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James Memorial Church marks 75 years of service comment (0)

July 17, 2008

James Memorial Baptist Church, Gadsden, recently celebrated its 75th anniversary with a special Sunday morning service followed by a covered-dish luncheon. Recognition of former staff members, a musical presentation and a video of past activities specially created for the occasion were also part of the day. More than 300 people attended, coming from as far away as Georgia, Texas and south Florida.

“It was a fantastic day, very God honoring,” said Pastor John Martin. “Everyone had a wonderful time looking back at our heritage, but there was also an emphasis on looking forward to the work God still has for us here.”

The Etowah Baptist Association church was founded as James Chapel Baptist Church in 1933 when two women, Pearlie Lasseter Hamric and Ruth Hooks Landreth, called a meeting to discuss building a church for 35 families in Gadsden’s Hooks Lake community. Before the meeting was over, plans to begin a building program had been adopted.

The original church building was erected on an acre of land donated by the estate of James Lasseter, in whose memory the church is named. Funds were generated through the sale of chicken dinners, ice cream and box suppers.

Membership grew so rapidly that before one building could be finished, more space was needed. In 1950, an educational building was added. Six years later, a new sanctuary was built. The educational space was expanded in 1968, and extensive renovations to the sanctuary were completed in 1995.

When the church was incorporated in 1950, the name was officially changed to James Memorial Baptist. Over the years, membership has grown from six charter members to more than 500.

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