New church established in Thorsby

Published 11:54 pm Friday, September 19, 2008

The philosophy of New Beginnings Baptist Church can be found in the church’s name.

“I just had the desire to start a new church where tradition and stigma weren’t there,” Pastor Randy Gothard says.

Not to say that some form of tradition doesn’t exist at New Beginnings. There are some traditional hymns sung, as well as the more contemporary ones younger generations have come to embrace.

But at this church, everybody has something in common: they are all new members because the church itself is new.

“We have a saying here. Don’t drag your past through the door, because we are not interested in your past,” Gothard says.

New Beginnings held their first worship service Sept. 7. They are located in a building on Highway 31 in Thorsby, the former location of The Church at Bethel and previously a furniture store.

Walls were built to petition off a sanctuary and other necessary rooms, and a roomful of pews was donated by Pleasant Grove No. 1 Baptist Church. Those pews are seeing more and more people each week.

“We’re growing,” Gothard said. “People are starting to hear about us and come.”

Gothard has served as a pastor in the Chilton Baptist Association for 25 years, pastoring several churches during that time.

The 1975 Jemison High School graduate grew up in the Mars Hill community and entered the ministry in 1983, completing his seminary training through the local extension of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in 2005.

He is joined by his wife, Terri, who works with children alongside Kim Deavers; his daughter, Allison Ellison, minister of music; Phil Deavers, who is over education; Julie Smith, women’s ministry leader; Kevin Ellison, and Scottie and Sharre Wells. These are currently listed as charter members.

The church does not have deacons but Men of Service (MOS).

“We have petitioned to be in the [Chilton Baptist] association,” Gothard said. “We would be the 58th Southern Baptist Church in the association if we are admitted.”

New Beginnings offers programs for all ages. Service times are: Sunday School at 10 a.m., morning worship at 11, Discipleship Training at 5 p.m., evening worship at 6, Wednesday night service at 6:30.

The church’s Web site may be viewed at