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RESOURCE CENTER AND ARCHIVES

Christian Valley Church marks 175 yearscomment (0)

November 19, 2009


Two things stood out to Pastor Matt Kelley as Christian Valley Baptist Church, Livingston, celebrated its 175th anniversary: its endurance and its outreach.

“You look back on 175 years, and you see what a staple the church is and how one-third of the members are under 30 years old, which shows us where the future is as well,” he said.

More than 125 people of all ages — nearly twice the Bigbee Baptist Association church’s average Sunday morning attendance of 75 — gathered Oct. 11 to celebrate the anniversary and homecoming.

On this special day, Lonette Berg, executive director of the Alabama Baptist Historical Commission, presented the church with a certificate, as did Bigbee Association’s Director of Missions Larry Potts.

The service was followed by an “old-timey picnic.” The game time afterward offered activities ranging from dominoes and horseshoes to table tennis and a Wii video game system.

Technically the church is 176 years old as it was established in 1833 by 11 charter members who named it Christian Valley because they believed everyone in the rural area near Livingston was a Christian.

Members were unable to celebrate the 175th anniversary last year, so they decided to dedicate this year to the observance.

Because records were somehow destroyed over time, specific details of the church’s past are sketchy.

However, one thing has survived the test of time — Christian Valley’s dedication to outreach.

About five years ago, Kelley began to visit students at nearby University of West Alabama. Now many students make the eight-mile trip to the church for services on Sunday mornings and Crossroads: Where Faith and Reality Meet on Wednesday evenings. Crossroads is a ministry targeting the 30 to 40 high school and college students who attend each Wednesday.

“We want to minister to them here and hope that they will take something from that,” Kelley said.

Some students have already received something eternal from their involvement in the ministry: salvation, said deacon and Sunday School director Joe Reed.

“It’s a home away from home for the students,” he noted. (TAB)

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