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Springville’s Oak Grove Church celebrates centennialcomment (0)

December 3, 2009

By Greg Heyman

The ties that Bonnie Chamblee and her family have to Oak Grove Baptist Church No. 1, Springville, date back to its beginnings in 1909.

It was Chamblee’s grandfather J.W. Williams, along with W.N. Peed, who helped establish the church a century ago. Williams became one of Oak Grove Baptist’s first deacons and Peed the first pastor.

The church observed its 100th anniversary Oct. 25, with a celebration that included music by the Royal Masters quartet, recognition by St. Clair Baptist Association and lunch.

Approximately 90 people attended the centennial service. The average attendance for Sunday morning worship is 50.

Steve Sullivan, Oak Grove Baptist’s pastor for the past three years, believes the members’ great love for each other is the reason the church has flourished for 100 years.

“People feel welcome and loved when they come to this church. The members are really open to visitors ... and they have a good fellowship,” he said.

Church member Doris Lewis attributes Oak Grove Baptist’s longevity to the members’ faithfulness to the Great Commission.

“People who wanted to put out an effort to share the Word of God have kept the church going,” Lewis said.

Her grandfather J.B. Horton is one example. He served as pastor in the 1940s. Lewis was a young child then, but she remembers that Horton did not own a car and depended on others to drive him the seven miles to the church. On days when no transportation was available, he would walk to assure there would be a service that morning.

Oak Grove Baptist was actually organized Aug. 27, 1909. Sullivan explained that the anniversary celebration was held in October this year so that the temperature would be cooler for outdoor activities.

Information in “The History of Springville, Alabama,” by Margaret Forman, indicates that in its early years, the church shared a meeting place with Pleasant Hill Methodist Church. It was a schoolhouse on Canoe Creek Road, which is just a short distance from Oak Grove Baptist’s current location on Oak Grove Road.

The property occupied by today’s church building was deeded to Oak Grove Baptist on March 7, 1918. It was purchased for $1 from J.L. Forman and his wife, Laura.

The first church built on that property was a one-room structure. A basement was dug later for Sunday School rooms. The current building was constructed in the 1970s, and an addition was completed in the late 1980s. The sanctuary was renovated and a baptistry added in 1995.

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