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St. Clair Associationís Cook Springs marks 150 yearscomment (0)

August 21, 2008

By Deirdra Drinkard

Cook Springs Baptist Church in St. Clair Baptist Association began 150 years ago next to a railroad, and through the years, its ministry has stayed on track.

On June 1, church members celebrated Cook Springs Baptist’s sesquicentennial anniversary with a new pastor, John Powers, who assumed the position April 13.

“Powers is a good leader, and we see a bright future with him,” said Esta McLaughlin, a longtime member and chairwoman of missions.

Although the church was organized in 1858, it was two years — June 23, 1860 — before it was constituted with 11 members, according to Daniel Stewart’s book “Sparkling Waters: A History of Cook Springs in St. Clair County, Alabama.”

The book tells of one early member, William Prater Cooke, who in 1864 bought the land that became the Cook Springs community.

The congregation of Cook Springs Baptist initially met in a small two-room log cabin on a hillside by a railroad sidetrack. 

In 1866, the second church building was constructed in another location high above the ground. Ascending two flights of steps was required to get to the doors. Music was provided by a pedal-operated organ. Windows along the sides of the building and behind the pulpit let light in for the services.

Today the nearly 200 members take the Light of the World outside the walls of their fourth church building through numerous ministries. One of those ministries is providing literature for the Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) at the Village at Cook Springs, a nearby senior living center.

A Cook Springs Baptist member, 96-year-old Maizie Bradford, took on the leadership of the center’s WMU when she became a resident, said Shirley Estes, activities assistant at the Village at Cook Springs.

In anticipation of the anniversary celebration and accompanying homecoming, St. Clair Association Director of Missions Ben Chandler presented a plaque to the church May 25. 

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