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Ozark’s Ridgecrest Church celebrates 50 yearscomment (0)

June 24, 2010

Members of Ridgecrest Baptist Church, Ozark, made sure their church was dressed to impress on its 50th anniversary. Hedges were clipped, lawns were mowed, carpets were cleaned and furniture was polished as they gathered for a cleaning day May 15, nearly three weeks before the celebration. The grounds were readied for the festivity and extra attention was paid to the roses in the church’s Memory Garden.

The homecoming service celebrated the Dale Baptist Association church’s golden anniversary June 6. Brother and sister Beth Roberts Thompson and Wesley Roberts began the service with special music, and the Alabama Baptist Historical Commission presented a plaque to the church. Several charter members still attend Ridgecrest Baptist. Those who were there were recognized and wore polo shirts that had been specially embroidered for the 50th anniversary. The church also took the time to recognize prior staff including Harmon Naberhuis who served as pastor, Carl Gassett who served as music minister and Cheryl Brown who served as pianist.

Geraldine Byrd, a charter member, read a letter she wrote giving the congregation a brief history of the church. While she read, a slideshow of more than 200 pictures was played on the screen dating back from day one in the church’s history.

Jim Hill, current pastor of Ridgecrest, said the crowd was much larger than usual, because of all the guests and prior members who returned for the celebration service. Hill has been a part of Ridgecrest’s history pastoring for nearly 12 years. From the time he came in September 1988, the congregation has grown from 40 to nearly 300.

Upon reaching 50 years as a church body Hill said, “I challenge [our congregation] to look outward not inward,” during this time of reflection.

“There is a lot going on for families and individuals, but we always strive to reach out to the community,” he said.

Three years ago Ridgecrest’s sanctuary sat less than 200 people. On March 31, 2007, the church completed a new sanctuary building that seats 500. Hill said they hope to grow and fill the new sanctuary.

The homecoming celebration was followed by a lunch on the grounds. Guests and members alike were also able to tour the buildings, especially the sanctuary and remodeled Sunday School rooms.

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