Bermuda Baptist Church celebrates 100th anniversary, continued growthcomment (0)
October 26, 2006
By Alicia Morris Atcheson
Though Clinton Wood has never been a member of Bermuda Baptist Church, Repton, he wouldn’t have missed the church’s centennial celebration for the world.
Wood, whose grandfather William Henry Wood was the church’s first Sunday School superintendent, visited the church many times as a young boy and made sure he was at Bermuda Baptist for its 100th anniversary Oct. 1.
“I still have family at Bermuda, so we definitely wanted to be there for the centennial celebration,” he said. “It was just a great day and a great celebration. It was wonderful to honor those who were faithful to start the church as well as those who are faithful to keep it going.”
Bermuda Baptist marked the anniversary with a special homecoming celebration that filled the small, country church to overflowing. Approximately 250 former church members, families and friends gathered with the congregation, and the entire congregation of nearby Bermuda Methodist Church joined in the celebration.
Pastor Dean Matthews said the attendance was definitely more than expected. “Every seat inside the church was filled. We put chairs down the aisles. There were even folks outside who couldn’t get in,” he said.
During the service, Conecuh Baptist Association representatives presented Bermuda Baptist with a plaque from the Alabama Baptist Historical Commission commemorating the occasion.
Matthews brought the morning message, which was followed by dinner on the grounds and an afternoon singing.
The church was originally established in 1906 with 25 members.
“Those 25 folks first met at the Methodist church to organize the Baptist church, which I thought was pretty funny,” said Alice Ryland, church clerk and historian.
They held meetings at the Methodist church for a year before constructing their own wooden church building. A pastor from neighboring Monroe County came to help the church — first called Bermuda Missionary Baptist Church — get organized.
In 1911, the congregation began its Sunday School program with four classes. As the church grew, it needed additional space to continue ministry. The congregation constructed a block building in 1948 that provided additional Sunday School rooms. The building was bricked in 1957, and then a pastorium was built in 1969 and a fellowship hall in 1978.
According to Ryland, the current church building is built on the exact spot where the original structure stood. Today Bermuda Baptist has a total membership of approximately 80. Matthews, who has served the congregation for eight years, said the church has added nearly 30 new members this year.
“We’ve seen amazing growth,” he said.