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Wilton Church celebrates 125 yearscomment (0)

December 3, 2009

From its beginnings under a brush arbor in 1884 to its second home on the World Wide Web in 2009, much has changed during Wilton Baptist Church’s 125 years. 

But what hasn’t changed is its mission to carry out the Great Commission — a fact noted during the Shelby Baptist Association church’s anniversary service Sept. 27.

“Wilton Baptist Church has remained a body of believers standing ready for the trumpet call,” Minister to Students and Youth Kevin Peters wrote in the 125th memory book. “The numbers, faces and personalities may have changed over the years, but the goal has remained the same.”

Approximately 175 people — more than double the average attendance of 80 for Sunday worship — came to celebrate the church’s long history. The service included presentations by Charles Stroud, retired director of missions for Shelby Association; Pat Musselwhite, commissioner of the Alabama Baptist Historical Commission; April Price, town clerk of Wilton; and Vic Baker, field representative of Sen. Hank Erwin’s office.

Stroud, who has served as Wilton Baptist’s interim pastor twice, brought the morning message, and Uplifted were the featured musical guest. The church also commemorated the anniversary with a fellowship luncheon and the purchase of a new outdoor sign.

Laurel Burns, Wilton Baptist’s women’s ministry leader, said the celebration will be remembered for a lot of reasons — the special singing, the preaching of God’s Word and the outpouring of recognition from the community.

“But most of all, because we all gathered in that sanctuary and gave praises to the Lord for blessing us for 125 years and [pledged] to continue on until Jesus returns,” she added.

The church actually began celebrating the landmark anniversary Aug. 16 with a Youth Sunday. Over the weeks leading up to Sept. 27, the congregation welcomed back six former pastors to the pulpit: Richard Bryant, Sidney Cottingham, Scott Bush, Dennis Draper, Marion Corley and Steve Johnson.

Wilton Baptist began in the fall of 1884 when 30 people decided to meet for Bible study and worship under a brush arbor at what was known at that time as Sanders Field.

Sometime thereafter, the congregation began sharing a one-room schoolhouse with the local Methodist church, meeting on the second and fourth Sundays of each month.

In November 1909, Pastor Paul Caldwell encouraged the members of Wilton Baptist to build a sanctuary. The sanctuary was dedicated in 1922.

Since then, the church has added an education/multipurpose building, a brick pastorium and most recently, the outdoor sign.

“Amid all the calamities and trials of this world, Wilton Baptist Church (has) always remained an anchor point for the community,” Peters wrote. (TAB)

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