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Lineville’s Pine Grove marks 100 yearscomment (0)

December 17, 2009

For 25 years, Bobby Rice has witnessed how Pine Grove Baptist Church, Lineville, has served its rural community.

He estimated that only 100 people live within a three-mile radius of the church, but the way members reach out ensures that it is a close-knit community. They visit the sick, take food to residents during hard times and perform other acts of kindness.

“The church is like a family,” said Rice, who is among the 40 to 50 people who attend worship each Sunday. But Nov. 8, attendance swelled to approximately 150 for the celebration of Pine Grove Baptist’s 100th anniversary.

The church’s ability to prosper even though its membership is small is a testament to the attitude of the congregants, said Jim Barkley, Pine Grove’s pastor since March 2007.

“We’ve got the sweetest spirit in that small church,” he said, adding, “everybody is of one mind and accord, and there is great unity in the church.”

The anniversary service was particularly special to Barkley, as the message was brought by his son-in-law Terry C. Helms Jr. Ordained at Pine Grove, Helms now serves as pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church, Delta, in Clay Baptist Association.

The service also included a presentation by Linda Rodgers, a commissioner with the Alabama Baptist Historical Commission. It was followed by lunch and a singing by the Clay Masters, a bluegrass quartet from Clay County.
According to a history prepared for the church’s anniversary, an organizational gathering was conducted in 1909. The congregation’s first meeting place was Pine Grove School.

Almost two years after the organizational meeting, the church voted to construct a 40-by-60-foot building. That structure was used until the congregation voted in the 1930s to construct a new building on the same property. The second building is still in use today, though with a few alterations.

Some of the improvements to the church through the years have included replacing a wood heater with a gas heater in 1953 and adding four Sunday School rooms in 1959. Running water became operational in 1975, and indoor rest rooms were installed the following year. The building also received a brick façade.

Pine Grove’s modernization continued in 1981, with the installation of central heat and air. In 1988, a 24-by-48-foot fellowship hall with a baptistry was added. (TAB)

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