Wildwood Chapel Church celebrates 50 years
By STEPHANIE BRUMFIELD / Staff Writer
COLUMBIANA – Wildwood Chapel Church will celebrate its 50th anniversary Aug. 18, and despite its small size, church member Brenda Holcombe says it has some pretty big connections.
“Many people call this church boot camp for training new ministers,” Holcombe said. “Many people working in large churches started here.”
In fact, Holcombe’s late husband Gary was a minister at a church in California before the family moved back to Columbiana several years ago, and one of the church’s former youth is the children’s church pastor at a large church in Florida. The church has even been home to a missionary now working in Paraguay.
Founded on Aug. 18, 1963 by Frank and Edith Morgan, the predominantly Pentecostal church has about 30 people in attendance each Sunday and still sings traditional “southern gospel along with praise and worship.”
“I think it does so well because it’s so small,” Holcombe said.
It’s ministries, however, are anything but small. Its food pantry ministry, which began in January, has continued to grow and went from feeding about 51 families the first month to feeding about 70 families this past month, or about 220 individuals.
Holcombe was involved with the puppet ministry, which began in the 80s and involved church members putting on skits with puppets as a teaching tool. One woman said she turned her life around because of the puppet Chick a Dee, Holcombe said.
Wildwood is now under the direction of pastor Mack Ritch and his wife Georganna.
Pastor Mack has started what Holcombe calls a “teaching preaching ministry,” where he preaches sermons that aren’t “over the heads” of those he preaches to. Mack is also an outdoorsman.
“Men in the church have become friends with him,” Holcombe said. “He’s a buddy.”
Georganna has also acted as a pastor of sorts, Holcombe said. She leads the music ministry and has also taken the youth on camps and retreats. Holcombe said she is a “real boost” to the church.
Wildwood will combine its annual homecoming with its anniversary celebration. Duane Holcombe, the founders’ son, will be a guest speaker for the day, and there will be guest singers at the service with a dinner immediately following the service.
Wildwood Chapel Church is located at 4817 Shelby County 26 in Columbiana.