For First Baptist Church, Trussville, their 200th anniversary was a great time to celebrate the past, but it was an even better time to do what they feel is a vital part of who they are — serve on mission.
Church members gathered July 17 to bag 38,000 pounds of sweet potatoes to be distributed to area homeless shelters and soup kitchens, hand out lemonade in the front parking lot of the church and pack 725 boxes of school supplies to give away to children in the community.
To celebrate their bicentennial, First Baptist also had a celebration during Sunday services July 1; a birthday dinner July 14, the actual date of the anniversary; and a legacy luncheon July 18 for anyone who has been a member of the church for 50 years or more.
During the Sunday services, Pastor Buddy Champion brought a message called “A Challenge to the Church.” A variety of special guests were present, including Rick Lance, executive director of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions; Buddy Choat, mayor of Trussville; and Gary Hollingsworth, pastor of First Baptist from 1996-2006 and current executive director-treasurer for the South Carolina Baptist Convention.
The Wednesday dinner included opening a time capsule and a challenge for church members to spend 200 hours in the next year serving others. Lonette Berg, executive director of the Alabama Baptist Historical Commission, and Michael Ethridge, director of operations for Birmingham Metro Baptist Association, presented the church with certificates.
“The purpose of the entire week was to celebrate what God has done over 200 years and to put feet to our mission to reach lost people,” said Lance Pate, executive pastor. “Opportunities to worship and serve wrapped up the 200-year celebration into a complete picture.”