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Andalusia’s Harmony Baptist Church celebrates 150 years of ministrycomment (0)

December 17, 2009

By Rose Walker

God did not put a 500-seat facility in a rural community for people not to come,” said Diane Colvin, a member of Harmony Baptist Church, Andalusia.

And come they did when the Covington Baptist Association church celebrated its 150th anniversary earlier this year. The sanctuary, which usually hosts between 200 and 225 in morning worship services, was nearly full that day.

During the anniversary celebration, several guests offered congratulations to the church, which was constituted in 1859. Larry Cummings, director of missions for Covington Association, presented proclamations from the association and the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions. Don Donald, a commissioner with the Alabama Baptist Historical Commission, presented a plaque honoring Harmony Baptist for 150 years of ministry. Other acknowledgments were sent by Gov. Bob Riley, Rep. Seth Hammett, Sen. Jimmy Holley and State Treasurer Kay Ivey.

For the service that day, Pastor Greg Cotter gave the pulpit to guest speaker Richard Collier, who was called to preach while a member of the church. He now lives in Elba and does evangelistic work. He used Luke 24 — the story of Jesus and the disciples on the road to Emmaus — to challenge Harmony to go forth for the next 150 years.

Roger McLain, who served 17 years as Harmony’s minister of music, returned to lead worship. He and his daughter Kelly McCollough sang solos. Presently McLain serves at Westview Baptist Church, Opp, in Covington Association.

A luncheon followed and that afternoon, members and guests could view historical documents and artifacts on display, said Colvin, who served as chairwoman of the anniversary committee.

While the celebration marked the church’s longevity, it also was a time to recognize two 95-year-old members: William Goodson and Vera Bell Melvin.

Goodson was reared, saved and ordained at Harmony and then served as the church’s pastor from 1948 to 1952.

While Melvin now resides at Elba General Hospital Nursing Home and was unable to attend the celebration, Goodson was one of two former pastors in attendance. The other, Edwin Patterson, served Harmony from 1967 to 1969.

Two other former pastors were represented by their sons. Lamar Harris, son of the first full-time pastor, W.G. “Gordon” Harris (1958–1961), attended the event and shared his memories. David Seal of Colorado, son of Thomas J. Seal, who was pastor from 1961 to 1965, sent a letter recounting his memories of the church.

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