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Talladega’s Hepzibah Baptist marks 175 years comment (0)

October 11, 2012

By Julie Payne

Hepzibah Baptist Church, Talladega, celebrated a milestone 175th anniversary Sept. 16.

Beaver Tinsley, who worked closely with Freddie Green, coordinated the anniversary planning committee that included several members of the Coosa River Baptist Association church.

According to Shirley Ferguson, a church member who served on the planning committee, the two-hour service began at 10 a.m. and was hosted by Hepzibah Baptist Pastor Keith Wrenn.

He introduced several former pastors who each spoke to the congregation, and former ministers of music in attendance led hymn singing.

Congregational music was steered by the praise team and worship choir under the leadership of minister of music Kevin Brooks, and church members performed a duet.

Special presentations included the plaque given by Sonja Adams, representative from the Alabama Baptist Historical Commission, as well as separate presentations made by Talladega Mayor Larry Barton; Fran Pope, president of the Greater Talladega and Lincoln Area Chamber of Commerce; and Talladega County Commissioner John Luker. 

A letter from Gov. Robert Bentley also was recognized during the service.

Other special elements were the note burning ceremony — which Ferguson said signified the church’s debt-free status after its loan was paid off to build some new church facilities — and the opening of the cornerstone that was sealed on the church’s 150th anniversary in 1987. The contents were displayed in the “memorabilia room,” which was set up in the church parlor.

A 20-minute DVD Karen Burk and Ferguson produced traced the history of the church from 1837 to the present with photos as well as graphics that Burk created.

Ferguson said a “wonderful” meal was served that afternoon in the Christian Life Center.

“It was a joyful occasion,” she reflected, adding that more than 300 were present for the day’s festivities.

According to Wrenn, who began serving at the church in August, the anniversary provided the opportunity to meet former pastors and learn more about history of the church.

He said Hepzibah Baptist, which is beginning to put its Acts 1:8 Challenge team together, has a long, rich heritage in the community and is “hoping to extend our ministry from the crossroads [of County Road 207 and Renfroe Road]” and impact the world. 

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