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Long-running relationships part of Skirumís 100-year historycomment (0)

August 28, 2008

The 100th anniversary of Skirum Baptist Church was particularly special for Willis Kelly.

The July 20 celebration marked the Albertville man’s return to the DeKalb Baptist Association church that his family was instrumental in establishing and that ordained him as a minister in 1955.

Kelly, who served as guest speaker for the event, shared how his grandfather Sam Lindsey donated the property on which the first church building was constructed in 1908 and the land on which the current building was constructed in 1947. Lindsey and his wife, as well as Kelly’s mother, were charter members of Skirum Baptist.

“The Lindseys had a big part in starting the church, along with constructing the buildings and keeping the church going,” Kelly said.

Other former church members from as far away as Pensacola, Fla., and New Orleans helped make up the crowd of nearly 200 in attendance.

Seeing old friends was a special joy for 88-year-old Maxine Blessing, who was baptized at Skirum Baptist when she was 13 and now serves as church organist.

“Hearing all the different memories was special,” Blessing said. “There were things that I didn’t know about that they shared.”

During the celebration, Lonette Berg, executive director of the Alabama Baptist Historical Commission, presented the church with a plaque for its 100 years of service.

Pastor Billy Smothers has enjoyed a long history with the church himself.

In 1960, he began a two-year pastorate there and returned for another beginning in October 1963. Smothers has been Skirum Baptist’s pastor ever since.

Even though Smothers had opportunities to go to other churches, he said, “I never felt the Lord leading me to go anywhere else.”

In its century of service, Skirum Baptist’s largest attendance was approximately 85 in the 1960s. While average attendance now is between 40 and 45, Smothers believes the congregation has a passion for supporting the church.

“The people are interested in hearing the message,” he said. “It’s their desire to maintain a church in a small community.” (TAB)

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