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Cullman’s Etha Baptist Church celebrates 125th year of servicecomment (0)

March 27, 2008

For many in the congregation of Etha Baptist Church, Cullman, in East Cullman Baptist Association, the last celebration of a major church anniversary doesn’t seem so long ago.

That’s because many present for Etha Baptist’s 125th anniversary celebration Feb. 17 were also there when the church celebrated its centennial in 1983.

Along with remembering what has been accomplished during the past 25 years, Pastor Tim Lipsey said many of them moved from being served to helping serve others.

"They were children and teenagers then; now they are leaders in the church," Lipsey said.

According to him, it is the constant renewing of Etha’s leadership that has kept it vibrant even as its members have grown older.

"I believe that the church has prospered so long because at all times, there has been someone there with determination and fervent prayer as a part of their daily life," he said.

Charles Hanvey has noticed the homegrown leadership, too. He became a member of Etha in 1964 and along with his wife, who has been a church member almost since birth, raised four children there.

Two of the Hanveys’ daughters are still members and are now raising their children in the church.

"It’s very rewarding to see members stay, become active and take part," Hanvey said.

He added that the special part of the anniversary was reminiscing about things that have happened through the years and looking back at some of those longtime members.

The celebration included the showing of a DVD, featuring pictures of the church, church members and church activities from the 1920s to the present.

Lipsey delivered the morning sermon. For him, the best part of the celebration was the attendance of almost 250.

"There were so many members that made a special point to attend this service," said Lipsey, who has only been pastor of Etha a little less than three-and-a-half years. "We had one of the fullest services we have ever had."

Following the worship service, special presentations were made by:

- Dot Gudger, president of the Cullman Historical Society;

- Randy Makemson, East Cullman Association director of missions; and

- Lonette Berg, executive director of the Alabama Baptist Historical Commission. (TAB)

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