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FBC Talladega reflects on 175 years of ministry, looks forward to futurecomment (0)

June 17, 2010

By Greg Heyman

One hundred and seventy-five years — that’s a lot of lives that have been touched,” Terry Barksdale said of the ministry of First Baptist Church, Talladega.

The Coosa River Baptist Association church celebrated its heritage May 30.

Approximately 350 people attended the celebration, compared to an average worship attendance of more than 250, according to Barksdale, minister of music and senior adults.

“We had several folks who came in from out of town and lots of adults who had been raised in the church that were here with their families,” he said.

Rick Lance, executive director of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, delivered the message.

A history of First, Talladega, was prepared by Lela Locklin, a member since June 1965. The history tells of the church’s various locations and name changes and the role it played in events related to Baptist life in the state.

The church was begun by 10 members in 1835, and its first building was located at the corner of Spring and North streets. The congregation moved to a new building approximately five blocks away on East Street in 1873 and met in the basement until renovations on the upper floor could be completed in 1878.

In February 1933, the congregation moved to its current meeting place on North Street, just two blocks from the East Street location and seven blocks from its original site.

A new sanctuary was added to the property in December 1948. The former worship center is still used as a chapel that Barksdale said was renovated in conjunction with the anniversary.

The history also notes that the Alabama Baptist State Convention met at the church in 1841, 1857, 1878 and 1888. During that first meeting, a discussion was held about the establishment of what would become Samford University.

Barksdale said the church once commanded a large membership. “In 1954, the membership peaked at 1,515 members and from 1975 to 1984, exceeded 1,300 members,” he said.

While she enjoyed seeing old friends return for the anniversary celebration, Locklin said the celebration was really about the new things God is going to do in the life of First, Talladega.

“The Lord has done great things in this church, and He’s going to do great things from now on,” she said.

“And I think one of the advantages of looking at the past is so you can be inspired to go on and continue the work and to give God the glory.”

James McCain is interim pastor of First, Talladega.

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