Westwood expands to Montevallo

Westwood Montevallo Pastor Corey Stewart speaks to his congregation at the Parnell Memorial Library. (Contributed/Chris McRee)

By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer

MONTEVALLO – With campuses in Alabaster and Calera, Westwood Baptist Church adopted a previous church-plant location in Montevallo as the church’s third Shelby County site.

Westwood Montevallo, previously named Mountain Valley Baptist Church, began as a Westwood church plant in 2007. Services were held in the Parnell Memorial Library, and a Westwood member, George Hicks, served as pastor. The main Westwood body helped Hicks to “kick it off,” Westwood Small Groups Pastor Jay Gordon said.

“He had the heart to be the pastor of a stand-alone church,” Gordon said of Hicks.

When the economy suffered, Hicks moved his family to Atlanta to follow his full-time job.

“The church struggled,” Gordon said. “It was never constituted as a separate church.”

“(On July 17, 2011) we voted to partner with Mountain Valley,” Westwood Montevallo’s new pastor, Corey Stewart, said. “It was a church plant of Westwood that never became an autonomous church. They were heading in that direction, but never quite got there. We really wanted to continue the work he (Hicks) started.”

The church became a multisite for Westwood, similar to the Calera campus. It’s a video venue, where sermons by Pastor Les Hughes in Alabaster are recorded and shown at the Montevallo site on the same Sunday.

“My role, I oversee the campus, and I serve as a shepherd for the local congregation,” Stewart said. “We will have live worship, and we’re still in the process of getting all that together.

“We haven’t launched yet,” he added. “Our official launch date is Oct. 30. Because of the unique opportunity we had with Mountain Valley, we’re ramping up for our launch date.”

Stewart graduated from the University of Montevallo and met his wife while in school.

“I feel a connection to the people of Montevallo and love the town and the culture,” he said.

Stewart said he wants Westwood Montevallo to be a place of community.

“We want to be a church that is in the community. We want to be a part of Montevallo,” he said. “That’s one reason Westwood has chosen to go to Montevallo, to have us go to the people instead of the people coming to us. We want to be a place where people feel welcome. We want to be a church where families with young children, college students and all ages can worship together and enjoy the experience.”

Sunday morning Westwood Montevallo services are held at the Parnell Memorial Library at 10:30 a.m. For more information, email Corey Stewart at cstewart@ewestwood.org.