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FBC Albertville celebrates 125th year by highlighting its heritage of faithcomment (0)

September 18, 2008

By Stacey Jones

Passing the heritage of service to the next generation was the challenge issued to members of First Baptist Church, Albertville, as the congregation celebrated its 125th anniversary Aug. 17.

David Askins — who served as pastor at First, Albertville, from 1974 to 1989 — was the speaker for the celebration at this Marshall Baptist Association church. Using the theme of The Torch Is Passed, Askins challenged the church to use its rich history as an example and continue in diligent service to God.

Mike Johnson — who not only is the current pastor but also a product of First, Albertville — said it is important that future church members know the heritage.

Conveying that heritage to future generations was the objective as the church planned this celebration, Dennis Burgess, church historian, said.

“When (we) first began to make plans for the 125th anniversary celebration, the event planning committee’s first goal was to fashion a service that would not only celebrate the church’s years of service to the Lord and to the community, but one that would acquaint the modern church family with its spiritual ‘ancestors,’” he said.

One component in accomplishing the goal was a “wall of faith” — photographs and anecdotal information in designated hallways of the church that conveyed stories of deceased church members.

In 1883, 16 members founded the church on West Main Street near Old Albertville Cemetery as the first Baptist church in the city. S.T. Collier, the first pastor of the church, provided land for the first building. To accommodate the growing number of members, the congregation of 208 moved in 1901 to the current location on East Main Street.

In 1907, the church sent out its first missionary, Dr. T.O. Hearn, a physician. He served in China.

During the 1910 Alabama Baptist State Convention meeting, which was held at First, Albertville, the hymn “I Would Follow Jesus” was sung by the congregation and ultimately became the members’ anthem.

Through the years, members have felt their biggest outreach is to live the Great Commission. Throughout the 125 years, the focus of First, Albertville, has been to follow Jesus and tell others of His love.

To exemplify that, church members have spread the gospel from the Mediterranean Sea to the Orient. They have planted churches in Augusta, Maine. Locally, they have ministered to underprivileged children and teens through Cahill Chapel, a mission of First, Albertville, and assisted in planting La Primera Baptista Iglesia in Albertville.

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