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RESOURCE CENTER AND ARCHIVES

Montevallo church marks anniversary with ground breaking for sanctuarycomment (0)

September 14, 2006

By Susan Chaffin Goggins


Legend has it that the cross of Jesus Christ was made from a dogwood tree, so it was doomed to grow small and twisted with reminders of the crucifixion borne on its flowers. The flower’s four petals form a cross, while their brown tips resemble blood stains. Some even say the flower’s center slightly resembles the crown of thorns.
   
While a reminder of Christ’s sacrifice, for Dogwood Grove Baptist Church, Montevallo, the tree is also a rich reminder of the church’s 150-year history. On Aug. 13, the Shelby Baptist Association church marked its sesquicentennial with a ground-breaking ceremony and hosted Rick Lance, executive director of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, as its guest speaker.
   
Although Dogwood Grove Baptist has seen various building programs and renovations in its lifetime, it still meets near its original gathering place from which the church took its name, a brush arbor in a dogwood grove. 
   
With the recent ground breaking, the church has kicked off a sanctuary expansion, adding wings to each side of the current sanctuary and almost doubling its seating capacity to 450. 
   
In the eight years that Todd Burr has been pastor, he has seen the congregation grow tremendously, from 26 members to 185.
   
Burr attributes this growth and the church’s longevity to its being missions-minded and “committed to the Cooperative Program” (CP). Dogwood Grove Baptist regularly contributes 17.5 percent of its budget through the CP and meets community benevolence needs.
   
“The members here have been, and still are, 100 percent committed to the cause of Christ in good times and bad,” he said. “We are committed to Kingdom-building.” 
   
Like its namesake the dogwood tree, Dogwood Grove Baptist also has its roots deeply planted in its community, Burr said. The church has a visitation program and holds block parties and Vacation Bible School (VBS). 
   
“We also support missions work in our county through our Shelby Baptist Association, and we are involved in projects on state and international levels through the North American and International mission boards,” he said.
   
Dan Johnson, longtime member, deacon and trustee, said that existing church records reveal the history of community ministries with records of the first VBS being held in 1925 and a Woman’s Missionary Union group being formed in 1939. 
   
Burr said the church is looking to the future with a vision to “keep our eyes fixed on the Lord, our God; follow His leading; and stay in the ‘people business.’ Let’s always keep reaching out.”

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