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Building dedication serves as centerpiece for Northport church’s 50th anniversarycomment (0)

April 3, 2008

By Greg Heyman

It’s a year of jubilee at Northwood Hills Baptist Church, Northport — at least that’s what Pastor George Shaddix says.

During the recent celebration of the Tuscaloosa Baptist Association church’s 50th anniversary, Shaddix, the pastor of 26 years, charged the congregation to remember the past but also look to the future.

“From the very beginning, the people had a vision of the need for a church in the location where we are,” he said. “And that vision has continued to live on.”

During the celebration service March 2, Shaddix used passages from the Old Testament in which God talked to Moses about a year of jubilee. He explained to the more than 250 present that a year of jubilee is a time of releasing anything bad, while it is also a time of looking to the future and the opportunities the church has for reaching out to all age groups in the community.

“One of the big things that we want to do … is attract more young families with children and youth,” Shaddix said.

And a major vehicle for doing that, he said, was dedicated as part of the anniversary weekend — a new family life center. The two-story, multipurpose facility houses a gymnasium, locker rooms, a kitchen, an assembly area for youth Sunday School classes and individual rooms where youth will meet.

“I believe there is a renewed interest that is coming out of our building program and the overall life of the church,” Shaddix said. “There’s a renewed interest in reaching our community for Christ.”

But while the family life center is a nod to the future, the church’s past was also remembered during services that Sunday.

During the Sunday School hour, 107 formerly active church members who have passed away were honored by having their names read aloud. Following that, Shaddix said members spent more than 30 minutes sharing their memories from the past 50 years.

For Bernice Brown, a charter member of Northwood Hills Baptist, it offered an opportunity to reminisce about the church’s beginnings and efforts to reach out to individuals not attending church anywhere.

Brown said the family atmosphere of the church has kept her at Northwood Hills for 50 years and she believes it has been instrumental in attracting new members.

“We love each other and it’s like a family more than a church,” Brown said.

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