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Leeds church celebrates 50 years of servicecomment (0)

September 22, 2005

During the weekend of Aug. 6, Valley View Baptist Church, Leeds, in Birmingham Baptist Association celebrated its golden anniversary.
The celebration kicked off with a choir reunion dinner and rehearsal Aug. 6. It continued Aug. 7 with get-acquainted time and a concert by the anniversary choir and Krista Weygand, a southern gospel recording artist and former member of Valley View Baptist.
Jerry Wilkins, director of missions for Tuscaloosa Baptist Association and former Valley View pastor, delivered the sermon in the morning worship service. Bill Strickland, assistant dean for undergraduate studies at Samford University and former choir director for Valley View, served as music director during the service.
During a cornerstone ceremony, the time capsule was opened and artifacts shared. Other mementos were deposited and the capsule was sealed again.
Larry Ballard, pastor of Valley View, said 12 of the church’s charter members are still able to take part in the congregation. Three others are homebound, “yet diligently pray for their church,” Ballard said.
According to information provided by the special events team, Valley View got its start on a Wednesday night in December 1954, when “52 Christians became members by letter of the First Baptist Church, Leeds. 
There, they sought spiritual shelter, strength and guidance while they set about to build a church building. More than anything else, they had faith that they would be able to build a church building to be used for God’s glory.”
The next month, the church was named, the constitution and bylaws adopted and officers elected, including a fifth deacon.
For a few months, the Valley View congregation attended Sunday services at First, Leeds, and met in the homes of members on Wednesday nights. The Valley View group acquired property and began work on a building. 
By August 1955, the group was ready to meet on its own premises for church services in a building under construction. 
When winter set in, the people often had to wrap in blankets to keep warm during the services, according to church history.
In June 1956, the building was ready to be dedicated.
A two-story education building followed in 1962 and a pastorium the next year. Four years later, the church again embarked on a building program, this time constructing a three-story education facility.
A 550-seat auditorium was completed in 1984 as the church marked its 29th year. Then, in 1993, the church acquired property across the street from it, which is now the site of the youth and family life center.
In 2002 and 2003, the church embarked on three new ministries, including weekday education, mother’s day out and after-school care for elementary students who had previously attended the church’s kindergarten, according to the 50th anniversary commemorative overview.
Now the church is looking to various other projects such as a new kitchen and fellowship hall, an elevator, additional parking space, new audiovisual equipment for the sanctuary and a new bus.
The church’s current membership is 529. It has nine paid staff members and a budget in excess of $343,000.
In addition to the anniversary weekend, the church’s celebration included a community evangelistic block party July 31. 
During the block party, youth and children’s groups provided music, groceries were given to people in the community to whom the church ministers and the gospel of Jesus Christ was presented. (TAB)

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