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Mobile’s Manor Baptist celebrates 50-year ministry, summer of outreachcomment (0)

September 6, 2007

By Susan Chaffin Goggins

A tin building with a sawdust floor was the home of Manor Baptist Church, Mobile, in Mobile Baptist Association when it formed 50 years ago on Aug. 11, 1957, with about 40 members in attendance.

At least 400 recently filled the auditorium, which sits in place of the original building, to celebrate the milestone.

“It is always a great time of celebration when a church reaches 50 years of ministry in a community,” said Thomas Wright, director of missions for Mobile Association. “Pastor Gordon Fields is leading that congregation in the changes required to reach out for another 50 years.”

Charter member Jack Byrd Jr. was 16 when he attended Manor Baptist’s first service with his family. Today he serves as church treasurer like his late father. His 86-year-old mother, Wilodean, is still an active member.
Byrd said the anniversary celebration was a “supergood day” and he enjoyed seeing old friends as former members and staff returned.

Those returning staff members were recognized, along with the eight charter members in attendance. All current and past volunteers were acknowledged, including 95-year-old Yancey Johnson, who was hailed for his longtime service as a greeter and usher.

Fields said the celebration was filled with praise and worship as the adult choir opened the service with “Let Your Glory Fall,” led by Minister of Music Paul Hedgepeth. Following the opening song, former choir members who returned for the celebration joined the choir and sang hymns under the direction of former minister of music Doug McIntyre. McIntyre served at Manor in 1968. After lunch, the praise and worship continued led by Manor’s Jubilee Singers.

“The service ended at 3:45 p.m. with everyone feeling as through they had received a taste of heaven,” Fields said.

Greetings and proclamations from President George W. Bush, Gov. Bob Riley, Mobile Mayor Sam Jones and U.S. Sens. Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby were read. Jack Wright of the Alabama Baptist Historical Commission presented the church with a certificate.

Fields said the celebration wrapped up what has already been an exciting summer at Manor.

In July, he led a missions team to Wales, where 13 prayed to receive Christ through the Vacation Bible School (VBS) it led there. In June, the church hosted its own VBS, designed to reach children in the surrounding neighborhoods. A team from Philadelphia, Ala., led in the effort, enrolling 50 children.

Neighborhood evangelism will continue to be a priority even after the summer as Manor hosts a University of Mobile evangelism course at the church. Fields noted that student evangelism teams often work in the area as part of this class.

“Students receive hands-on training and help the ministry here at Manor, but ultimately it all is for the glory of God,” he explained.

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