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RESOURCE CENTER AND ARCHIVES

Huntsville’s Westlawn celebrates 50 years of being missions-mindedcomment (0)

December 4, 2008

By Stacey Jones


Formerly a mission church, Westlawn Baptist Church, Huntsville, in Madison Baptist Association celebrated its golden anniversary Sept. 28 by looking back to get an example for its future.

Joey Aderholt, who has been pastor of Westlawn for five years, delivered the anniversary sermon, “Memory of the Future.”

“It was about looking back at those who built the church while looking forward to what the future will hold for the church,” he said.

Aderholt pointed out that the church is very evangelical.

“I have never been around a more missions-minded church,” he said. “They really have a heart for the community.”

Westlawn has many missions programs, according to Grace Akin, member for 40 years and church secretary for 30 years. A commitment to missions programs is quite fitting for a church that started as a mission of West Huntsville Baptist Church, Huntsville, which used to be part of Madison Association but now is independent.

“We do a lot of missions work,” she said. “We have an active WMU and Brotherhood. And we have an ongoing senior ministry where (members) visit shut-ins.”

The church engages in giving to missions, such as the annual Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, and has a World Hunger Day, when food is collected for people in need. The church also collects food items for the local Lighthouse Christian Ministry and participates in World Changers every June.

In addition, Westlawn takes part annually in Operation Christmas Child, collecting at least 100 shoeboxes to be sent by the Samaritan’s Purse relief organization to children in other parts of the world.

Westlawn’s youth ministry offers the missions groups Girls in Action (GAs), Royal Ambassadors (RAs), Challengers and Acteens. Vacation Bible School each summer is attended by at least 100 children. 

Westlawn’s roots are found in Ninth Avenue Mission, which was organized in 1951. When the city decided to do away with the Ninth Avenue area, the mission’s congregation relocated and was chartered Jan. 19, 1958, by West Huntsville as Westlawn Baptist.

At the time, Westlawn had 77 members; it now has around 300 members. Two current members are original charter members.

The church also continues to meet at the same location on 17th Street Southwest.

To commemorate Westlawn’s work during the past 50 years, Melanie Metz, administrative assistant of Alabama Baptist Historical Commission, presented the church with a plaque during the anniversary celebration.

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