Talladega church marks 150 years of ministrycomment (0)
June 8, 2006
By Erica Harms
On a recent Sunday morning, members of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, Talladega, in Coosa River Baptist Association gathered for what might at first glance appear to be a traditional covered-dish luncheon on the church grounds.
But it was far from being a traditional Sunday meal.
The church was celebrating its 150th anniversary, an accomplishment that few other churches in the area have attained.
“Our church is one of the oldest churches in our area,” Pastor Clyde Pettus said. “It has certainly stood the test of time.”
Two former pastors of Pleasant Grove Baptist returned for the May 21 celebration and reminisced about the history of the church, which was started in 1856.
Several former church members also came from as far away as Texas to be a part of the festivities. One of the highlights of the day was a slide show of pictures of the church throughout the years.
“Church members brought pictures they had from both past and present, and we put them to the songs ‘The Old Country Church’ and ‘The Church in the Wildwood,’” said Kim Hazel, Pettus’ daughter and church pianist.
Having grown up in the church, she noted that it has been interesting to hear the many diverse memories that people bring up about Pleasant Grove Baptist. “It’s given everybody a chance to reflect on the past,” Hazel said.
The original value of the church building was $200, and church records show that after one year, the church had 33 members under the leadership of Pastor J.H. Franklin.
After 150 years, the names of three charter members are still known — J.J. Abbot, M. Turner and T.C. Wood.
“In 1944, Rev. Newman of Anniston was called as pastor and he began a building program in the middle of World War II. He built the first Sunday School rooms outside of the sanctuary, and the property doubled in value,” Pettus said.
Today the church averages 50–60 people in Sunday School and 80–90 people in worship.
“We’ve had church members serve in all the wars since the Civil War and currently have relatives serving in Iraq. We’ve also had a missionary out of our church serve with the International Mission Board,” he said.
The church was presented with an award from Luther Williams, director of missions for Coosa River Association, as well as a plaque from the Alabama Baptist Historical Commission and a declaration making May 21 Pleasant Grove Baptist Church Day in Talladega County.
“We thank the good Lord for this,” Pettus said. “Without Him, there would be no Pleasant Grove Baptist Church.”