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Elba’s Westside Church hits milestonecomment (0)

December 13, 2007

More than 50 years ago, there was only one Baptist church in Elba, so Baptists went downtown to attend First Baptist Church. Then in 1953, that church, along with Coffee Baptist Association, decided there was a need for another Baptist church in the western part of town.

Four years later, that vision became a reality in the form of a mission church, Westside Baptist.

Peggy Storey has been a member of Westside since 1966, and her uncle was one of the charter members. “I love the warmth of the church. It’s like a family. Everybody cares for each other. You know if you’re sick, someone is praying for you.”

According to Storey, Westside was a vibrant church in the ’60s and ’70s with a Sunday School attendance peaking at 400. “Now we have a smaller, older membership who have all grown up and raised our families together.”

Changes in the congregation are more than likely a result of changes in the demographics of the area. In 1990, the Pea River flood devastated Elba.

According to church history, “the flood waters covered all the roofs of homes and businesses in the heart of Elba.” Most of Westside was destroyed, and all church records were lost.

According to longtime member Mable Lee, “many people moved out of the area after the flood.”

Despite the changes, members of Westside are still thankful for 50 years of serving together. On Nov. 4, more than 400 current and former members and pastors joined to celebrate the church’s 50th anniversary.

At the two-hour anniversary service, Westside received proclamations from the city of Elba, Coffee County commissioners, Coffee Association and the Alabama Baptist Historical Commission. Following the service, dinner was held in the activity center.

Regarding the church’s future, interim pastor James Newell said the days ahead look bright. “I am sure the Lord has great plans for a great future in store for Westside Baptist Church.” (TAB)

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