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Selma’s Safford Baptist Church marks 175 yearscomment (0)

October 25, 2007

By Greg Heyman

Harold Lippert received a crash course on the history of Safford Baptist Church in Selma Baptist Association when it celebrated its 175th anniversary Oct. 5–7.

Lippert, pastor of Safford Baptist since January, said the celebration offered him a chance to meet former members and hear stories about why the church was special to them.

“Everyone had a great time,” he said. “I didn’t know a lot of these people, but it sure was wonderful to sit and listen to them reminisce about growing up in this church, the activities here and how God had used them.”

Lippert estimated that more than 120 people stayed for lunch after the Sunday service but added that about a dozen more were at the service. The total attendance represented an increase of almost six times the 20–25 who regularly attend services.

And while church members were reunited with each other, Lippert enjoyed a reunion with Trull Hill, who led the Sunday service and a minirevival on Friday and Saturday nights as part of the anniversary celebration. Hill, who now serves as interim pastor of Talladega Creek Baptist Church, Talladega, was pastor of First Baptist Church, Cottonwood, in the mid-1970s when Lippert was minister of music there.

The anniversary reunited church member Robert Caine with old church friends, many of whom he had not seen in more than 30 years. Caine, a member of Safford Baptist for 65 years, said everything about the anniversary celebration was perfect.

“We had plenty to eat, good singing and good preaching,” he said.

Mary Caine, whose husband, Pierce, is Robert Caine’s cousin, also had an opportunity to visit with old friends made during the 39 years she has been at the church. She said the weekend was even more special for people like her husband, who is 60 and was raised at Safford Baptist. “It was really great for those who have been there all their life,” she said.

Even though Wes Dykes has never served at Safford Baptist, he has his own memories of the area and was excited to be there to lead music for the anniversary celebration because of his ties to the community.

Dykes, associate pastor of praise at First Baptist Church, Tillman’s Corner, in Mobile, has relatives in the Safford area, with his family’s roots there going back to 1900, and said he is always eager to return there.

Indeed it was a weekend of celebrating history but also of looking forward to the future, according to Robert Caine, who believes Lippert is the right man to lead the church for the next few years.

“He fits in with all ages, whether they’re young or old,” Caine said.

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