Six former pastors return for Hartford church’s 100th anniversary celebrationcomment (0)
July 26, 2007
By Greg Heyman
The congregation of New Prospect Baptist Church, Hartford, in Geneva Baptist Association didn’t have to worry about whether there would be someone special to preach when the church celebrated its 100th anniversary July 8.
Six of the church’s former pastors returned for the anniversary that drew a crowd almost five times that of a typical Sunday.
The church’s oldest living pastor — John Hicks, 71, who served from 1965–1968 — preached the homecoming message.
Other returning pastors attending the anniversary and the dates they served were:
- Dicky McAllister, interim in 1968 and current director of missions for Geneva Association;
- Joe Alain, 1988–1991;
- Archie Walker, 1991–1995;
- Tommy Lee, 1998–2001;
- Shane Traylor, 2002–2007.
Jesse Thomas, a member of New Prospect since 1965 and its only deacon, said the church’s success is due largely to the leadership of its pastors.
“They gave us motivation,” he said.
Thomas said New Prospect has been the first church for many of the pastors, who served there while studying nearby at the Baptist College of Florida in Graceville.
“They would complete their classes, move and we would get another student pastor. We’ve had a lot of them through the years,” he said.
Along with seeing former pastors, church member Martha Meadows said the anniversary offered an opportunity to renew friendships.
She said attendance at church services is typically around 35, with 20 for Sunday School.
About 150 showed up for the anniversary.
“We had old friends and church members return, and that was really very special,” she said. “We lit one large candle in memory of the founders of the church, former pastors and former members who were dedicated to keeping the church going.”
Current Pastor Chris Adams said it was special to meet some of his predecessors and witness the affection New Prospect has for them.
“Just to see the love and appreciation they have for the church and that the church has for them says a lot about the congregation,” said Adams, who has been at New Prospect since June and also works as the Spiritual and Bereavement Care Coordinator with Hospice in Geneva County.
Adams expressed excitement about where the church has been and the direction in which it’s going.
“The church is very genuine, very real,” he said.
“They know who they are and have a real desire to reach people.”