FBC Odenville celebrates its centennial, honors ‘humbling’ sacrifices of founderscomment (1)
October 25, 2007
By Lauren Brooks
For the first time in his career, Loren Aderhold, pastor of First Baptist Church, Odenville, preached during the Sunday morning service Sept. 30 wearing overalls with an iPod clipped to the pocket.
Aderhold insists he wasn’t trying to start a new fashion trend but rather was representing the past and present as a part of the St. Clair Baptist Association church’s 100th anniversary celebration. Church members also dressed in period clothing from the past 100 years.
“We’re trying to be intentional about wanting to remember the great history of the church and look to the future at the same time,” Aderhold said.
The anniversary celebration lasted for two days. On Sept. 29, members played old-fashioned games and enjoyed supper and bluegrass gospel music. After the service on Sunday, members and guests ate lunch, buried a time capsule and dedicated the new education building.
Presentations to the church were made by St. Clair Association and the Alabama Baptist Historical Commission.
“It’s important to remember the folks who have gone before us,” Aderhold said. “I’ve read the old meeting minutes about what they sacrificed to lay the foundation that we’re building on today. It’s very humbling.”
The original church building is made of fieldstones, which Aderhold said were collected by church members.
Today members continue to build and update the church. They did a lot of work on the education building — things like painting and installing flooring and ceilings.
“We were able to complete more than we thought because of our volunteer help,” Aderhold said.
The building, which includes eight Sunday School rooms and administration space, was constructed about a year and a half ago.
“We had everyone pray and dedicate the building to the Lord,” Aderhold said. “We also dedicated ourselves and the work that will take place there.”
But he said the best part of the weekend was the people who attended, including some who hadn’t been to First, Odenville, in decades and former pastor James Dendy, who served from 1987 until 1996 and returned for the Sunday service.
Mavis Salser, who has attended the church for nearly 50 years, said she has seen it grow and change over the years.
“I remember when we didn’t have any youth at all, and now we have built back up and have lots of young people and babies,” Salser said. “Everybody here is so excited now.”
Salser said she hopes the next century brings even more growth to the church.
“I want to see it expand and more souls saved,” Salser said.
Aderhold said he expects this will occur as new houses are going up in the area and the town is experiencing growth.
“We’re continuing to try and be relevant in a changing community by reaching new folks as well as those who have always lived here,” Aderhold said. “After a time of plateau for some decades, we’re seeing that the church sits in a growing and changing community. We’re looking toward the next century.”