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FBC Troy compiles past to encourage church’s futurecomment (0)

February 3, 2005

By Bethany Dye

For members of First Baptist Church, Troy, history is not just about the past, but also about the future.
That’s why they’ve worked for more than 10 years compiling 150 years of the church’s history into a book, a task they recently completed.
The book, called “A Heritage of Faith: First Baptist Church,” is the church’s first published history record.  
“I am pleased that after so many years of hard work, First Baptist Church finally has its history compiled in book form,” said Ed Walter, pastor. “So much has been done in the last 154 years for the cause of Christ by this congregation. Now its heritage can be officially passed on to future generations.”
Work on the book began in 1986 when Sarah Johnson and other church members formed a history committee, according to Eloise Murphree, church librarian and committee chair.
In 1992, Catherine B. Allen, who also wrote “A Century to Celebrate: History of Woman’s Missionary Union” and “The New Lottie Moon Story,” agreed to write First, Troy’s, history book.
Allen did research at Samford University, the Montgomery Archives and the local newspaper, while Murphree gathered photographs of former pastors from the Internet and family members.
To put together the first 40 years, Allen used a manuscript written in 1891 by the church’s first pastor, A.N. Worthy. 
Murphree said Worthy wrote the history of the church’s first 40 years from memory after all other records were lost or destroyed.
During the years the book was being developed, about 20 church members served on the committee.
“I am thankful our committee was blessed with the talent to do the work,” said committee member Connie Webb. “It was like the Lord put the people in place who needed to get the work done.” 
Webb went on to say that one church member, graphic artist Ruth Walker, volunteered her time to design the book’s cover and page layout.
After over a decade of work, the church saw the final product in December 2004.
“I guess I’m especially pleased with the book because this church has been part of my life since the day I was born,” Murphree said. “It’s just part of me.” 
But the contents of the book should not only interest members of First Baptist, Troy, Murphree and Webb said, as the book not only contains information about events and people in the church, but also tells about community history.
“We feel as though there are people in Alabama who have had family members in our church or have had these pastors at their churches,” Webb said. “It’s very interesting to see how they lived back then and what things they thought were important.”
“It tells about a lot of lives,” Murphree added. “It has several good human interest stories.”
She said the book illustrates God’s grace and blessing on the church through the years.
The finished book is more than 400 pages long and contains black-and-white and color photos.
But the members of First, Troy, don’t believe their work is done.
“The challenge for the current members is to continue the heritage of all the people who have been before us,” Webb said. “They kept their focus on the Lord. I think our challenge is to now stay focused with our mission and see what the Lord has in store for us.”
Murphree quoted a song, “‘May all who come behind us find us faithful.’ By God’s grace, we’ll meet the challenge.” The church plans to use all book sale proceeds to continue its historical project and documentation.

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