FBC Boldo celebrates 100 yearscomment (0)
January 8, 2009
By Greg Heyman
Though fire consumed much of its recorded history, the foundation of compassion and sound doctrine of First Baptist Church, Boldo, in Jasper has remained unscathed for an entire century.
Barry Barnett, chairman of deacons, has taken note of the legacy at this church in Walker Baptist Association. “The people are very loving and friendly. But also, I’ve always been impressed that, throughout all the different pastors that have served there, the Bible teaching has been very sound.”
Although the church’s early written history has been lost, it was later reconstructed in compilations by Hazel Dowdey, daughter of the founding pastor. That history was recalled for members as Boldo First celebrated its 100th anniversary Dec. 7.
Don Graham, interim pastor of the church since January, estimated that 200 people attended the service. Average Sunday worship attendance is approximately 120.
He believes the success of the church is the result of the commitment of church members to help others.
“They’re very close-knit and have a ministering, caring attitude toward each other and the community,” Graham said.
During the anniversary service, three former pastors (Billy Beasley, pastor from 1960 to 1962; C.W. Box, 1968 to 1970; and David Carroll, 1999 to 2001) were on hand to share their comments. They were joined by Michael Myrick, former youth minister, and his wife, Dianne, as well as Alfred Hartley and J.W. Shaw, both of whom the church licensed and ordained into the ministry. Maxine Cordle, daughter of former pastor Malcolm Cordle (1970 to 1974), also spoke.
Former music ministers Ricky Meeks, Jeannine Windle and Sanford Hendon provided music.
In addition, Lonette Berg, executive director of the Alabama Baptist Historical Commission, and Lucky Teague, director of missions for Walker Association, made presentations.
The service concluded with church members kneeling during a prayer for direction.
“I closed with a challenge and assurance about the future,” Graham said.
In 1977, some 32 years after the fire that destroyed early church records, Dowdey — daughter of first pastor Leroy Williams — penned the history of Boldo First “as she remembered it from the early years,” the account states.
In years that followed, the history was recorded by Barbara Wheeler, a member for 41 years.
According to historical accounts, the church was started on Sunrise Road in 1887, as an effort between a local Baptist group and a Church of Christ congregation. Williams preached for the Baptists in what is described as “a small crude structure.”
In 1901, the Church of Christ group relocated. But the Baptist congregation remained at the site and, subsequently, took the name Leroy Baptist in memory of their first pastor. The Baptists’ first building — a hulled-in structure with a small, flat-top stove for heat, kerosene wall lamps, crude benches and no musical instruments — was completed in 1910.
Then in April 1945, a fire burned the home of the church’s pastor at the time, Clayton Shaw, and destroyed all records of Leroy Baptist.
Shortly after that, work began on a new building on Boldo Cemetery Road. This building was expanded in 1962, adding 17 classrooms and a brick exterior.
In the mid-1980s, the church again took up the issue of a name, voting to call it Boldo First Baptist to reflect the community where it is located.
The congregation continued worshipping in the same location until March 16, 2003, when the church relocated about a half mile away to its newly constructed Christian Life Center on Highway 69.
Soon after, planning began for a building with a 400-seat sanctuary, bridal suite and nursery. The first service was held in that building on Sept. 4, 2005.