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Thomastonís Sardis Church celebrates 100 yearscomment (0)

December 20, 2007

It wasn’t until Sardis Baptist Church, Thomaston, in Bethel Baptist Association started planning for its 100-year anniversary that its new pastor realized the extent of his connection to the church.

“Basically I just felt a kinship with these people here,” said Bo Brantley, who has been at Sardis Baptist since September. “I guess you could say that when I first came to this church, I just kind of felt at home and at ease with them.”

That feeling of kinship may have been because he was not the first pastor in his family to lead Sardis. Or the second. Brantley discovered that his great-uncle Herman Sollie served as pastor from 1934 until 1936 and his grandfather Horace Sollie was pastor from 1939 until 1946.

“It was really exciting to me to know that I had some ties to this church,” Brantley said.

He added that the spirit of the anniversary celebration Nov. 11 highlighted the family feel that church members have even for those to whom they are not related.

“It was like a family atmosphere, it was like a family gathering,” Brantley said. “It was really uplifting. The people I spoke to shared how they really enjoyed it. It was a great day in the Lord here.”

While average attendance for services is approximately 80, Brantley said attendance doubled for the anniversary with an estimated 150–175 at the service.

Having been a member of Sardis since 1947 meant Beatrice Parker knew almost everyone returning for the anniversary, which made the day special. “I enjoyed seeing everybody come back, and we had a good day together,” she said. “It was great that they were interested enough to come back to the church.”

Following a message by former pastor W.E. “Sonny” Bradshaw, a covered-dish lunch was held, with music by Glory Road later in the day. Activities also included the presentation of a plaque by Bobby Hopper, director of missions for Bethel Association, and a letter of recognition from Gov. Bob Riley.

Bradshaw, who was Sardis’ first full-time pastor, said, “Some of the finest people I ever met were at that church.”

He believes that spirit has been instrumental in the longevity of Sardis. “I think it’s the determination of the people and the love of the people for one another,” he said. (TAB)

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