A Time to Give Thanks: Church Celebrates 108th Homecoming
By Chanel Bingham | Special to the Advertiser
Church homecomings are a time to celebrate and remember how God has worked in the life of a church body over the years. Congregations come together and give thanks for the sacrifices made by their ancestors and share stories of God’s faithfulness.
This coming Sunday, the congregation of Maplesville Baptist Church will gather together to celebrate those memories and the history of the church during their 108th Homecoming Celebration.
In looking forward to the celebration, Pastor Terry Harris emphasized the importance of recognizing the faithfulness of church ancestors in establishing a solid foundation for today.
“It has taken many people to get us to where we are now, and we are thankful for their sacrifices,” Harris said. “This is a time to celebrate and give thanks.”
Maplesville Baptist Church was founded in 1907 after an organized tent meeting.
Worshippers would gather in a tiny, wooden frame building for services led by their very first pastor, the Rev. J.W. Mitchell.
Today, the sacrifices made by ancestors are evident as the congregation now gathers in a facility that houses a sanctuary, education building and Christian Life Center. And while the church is grateful for the blessing of their facility, they are even more thankful for the memories that have been formed inside.
Dot Pearce, a long-time member of the church, recalled one of her fondest memories.
“I was asked many years ago by the pastor’s wife to lead the Sunbeams class one summer, which was sort of like a Bible study club for preschool age children,” Pearce said. “I was told that I could only teach for the summer, though, because I was not a member of the church. My husband and I had been regular attendees for eight year up until that point. At the end of the summer, I told my husband that I was going to move my letter and become a member, because I wanted to continue working with the children. That was in 1960, and I have been a member ever since.”
Children have always been an important part of Maplesville Baptist Church.
In an effort to reach out to families in the community, the church offers several children’s activities including Sunday School and children’s choir, along with special cookouts for the community.
As the congregation prepares to look back on its history and the faithfulness and service of the many people that came before, they also look to the future.
“I would love to see us grow spiritually, walking with the Lord daily and ministering and serving together,” Harris said. “We are a church that cares about the community, and we want to be a part of the community and grow together in the word of the Lord.”
Maplesville Baptist Church will celebrate its 108th Homecoming Oct. 4 at 10:30 a.m. with a special service led by vintage Gospel band The Kempters.
Following the morning service, a pot luck lunch will be held in the newly renovated Christian Life Center. The church is located at 9391 Alabama Hwy. 22 in Maplesville.
1907-(Date not available): Rev. J. W. (John Wiley) Mitchell
11/1910- 09/1913: Rev. R. M. Woods
11/1913-01/1917: Rev. R. R. Brasher
07/1919-09/1920: Rev. C. W. Cook
06/1921-10/1921: Rev. W. B. Ernest
09/1921-(Date not available): Rev. John Deramus
1922-(Date not available): Rev. W. J. Ruddick
1922-(Date not available): Rev. J. C. Merchant
08/1923-08/1924: Rev. W. T Edwards
08/1925-08/1926: Rev. T. B. McPheeters
08/1926-08/1928: Rev. G. G. Williams
09/1928-02/1934: Rev. Paul Oden
02/1934-11/1934: Rev. J. E. Hamrick
02/1935-(Date not available): Rev. A. S. Bentley
07/1937-(Date not available): Dr. Napier
08/1938-(Date not available): Rev. Arnold Weaver
05/1940-(Date not available): Rev. J. D. Hopper
03/1948-(Date not available): Rev. Charles Martin
05/1948-02/1950: Rev. Clayton Gilbert (first full-time pastor)
04/1950-12/1951: Rev. Evan N. Johnson
08/1952-12/1955: Rev. William F. Rasberry, Jr.
01/1956-07/1962: Rev. Charlie H. Stringer
08/1962-03/1964: Rev. Robert Edge, Jr.
06/1964-05/1966: Rev. J. Paul Banks
06/1967-07/1969: Rev. H. T. Karn, Jr.
12/1969-08/1976: Rev. Cecil Little
03/1977-10/1977: Rev. Rod Calvert
03/1978-06/1983: Rev. Bill Brown (appointed missionaries to Togo, West Africa on August 7,
08/1983-08/1987: Rev. Art Hartley
01/1988-09/1999: Rev. Ron Gatlin
02/2000-08/2008: Bro. Tyrone Parten
07/2009-06/2011: Bro. Ben Bowden
06/2013-present: Bro. Terry Harris