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Elkdale celebrates 50 years

Elkdale Baptist Church will celebrate 50 years of worship this weekend as the congregation remembers its beginnings as a small community church in north Selma.

Elkdale has a membership of more than 1,700 and offers multiple services and programs to the community. The church takes up nearly a city block at the intersection of Elkdale and Highland Avenue.

But it hasn’t always been that way. In the early 1950s, the church was started to serve what was then a booming neighborhood on Selma’s north side. That neighborhood &045;&045; behind where the present church is located &045;&045; was growing after World War II and Elkdale grew with it.

The church was declared in November of 1952 after a few people met for Sunday school at the home of the Osbornes on 7th Avenue. A sanctuary costing $38,000 was dedicated a year later at the current location.

Six years later, the church had grown from 39 in Sunday school to 782. &uot;The leaders could see that north Selma would really grow,&uot; says charter member Kitty Singley.

Since then, Elkdale has continually added on to its facilities and the sprawling red brick complex is a popular place on Sundays.

This weekend Elkdale will celebrate with Sunday school at 9 a.m. and a worship service that begins at 10 a.m. That service will include a 45-minute movie on the history of the church. A celebration lunch, by reservation, begins at noon.

Singley says the church has more plans for growth. A new sanctuary is in the works. When completed, the old sanctuary will be converted into a fellowship hall.

Charter members of Elkdale still living include: Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Brown, Bill Brackin, Mrs. Maurine Sykes Burton, Mrs. C.F. Dunaway, Mrs. Marjorie Martin Friday, Mr. and Mrs. Walker K. Gaddy, Mrs. Pennye Little Gwin, Mrs. Terrell Hicks, Mrs. Irving Kirkland, Mrs. Harriette Elder Mandley, Mr. and Mrs. T.A. McLeod, Mr. and Mrs. G.L. Melton, Mrs. John Peters, Mrs. Elaine Melton Ramm, Mrs. Johnnie Ruckman, Mr. Curtis Rushing, Jr., Mrs. Lamar Salter, Mrs. Lewis Singley, Mrs. Anne Flowers Smith, Mrs. Jerry Gaddy Watson, and Mr. and Mrs. Woodrow Wilson.