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Huntsville’s Lakewood Church celebrates 50th anniversarycomment (0)

December 18, 2008

By Gary Hardin

Lakewood Baptist Church, Huntsville, in Madison Baptist Association — which began with meetings in homes — recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.

During the Oct. 26 anniversary service, Marie Woodfin, a representative of the Alabama Baptist Historical Commission, presented the church with a recognition plaque. Chris Doss, a retired minister and former Jefferson County civic leader, delivered the morning message.

In late 1958, 81 charter members constituted Lakewood Baptist after Hoyt Vassar, then director of missions for Madison Association, conducted a survey of the Lakewood area in northwest Huntsville. The survey found that 85 families were interested in having a church started there.

That year, the congregation obtained property at the church’s current location on Mastin Lake Road. Robert Thompson became the first pastor.

According to Eli Miller, a charter member, the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions provided some money to help the congregation make its land purchase. “Our own people built the first building,” he said.

“We first met in homes in the Lakewood subdivision. Then we moved to a school building that was not in use. The school officials allowed us to use the building on Sundays,” Miller said.

Louise Higgins, another charter member, remembered that the first building the church constructed had one room, partitioned by curtains. Nonetheless, it was exciting to have a church close by, she recalled.

“It was pleasant to have a church near where we lived. At the time, we were members of First Baptist Church, Huntsville (in Madison Association). We felt led to join in with this new church called Lakewood Baptist Church,” she said.

From the beginning, the congregation made a commitment to put Christ first, charter member Juanita Avery explained. “It’s the most important thing a church can do, and we tried to do this from the start. Our early years were all good years.”

In the early 1960s, the original building was demolished so the congregation could construct a two-story education building and a worship center. Construction was completed in 1966.

According to church records, membership at Lakewood peaked near 1,020 in 1996.

But transition in the Lakewood area resulted in a membership decline. As demographics shifted, though, so did the ministry of Lakewood. The church today is an interracial congregation.

Currently, the church is served by a part-time staff of four, including Walter G. Nunn, the pastor. “Lakewood has been a missions-minded, loving, stable church through the years. I’m honored to serve with them,” Nunn said.

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