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Reformís Liberty Baptist Church commemorates 175 yearscomment (0)

August 6, 2009

Although stagecoach was not the mode of transportation used by those attending the 175th anniversary of Liberty Baptist Church, Reform, on May 24, a stagecoach depot was remembered that day for its special role in the church’s history.

That is because a stagecoach changing station on the route between Tuscaloosa and Columbus, Miss., almost 200 years ago contributed to the growth of this Pickens Baptist Association church.

When the church formed May 4, 1834, with Richard Wilkins as the first pastor, services were held outside near the station, but cold weather moved the church meetings inside the station. Liberty Baptist met only on the fourth Sunday of the month until September 1955. Then the second and fourth Sundays were designated for worship services. In July 1962, the congregation voted to hold services each week.

The church moved from the station to a log cabin and subsequently to a wood-frame building in the 1890s. The structure was replaced in 1969 with one featuring a sanctuary, as well as educational, fellowship and office space. The congregation continues to meet in this building.

The anniversary celebration drew 60 people, five times the normal Sunday worship attendance. “It was a really good turnout. The weather was kind of dreary, and we were thinking that there might not be that good of a turnout but we were surprised,” said Kenneth Smith, who has served as pastor since 1983.

Longtime member Alton Lowe added, “It was special in that we got a lot of people that used to be members and lived in the community that came back. It was a good time to get to know people again.”

Gary Farley, director of missions for Pickens Association, delivered the message and presented a commemorative plaque to Liberty.

The day also included a fellowship lunch; music by the group Travel-Aires, of Northport; recognition of military veterans; and recollections by church members. (TAB)

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