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FBC Irvington celebrates 50th, ‘optimistic’ about futurecomment (0)

October 16, 2008

By Deirdra Drinkard


Fifty years ago, a small group of people desiring to have a Baptist church in the Irvington community set out to form a Baptist mission.

That mission — now First Baptist Church, Irvington, in Mobile Baptist Association — celebrated its golden anniversary Aug. 24.

 “The 50th anniversary is a milestone. We are optimistic about our future in light of the anticipated growth in the Irvington community,” Ron Griffin, pastor of First, Irvington, said.

In 1959, the Baptist mission was given sponsorship by sister church Dauphin Way Baptist, Mobile, and was then able to accept members. Dauphin Way continued its sponsorship of Irvington until February 1973, when the mission became First Baptist Church, Irvington. At that time, First, Irvington, had a membership of 312.  

By the 40th anniversary in 1998, the membership had grown to 705, according to Bob Wallace, historian of First, Irvington. Current membership is 850, with Sunday attendance averaging 200.

On April 9, 1961, the church dedicated its first building. In 1982, the church embarked on constructing a new building, which became its sanctuary. The original building, which had been used as the meeting place, became the fellowship hall.

As part of the 50th anniversary celebration and in observance of the church’s beginnings, Clint Pressley, pastor of Dauphin Way Baptist, was asked to be guest speaker.

“First Baptist, Irvington, stands as a living monument and testimony to God’s goodness shining through people’s faithfulness,” Pressley said.

“Dauphin Way is thankful to have had a small hand in the great work God is doing at [First, Irvington], and we pray He continues to provide the increase,” he said. “After spending some time with the great people of [First, Irvington], I can understand why it is such a healthy church.”

After the service, those in attendance got to enjoy lunch, the music of the southern gospel band Grace and a watermelon-eating contest.

The church’s ministry not only reaches out to the community of Irvington but also ministers to local Laotians, according to Shirl Kae Elrod, a member and secretary of First, Irvington. The Laotian ministry began in 1990 when the church began offering its fellowship hall as a meeting place for about 40 Christian Laotians in the community.

Noy Paul Phangnivong was called as assistant pastor of the church and leads the Laotian ministry of First, Irvington.

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