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FBC Oakman celebrates its 125-year history of ministrycomment (0)

September 2, 2010

Elmer Welch beams with pride as he mulls over the history of his church, First Baptist Church, Oakman. “I love history and I especially love the history of our church,” he said. Since 1885, the Walker Baptist Association church has been faithfully doing Kingdom work.

Welch and his wife, Martha, regularly update the church’s written history. The Welchs know that the pews were purchased back in 1913 and the church first got electric lights in 1920. According to Elmer Welch, the first pastorium was built in 1906 and the first budget was created in 1918, an annual budget of $1,200.

He has a personal connection to his church’s history. His wife is a descendant of one of the church’s founding families and is the longest tenured member. She has been part of the First, Oakman, family for more than 72 years.

On Aug. 15, the church celebrated its 125-year history. Keri Beth Brewer prepared a historical DVD presentation. Melanie Metz of the Alabama Baptist Historical Commission presented a plaque. The anniversary service included special music from John Wink and Betty Thomas and a message from former Pastor Randy Johnson. After the service, everyone enjoyed lunch.

First, Oakman, began in 1885 as Bays Gap Baptist Church through the vision of three men and their families: J.R. Sartain, A. Kilgore and J.B. Huckabee. By late 1886, the church had constructed a wooden frame building as its meetinghouse. In 1894, the name changed to First Baptist Church, Oakman. The current church facility was constructed in 1953.

Deacon Mike Brewer takes delight in the church’s decision to purchase a parcel of land and a house in Ukraine in 1995. A church that started in the house still gathers today. “First Baptist is small in numbers, but we keep on doing the Lord’s work,” he pointed out. Of course, the church’s community is home to only 950 people. But Pastor Bill Phillips still sees a bright future for First, Oakman.

“The fields here are white for harvest; we have plenty of space and we have opportunities for growth,” Phillips said.  (TAB)

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