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Chunchula’s Gulfcrest Church marks centennial milestonecomment (0)

September 17, 2009

Because much of the recorded history of Gulfcrest Baptist Church, Chunchula, has been lost or damaged over time, people tend to rely on longtime member Audrey Mitchell to fill in the missing pieces. With her sharp memory, Mitchell can recall the majority of the Mobile Baptist Association church’s 100 years of existence.

During the church’s centennial celebration Aug. 2, the 91-year-old was recognized as its oldest member. “I didn’t expect that,” she said. “I’ve been to church all my life, and that’s just part of my life.”

Mitchell became a member of Gulfcrest Baptist in 1937 after marrying her first husband. His parents, Travis and Eleanor George, gave the land on which to construct the church building in 1909.

A storm in 1916 destroyed the building and all church records.

The process of rebuilding was slow because of a lack of funds, according to lifelong member Ruby Hendry. Members met in a home until 1933, when a new church building was completed.

In 1960, a young man named Louis Scott became pastor and motivated members to build again.

“We had a building committee that drew the design with just pen and pencil,” Scott said. “We called for a work day, and members poured the foundation for the new building by hand on Nov. 20, 1960, just a few feet from the old building.”

The building project halted though, as Scott went away to school in 1962. Not until he returned in 1966 did construction continue. In 1969, the church building was finally completed. Gathering in that building, a capacity crowd welcomed Scott back as the speaker for the anniversary celebration.

 As part of the celebration, Grace Trio, a group from Haven Woods Baptist Church, Semmes, performed. Chuck Davis, church development director of Mobile Association, presented a framed certificate and Lonette Berg, executive director of the Alabama Baptist Historical Commission, presented a plaque to Gulfcrest. After the morning service, attendees enjoyed lunch, followed by a Grace Trio concert.

“I think, for the church, it was a good day,” Scott said. “God has supplied for their every need, as they have supplied the spiritual needs of the community.”

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