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University Church honors golden yearcomment (0)

December 18, 2008

By Deirdra Drinkard

University Baptist Church, Huntsville, in Madison Baptist Association marked its golden anniversary by beginning a mission to reach internationals in the community.

On Nov. 2, University began on its campus the international church called Agape International Church.

University member Paul Beduerftig, who speaks three languages, is acting as pastor of Agape International. Agape welcomes people of all nationalities to its Sunday School and morning worship services. Its first two weeks drew in 13 people, according to a church official.

“Starting our international church is an example of how we are finding new ways of reaching neighborhoods and teaching them about Christ,” Pastor Bobby Burt said.

University’s actual anniversary celebration was held Oct. 11–12. On the Saturday night of that weekend, the church had an open house, welcoming former and current members.

The event celebrated the past, which was called to mind by a wall of history. Each attendee also received a booklet on the history of the church.

“Early on … we chose (for the celebration) the theme ‘Remembering the Past — Embracing the Future’ because we can’t rest on what we’ve done in the past. We must evaluate where we are now and (where) we are going in the future,” Burt said.

During the morning worship service Oct. 12, John Long, Madison Association’s director of missions, presented a framed certificate to the church in commemoration of 50 years of Kingdom work.

Beginning an international mission church on its campus brings to full circle the history of University, which started as a mission.

In October 1958, University Baptist — which was then called Cloverdale Baptist Chapel — began as a mission of Mount Zion Baptist Church, Huntsville, in Madison Association.

Sunday School was held in various locations for the first few weeks. The first worship service was in Johnson’s Auto Auction Barn, located at the corner of Cloverdale Road and Jordan Lane.

Attendance for the first service included 60 people in Sunday School and 80 in the morning worship service, according to Dara Kulpa, University member and advertising chairman.

The church was constituted as West Highland Baptist Nov. 23, 1958, with 116 members. The church came to be University Baptist in the early 1960s. Today, it has a membership of 1645 — 817 of whom are resident members and 828 nonresident members.

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