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Uriah’s Rocky Hill Baptist Church celebrates 100 years, close tiescomment (0)

October 4, 2007

By Anna Swindle

A bunch of good people go to this church,” said Jesse Bohannon, pastor of Rocky Hill Baptist Church, Uriah, in Bethlehem Baptist Association. “If I had to describe the church in one word, it would be ‘loving.’”

It is no surprise then that close to 200 people showed up Sept. 2 to celebrate Rocky Hill Baptist’s centennial anniversary.

The church was established Sept. 1, 1907, and since its inception, has been a mainstay in the community. Bohannon said the support system within the church family is especially remarkable.

“We only have 30-some in attendance each week, but that means everyone gets to know everyone well,” he said.
“They are a close-knit bunch of people, and if something happens to one of them, they know they will be helped by their church.”

Like many other small-town churches, Rocky Hill has not always had a full-time pastor. Even now, in fact, Bohannon is bivocational. But in earlier years, the church had to be even more creative to hear a sermon each Sunday.

“Uriah is about 75 miles from Mobile, so when I came here, we had students from Mobile College (now the University of Mobile) come up and preach. Then they’d graduate and we would get a new student from the college,” said Joyce Dunn, a member of Rocky Hill since 1963. “That system worked pretty well, because our church was able to get a consistent pastor on Sundays and many Mobile College students gained preaching experience.”

Since its founding, the church has undergone physical changes. Its first building was an unpainted, wooden structure, which was eventually painted white and rotated to face the road.

In 1956, the congregation moved to a concrete-block building.

In 2003, that structure was bricked and a new fellowship hall, a kitchen and new classrooms were added.
According to Dunn, the latest renovations went remarkably well.

“The Lord just blessed us. We did not borrow a dime and it’s all paid for,” she said. “Every time we got one phase done, we had the money for another phase.”

To commemorate the various church buildings, a set of 25 plates was displayed during the anniversary celebration meal. Each plate featured photos of the original church building, two of the founding members and the members who helped build the block building in the ’50s. The plates read: “Rocky Hill Baptist Church, Celebrating 100, 1907–2007.”

And now, at 100, the church shows no signs of slowing down.

“It’s a joy to go to church there,” Dunn said. “Sometimes I get the urge to just drive up to the church and see it. It is such a special place to so many people.”

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