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Pastor Dr. Jerry Light, left, and church members Ann Speir, middle, and Gary Thomason of First Baptist Church pose for the camera Saturday at First Baptist Church on Lauderdale Street. The church will be celebrating their 172nd anniversary Sunday at 10:45 a.m. with a special service.
Pastor Dr. Jerry Light, left, and church members Ann Speir, middle, and Gary Thomason of First Baptist Church pose for the camera Saturday at First Baptist Church on Lauderdale Street. The church will be celebrating their 172nd anniversary Sunday at 10:45 a.m. with a special service. (By Sarah Robinson | Times-Journal)

First Baptist invites community to mark 172nd anniversary

Published 6:50pm Saturday, May 24, 2014

After nearly two centuries of blessings, the congregation of the First Baptist Church on Lauderdale Street is stronger than ever and they’re ready to celebrate it.

The First Baptist Church is inviting everyone to join their 172nd anniversary service Sunday beginning at 10:45 a.m. Held at the church, the special service will include a dedication of the sanctuary renovation plaque to recognize the reconstruction that was done to make the church appear as it does today.

“We are thrilled to be here and feel more of God’s calling to Selma than ever,” First Baptist Church Pastor Dr. Jerry Light, Sr. said. “We feel like that God’s destiny for us was for us to be here.”

After the ceremony, attendees will have an opportunity to reconvene in the new education building for the renaming and dedication of the Jon and Vic Davison Chapel. It will be followed by a fellowship meal in McCrummen Hall.

Organized in May 1842, the church was housed in a building on the corner of Church Street and Alabama Avenue in 1850.  In 1900, the group moved to their present location at the intersection of Dallas Avenue and Lauderdale Street.

Over the years, the church has become a spiritual home to several in the Dallas County community, especially Selma.

Ann Speir, who has been a First Baptist church member for more than 30 years, said there have been plenty of times when she has been going through some personal issues and her church family has been there for her without hesitation.

“Any time I face a crisis and there are problems that are happening in my life, this is one place I could come and they love me through it,” Speir said.

Gary Thomas, a church member since the 1960s, said he understands why so many people have been attracted to the First Baptist Church over the years.

“You sense the presence of Christ in this place,” Thomas said. “Faces have changed, but I don’t think the hearts have changed.”

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