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On 190th anniversary, FBC Springville members celebrate major growth, future move to new sitecomment (0)

May 3, 2007

By Brian Blackwell

Not even confinement to a wheelchair could dampen 97-year-old Catherine Simmons’ spirits during a recent service at First Baptist Church, Springville, in St. Clair Baptist Association.

For a few moments, the church’s oldest-living member felt like a teenager again as she was honored during this celebration service.

"If I could have stood on my feet, I would have that Sunday," Simmons recalled. "This church has produced so many happy memories for me and means the world to me."

"I still pray each day that the church will do wonderful and, with God’s blessing, will continue to prosper," Simmons said.

Simmons was among the current and former members and guests attending the church’s 190th anniversary celebration March 25.

On this day, First, Springville, was not only remembering the past but also celebrating what it believes is a bright future.

"At our celebration service, I told the church that the brightest days are ahead of us," Pastor Keith Wrenn recounted. "We will have to accept this challenge God has placed before us. We’re like Moses at Mount Nebo at the threshold of the best days before us."

The challenge comes in accommodating change. During the past two years, church membership has grown by 10 percent and multiple subdivisions have been erected throughout the community.

And the 1,015-member congregation has run out of room to expand its current building, situated on 4.5 acres.

It plans to move to a nearby 20-acre property in a few years.

Once the architectural renderings are unveiled in two to three months, the church will then move forward with its plans to construct a new worship facility, educational space and a family life center.

"Every time we looked at different pieces of land at various locations, the price was too high," he said.

"But this property has not only the right price but positions us in a pivotal location to reach the community for many years to come."

Wrenn, who has served as pastor since 2003, said church members are looking forward to the ministries that will come out of this move.

"The move can do nothing but energize our people," he said.

Building committee Chair Donald Leopard echoed the thought.

"I’ve seen our church go through other building campaigns, and I must say that this one, like others in the past, has God’s hand on it," he explained. "God really has led us to the right property to relocate, and this is exciting quite a few people here at our church, including the young families."

The children of those families have been an important part of the church’s outreach and growth as it has established a weekday children’s program, Awana children’s clubs and an Upward Basketball league. An expansion of the Upward program to include flag football and soccer is under way.

Another aspect of the church’s growth has been a commitment to missions, Wrenn added.

First, Springville, has come full circle with its fulfillment of Acts 1:8 — God’s commandment to preach the gospel in its community, state, continent and world — through trips to Venezuela and eastern Kentucky and in Springville through its children’s, visitation and witness training programs.

"We attribute our growth to being faithful to God as a New Testament church," Wrenn noted.

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