Church reaches 100 years, celebrates ‘God’s faithfulness’
Published 3:56 pm Friday, September 14, 2018
By CAROLINE CARMICHAEL / For the Reporter
COLUMBIANA – A Columbiana church is celebrating 100 years and giving glory to the God who congregants say accomplished this feat.
“The Lord has brought us to this point, and there will be people after us who have to keep serving him at this church,” Bro. Phillip Rush of Antioch Baptist Church said.
Antioch Baptist Church met its century milestone on Aug. 3, kicking off a full month of celebration with a brief but meaningful “Happy Birthday” serenade at the church.
Rush said a homecoming anniversary celebration on Sept. 9 shared its joy on a much larger scale, doubling Sunday’s church attendance with Antioch families and affiliates eager to participate and reminisce about the church’s history.
Popular Antioch memories included weddings, baptisms and the “old schoolhouse” that once housed the church after its founding in 1918, according to Rush.
Rush said Sept. 9 festivities centered on a “Grateful for the past, growing to the future” theme.
“We are part of something bigger than ourselves … and there are people who have been doing this this before we ever came along,” Rush said. “We’re just building on what they started.”
The service featured a mixture of old hymns and contemporary worship songs, a dance performance and a reading response composed specifically for the occasion as a declaration of rededication to the Lord by members of Antioch Baptist Church.
“Part of what we hope is that this church will make an impact that’s eternal in this community and [world], and that it will make an impact for the Lord and his kingdom,” Rush said. “What we’re praying for is what’s in the heart of the people of this church. That will be what should be carried on. Buildings can come and go, but what’s in the heart of the people is what should be passed on.”
Rush said everyone in attendance bore witness to this testimony and to the consecration of the church to God’s purpose.
Several of these attendees included representatives of the Alabama Baptist Association and the Alabama Baptist Historical Society, who each presented congratulatory plaques to the church.
As perhaps another memorable marker for Antioch history, Rep. Corley Ellis of the Alabama House of Representatives presented a resolution “honoring Antioch Baptist Church for 100 years of service,” which was accompanied by a letter of congratulations from Gov. Kay Ivey.
Rush said it is a privilege to know each of these special guests personally, “but at the same time to know they’re sharing something of eternal value with us.”
Moving forward, Rush said the church plans to continue in its vision for the future and obedience to God’s call.
“This is not about looking backwards, we’re going to a future and we’re looking to the Lord to rely on Him. We’re his church. Jesus is alive. He keeps this church alive, and here we are.”
Antioch Baptist Church is located at 2870 County Rd. 61 in Columbiana.