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Coker’s Mount Olive Baptist Church celebrates 125 years of ‘great history’comment (0)

September 27, 2007

In 1882, members of Mount Olive Baptist Church, Coker, met in a one-room log building, sat on pews made from half logs and were warmed in the winter by a potbellied stove. No instruments were used in the church until 1918 when members raised $60 to pay for a pump organ.

On a recent Sunday, about 250 members and guests celebrated Mount Olive Baptist’s 125th anniversary in a beautiful, modern sanctuary — complete with an organ, a grand piano and air conditioning.

According to Pastor Troy Dixon, the Tuscaloosa Baptist Association church began with nine charter members. Today Mount Olive averages 130 in Sunday School and 180 in worship services each week.

Jerry Wilkins, director of missions for Tuscaloosa Association, described the church as having “a great history of reaching people and building disciples.”

“I remember many very spiritual times in revivals and other services at Mount Olive Church over the years,” he said.

According to Dixon, several fifth- and sixth-generation families remain in the church. Brothers Wayne and John Richardson, who joined Mount Olive in the early 1940s, were identified as having been members the longest.

Wayne Richardson recalls the weeklong August revival services as being special occasions every year. A morning and evening service were held each day during the revival week, and because most of the families farmed, they would attend the morning service, go home to work for several hours and then return for the evening service.

As a tip of the hat to those old times, for the week following the anniversary celebration, a five-day revival was held with three former pastors, a former interim pastor and a former church member delivering sermons.

According to Richardson, the current congregation still has the same goals as those members of the early church — “to worship God and give Him glory.”

Mount Olive is also known for being family-oriented and ministry­-oriented, Dixon said. Three years ago, a missions development committee was formed to plan and organize various missions projects. Since then, the church has sponsored several trips to Mexico and the Gulf Coast, as well as to the Appalachian Mountains. Additionally some members have participated in Builders for Christ missions trips.

“Mount Olive Baptist Church has been preaching the gospel for 125 years, offering hope to our community and literally all the way around the world,” Dixon said. “We’re praying that if the Lord leaves us here another 125 years, we’ll continue the same testimony.”

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