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RESOURCE CENTER AND ARCHIVES

Madison Association church marks 75th anniversary with celebrationcomment (0)

August 3, 2006

By Linda Lyle


Members of Murphy Hill Baptist Church, Toney, in Madison Baptist Association celebrated the church’s 75th anniversary June 11 with a note burning for the most recent building program. The $250,000 borrowed for the sanctuary was paid off a year early.
   
“This was a highlight of the anniversary celebration,” Pastor Mike McFarlen said, noting building programs have been a major part of Murphy Hill Baptist’s history.  
   
According to Lillian Law, a member of Murphy Hill who prepared a history of the church to commemorate the anniversary, the church originally met in a small building on the same property. The building was used by all denominations in the area and was named Gladstone Baptist Church. In 1934, the church building was sold and moved. A new building was constructed on the same site, and with that change came a new name — Murphy Hill Baptist Church. A few years later, church members added several Sunday School rooms and eventually a new sanctuary. A pastorium was added in the early 1960s and expanded in the 1980s. A two-story addition to the church building — including a fellowship hall, kitchen and bathrooms — was completed in 1967. The current sanctuary was built in the early 1990s.

The church also owns a school,  Best Beginnings, that houses preschool through first grade with about 130 students. After-school and summer day-care programs are offered, and new classrooms will be added soon, McFarlen said.
   
With an average attendance of 140 at Murphy Hill, McFarlen said the next building project is to expand the educational building. One reason is that Wednesday-night attendance in the children’s department has grown more than 400 percent — from 15 to 85 — in recent months.
   
“The surrounding community is starting to develop, and the church plans to minister to those moving into the area, continuing their legacy of growth and outreach,” he said.
   
As church members look forward, they also recalled their history during the anniversary celebration, Celebrating the Past, Embracing the Future, with stories from days gone by and special recognitions from the Alabama Baptist Historical Commission and the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions.
   
The anniversary service, which included former pastors Jake Strickland and Al Long, “was a blessing to everyone,” said Donna Sharp, church secretary.

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