Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church will celebrate 106 yearsBy Emily Etheredge Published 3:07pm Friday, October 18, 2013
When reflecting on more than a century of church history at Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church in Clanton, Morris Bryant recalls fond memories of learning traditional hymns from growing up in the church.
“When I was young, we would have older members from other churches come and teach us music,” Bryant said. “Back then you were taught to sing from a hymn book and we would just sit and sing during singing sessions.”
Bryant has attended Morning Star for more than 60 years and will help the church celebrate its 106th anniversary and homecoming on Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
Pastor R.W. Davis of Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Alabaster will conduct the service as members of the church celebrate the history of Morning Star.
According to church history, Bud and Lizzie Barbour gave one acre of land to build the church in 1907.
At the time, Hopewell Baptist Church was the closest church location and residents in the community struggled traveling five miles in a wagon so they decided to construct Morning Star.
A new church was built in 1960 and a cedar tree is on the ground marking the spot where the original church stood.
Leroy Feagin started attending the church in 1977 when he moved from Jefferson County after being a foot soldier with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Feagin migrated to Chilton County to raise his cattle and started visiting Morning Star to meet individuals in the community.
“I had come from a very different time in Birmingham where there was a lot of violence during the Civil Rights Movement,” Feagin said. “When I came to Chilton County, I visited several churches before I decided on a certain church, but I liked the way Morning Star operated.”
Upon first attending the church, Feagin noticed that the church would only meet on the second and fourth Sunday of each month due to a lack of pastors who would often pastor multiple churches throughout Alabama.
“Back then there weren’t a lot of pastors so those that did pastor would often spread out their time going to different churches,” Feagin said. “When they couldn’t come, you just didn’t have church, but I was used to going to church every Sunday in Birmingham. There was a suggestion made that we meet every Sunday, and we did, and we have had church every Sunday since then.”
Another significant change for the church was in 1997 when members added a sanctuary and remodeled the existing building.
“There was a time we had a wood heater sitting in the middle of the floor to heat the building,” Feagin said. “I remember one Sunday we all had to go home because there was no fire in the furnace. It was a big thing when we added central heat and air to this church.”