Newton church celebrates 165-year legacy of servicecomment (0)
December 1, 2005
By Linda Lyle
Newton Baptist Church, the oldest church in Dale Baptist Association, celebrated its 165th anniversary Sept. 25.
Noted for their outreach to the community, church members said the celebration served as a reminder that the church continues its legacy of serving, reaching out and exhibiting a united, loving spirit.
Pastor Peter Tilbe said the church’s vision is to reach unchurched families in the community by focusing on Intentional Evangelism and discipleship through Sunday School.
Newton Baptist members also participate in ministries to the local elementary school, area youth and local shut-ins. The latest project for the church has been to adopt a family displaced by Hurricane Katrina as well as to assist the general relief effort by collecting food and supplies, giving money and helping with cleanup.
“Newton Baptist has a reputation in the community and the association for following the example of Christ in showing love in a variety of ways to everyone with whom they come in contact,” Tilbe said.
Kenneth Hale, director of missions for Dale Association, commended church members for their consistent partnership with the association in sharing the gospel in the community. The church has been a vital part of the association from the beginning, Hale said, noting that the church sponsored the Baptist Collegiate Institute (1898–1932) in the area, which trained missionaries and pastors.
The church was also the site of Dale Association’s beginnings in 1865 when it was established as Newton Baptist Association, he said. The name changed to Dale Baptist Association in 1907.
Established in 1840, Newton Baptist started out in a log building and updated the building through the years. The church has a $200,000 building program underway, which includes renovations to the sanctuary and adding a fellowship hall.
The crowd of more than 150 people attending the September anniversary celebration was reminded of this heritage when the Alabama Baptist Historical Commission honored the church with a plaque recognizing the anniversary.
Special guests for the day included former pastor Stephen Drake, who was the guest preacher; Pastor Emeritus Charles Kerby and praise and worship was led by former youth and music director Linda Scarborough Keown and her three children.
Other highlights included fellowship times during the celebration weekend.
“I thank every one for working together to help make this day successful and inspiring,” Tilbe said.