Carson Road Baptist closes doors after 36 years comment (0)
August 9, 2012
By Joseph Rhea
Carson Road Baptist Church, Center Point, closed its doors this February after 36 years of ministry.
Members unanimously made the decision to close in June 2011, said Tom Cleveland, who had served as pastor since March 2006.
Carson Road’s attendance had dwindled under 30 and its funds had dried up. But though the decision to close was a sad one, “We did all we could to hold our heads high,” he said.
In its last months the church held special services that drew significant crowds: a special service for Leon Westerhouse, the music evangelist inducted into the Southern Baptist Evangelist “Hall of Faith” in 2008 who led worship for the church, saw 90 people attend. So did the church’s Christmas 2011 service. A June 2011 service honoring John Lee Armstrong, a former Samford University football coach who attended Carson Road, saw 165 attendees.
In the last five years Carson Road has also served as an “incubator” for two other churches. New Beginnings Family Baptist Church, Birmingham, rented the church building during 2006, a time when Carson Road was struggling financially. The members of New Beginnings Family Church paid rent and even helped substantially with the church’s utility costs, Cleveland said. Greater Grace Missionary Baptist Church, Birmingham, rented Carson Road’s building during 2007–2008 and helped pay for its upkeep in the same way. Both churches spent and ended their time with Carson Road in great circumstances, Cleveland said.
In its last years the church also ministered to a nearby housing project providing children with meals and teaching Bible lessons.
JoAnn Armstrong, the wife of John Lee Armstrong and one of Carson Road’s charter members, shared in the church’s final service. She summarized her words with the quote, “Don’t cry because it’s over; be happy because it happened.”