FBC Gadsden marks 150 yearscomment (0)
November 3, 2005
By Kimberly Wright
Members of First Baptist Church, Gadsden, recently celebrated the church’s 150th anniversary.
Complete with proclamations from the state, Etowah Baptist Association and the Alabama Baptist Historical Commission, the day was also declared First Baptist Church Day by Gadsden Mayor Steve Means.
“First Baptist Church is a loving body of believers whom God continues to use to share the love of Christ with the community and, indeed, the world,” said Pastor Bryan Blass. “As pastor, I am honored to serve with other Christians as we together work to build the Kingdom.”
Ermine Moseley, a 91-year-old longtime member of First, Gadsden, described her experience as being “a wonderful life.”
At age 4, she became part of the first Sunday School class for children at the church. Moseley has served in a number of different areas including the choir and as a Sunday School teacher. Today she remains faithful to First, Gadsden. Although unable to attend worship services, Moseley watches on television.
As part of the anniversary celebration, a special worship service was held Aug. 28 with members giving praise to God for His work in the establishment of the church.
Former pastor Harrell Cushing was the guest speaker, and the choir presented “Christ, The One Foundation,” a song commissioned for the sesquicentennial celebration.
First, Gadsden, began in 1855 when a small group of Baptists met to form the city’s first Baptist church shortly after a congregation of Methodists had done the same. And on Aug. 23 of that year, the articles of faith were drafted.
The church met for eight months before calling its first pastor, John B. Appleton. The congregation, which grew to 12 members during this time, met in a small wooden academy building for the first five years.
With the intent of building a church of its own, the members established a building committee in 1856 to oversee the raising of funds and the building of the church. The committee began its search for suitable property in 1858, and by 1860, First, Gadsden, members had built a one-story frame structure with a belfry, at a cost of $1,955.83.
Almost 40 years later, members built a new brick Gothic-style building. The church was also experiencing an explosion in Sunday School at this time, with one class of more than 600 members in 1908.
As the 1920s got underway so did another new building for the church. The current church building was dedicated Nov. 20, 1927, under the pastoral leadership of William R. Rigell.
Oscar A. Davis followed Rigell as pastor and served for 32 years. First, Gadsden, continued to grow in number and in structures as a new education wing was added during Davis’ tenure.
Following Davis’ retirement in 1974, Cushing came as pastor in 1975. After Cushing, Richard M. Cagle, Aaron Johnson and James Newell each served as pastor. Current pastor Blass came to the church in 2003.
With some 600 members, the church continues to be faithful in giving to missions, Blass said. “While we thank God for His blessings and His goodness to us over the past 150 years, I also pray that those who come behind us will find that we had one primary objective: to joyfully and faithfully share for the love of Jesus Christ.”