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Camp Hill Baptist Church marks 125th yearcomment (0)

November 9, 2006

By Bethany Dye Akridge

A look back in time helped fuel the fire for Camp Hill Baptist Church’s bright future as the church celebrated its 125th anniversary Sept. 24.
The service began on the church’s front lawn with a drama set in 1891, the year the Tallapoosa Baptist Association church paid off its building and was officially chartered. Actors dressed in period clothing arrived in a horse and buggy, on horseback or on foot as Pastor Jeff Hardin read the church history. Camp Hill Baptist was first formed Sept. 23, 1881.
The more than 300 people in attendance then adjourned to the sanctuary, where Thomas E. Corts, former Samford University president, delivered a challenge to church members to continue in the rich history left by their founding members.
Calvin Milford, Chambers County district court judge, also presented Camp Hill Baptist with a plaque in commemoration of the anniversary. 
Hardin said Camp Hill Baptist started because a group of Christians wanted to be a “light in the wilderness” and remembering these ambitious beginnings can help fuel the passion of today’s church members.
“Reflecting on all the hard work that has been done through the years has been fuel to the fire,” he said. “Our history serves as a reminder of the importance of why we’re here.”
The anniversary celebration also served as the church’s homecoming, complete with fellowship with longtime friends and dinner on the grounds.
Albert Hovey, a member of Camp Hill Baptist for more than 40 years, said he was encouraged by getting to visit with the older members he credits for laying the foundation for the church.
“I personally grow from being associated with these old saints and fellowshipping with them,” Hovey said. “Through the years, they always met the challenges. Though the community has changed, the church is still thriving. The church remains a shining light in the community.” 
According to Hardin, the church still strives to carry out the “light in the wilderness” vision of its charter members, as much of the area Camp Hill Baptist serves is not churched. 
“Where there is no vision, the people perish,” he said, quoting Proverbs 29:18. “We have vision and God is working in many people’s lives.”
Hardin said that in 2006, the church is emphasizing Intentional Evangelism — sharing the gospel by building relationships and telling each person’s testimony. 
He said the church is also working on a purpose statement and has committed to help a struggling area church. 
“It’s good to look back on markers in a church history and in a Christian’s life to see what God has done,” Hardin said. “We believe God is ready to do even more.”

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