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FBC Hartselle celebrates 125 yearscomment (0)

October 23, 2008

By Jenifer Martin Siemens

In a symbolic celebration of “old meets new,” First Baptist Church, Hartselle, in Morgan Baptist Association commemorated 125 years of ministry Sept. 14.

The anniversary was a time for the church to celebrate restoration, renovation and new construction.

“This Sunday, we will remember God’s blessings on the past. May it also be a time of new commitment to the future,” said Jeff Redmond, senior pastor for the past five years at First, Hartselle. “We hope to build on the traditions from the past and be ready to serve God until He comes again.”

Charlsa Taul Perdew spurred the nearly 600 people in attendance to remember the past as she played a newly restored pump organ. The church purchased the organ in the early 1900s. 

Charles Shaddix — minister of music at First, Hartselle, for the last 15 years — explained that Perdew is the granddaughter of L.N. and Lottie Whitman. L.N. Whitman served as the church’s first music director, while Lottie Whitman was the first organist.

Shaddix said Perdew’s family arranged to have the pump organ restored in anticipation of the 125th anniversary celebration.

In 2007, the completion of a $4 million renovation and building project launched a new era of ministry for the congregation of First, Hartselle, which averages 500 in Sunday morning worship. Additions to existing buildings have provided a new nursery, office, music and educational space, Redmond explained.

A new 9,950-square-foot multipurpose facility houses a welcome center, library, fellowship hall and educational space. 

That space accommodated those who attended the anniversary lunch, which was catered and was reminiscent of an 1883 church potluck. The menu featured old favorites, from peas and greens to cornbread and cobbler.

Redmond said the church’s new ministry focus is two-fold. It will continue the church’s history of missions involvement and missions giving, while equipping members to live out the church’s purpose of “lifting up the name of Jesus, loving all people and living by the Word of God.”

Special guests on hand to honor First, Hartselle, included Lonette Berg, executive director of the Alabama Baptist Historical Commission; Donnell Brown, director of missions for Morgan Association; Ron Wilson, pastor of the church from 1989 to 2002 and now major gift officer of Samford University in Birmingham; and James Blakeney, minister of education at the church from 1981 to 1983 and now associate director of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions Sunday School office.

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