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Hephzibah marks 150th year with ‘glorious day’comment (0)

May 15, 2008

By Greg Heyman

The 150th anniversary celebration of Hephzibah Baptist Church, Troy, April 13 was marked with memories of its past, reflection on its present and discussion of its future.

Pastor Don Hatcher said the Salem-Troy Baptist Association church’s success is due largely to the "peace and harmony" among the members of the congregation, which averages 200 for Sunday morning worship.

"There has never been a major fight or split in the church in 150 years, and that says a lot for a church," said Hatcher, who has been pastor of Hephzibah Baptist for 12 years. "This church, even though it is an old church, has been so accepting of change."

The first part of the two-hour anniversary service was titled Honoring Our Past. Along with video testimonies from senior church members and the singing of traditional hymns, former pastor Billy Stephenson — who served from 1978 until 1981 — shared his memories of Hephzibah.

The emphasis on the present day, Building Our Present, included a video message from Greg Aman — the church’s pastor from 1984 until 1995 — and the singing of contemporary hymns.

Committed to Our Future featured comments from former pastor Johnny Roberts — who served from 1981 until 1983 — and praise music led by Hephzibah’s youth band.

Hatcher led the congregation to look ahead by discussing plans for building a multipurpose facility that will be used for preschool and children’s ministries, among other things.

His sermon during the final portion of the service cited Colossians 1 and focused on how Christ is pre-eminent in all things. He concluded by asking if Christ is pre-eminent in the lives of the congregation’s members.

The service also included recognitions from the office of Gov. Bob Riley, Salem-Troy Association and the Alabama Baptist Historical Commission.

Afterward more than 300 participated in a barbecue luncheon held under a large tent on the church grounds.

"Overall it was just a glorious day for us," Hatcher said.

For Ferris Daughtry, the celebration offered an opportunity to learn more about Hephzibah’s history as she served on the planning committee for the anniversary.

"I wasn’t raised here and didn’t know a lot of the historical background," said Daughtry, a 12-year church member.

The event also offered the opportunity for her to meet some of the former leaders and church members she had heard about.

Allie Mae Wilkes’ 40 years at Hephzibah meant she knew many of those who returned for the anniversary. "It was a wonderful thing to have people coming back that grew up in the church and still had family there," Wilkes said.

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