church.

In 1942, an arbor revival was held in the vicinity of the church’s current location in the Greenhill community, about three miles from the Stutts Cemetery site. A second successful arbor revival followed soon after, leading the church to move to this location in 1943. Woodard said this move put the church closer to the majority of people attending its services.

Four years later, the church’s name was changed to First Baptist Church, Greenhill. The congregation met only twice a month until 1952, when it began having weekly services. Not long afterward, an education building with indoor rest rooms was added to the existing sanctuary and six classrooms. By 1967, a new sanctuary and family life center were completed.

Woodard said the intent of the recent celebration “was to call attention not only to the past history of the church but also the dynamic ministry and worship of the church today.”  (TAB)

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