Selma FBC in the midst of facelift

Published 6:12 pm Saturday, July 13, 2013


Construction continues at First Baptist Church of Selma. Hopes are to have the project completed in August.–Sarah Mahan

By Sarah Mahan
The Selma Times-Journal

First Baptist Church of Selma has been a standout feature of Selma’s downtown since 1904.

Situated on the corner of Dallas Avenue and Lauderdale Street, the church began its first major renovation in early June in an effort to update their century-old sanctuary and better serve their members and the Selma community.

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Harold Speir, chairman of First Baptist’s Renovation Committee and owner of Selma-based Speir Land Company, said the church’s renovation was long overdue.

“It’s the Lord’s house so it should be attractive. It had become rundown through the years and, after 109 years, it’s time to update a few things,” Speir said. “This is the major renovation the church has undergone. About 15 years ago the ceilings were redone and the church was repainted. But as far as anyone can remember, this is the first time a renovation of this size has been done.”

The renovation, which began in earnest on June 3, has included improvements to both the church’s interior and exterior.

“We began with redoing the sidewalks, pressure washing the building, and redoing the landscaping,” he said. “The lighting and floors are being replaced, and the pews are being [refurbished]. The carpet hadn’t actually been replaced in about 50 years, and we discovered beautiful hardwood floors under the carpet that we are restoring. We are also extending our parking lot by basically doubling the amount of parking spaces.”

Speir said the renovation has left no doorknob, pew or light fixture untouched.

“Nothing has been left undone. We started with the locks on the doors and went from there,” Speir said. “It’s the Lord’s timing. Everything just worked out. We started as soon as the construction committee was created and all of our contractors were lined up.”

Speir also said there was something unique about this project.

“All the major contractors used in this project are based in Selma. We can look each of our workers in the eye because they are from here, and that’s why the project is going so well,” he said. “There are still craftsmen right here in Selma that can get the work done, and this project allows everyone to see that.”

While the renovations are underway, First Baptist’s services have not been interrupted.

“First Presbyterian Church has very graciously allowed us to use their sanctuary for our services during construction,” Speir said. “We hold our services there at 9 a.m. and return to First Baptist for Sunday School following the service. Our first in the renovated sanctuary will be held Aug. 18, so Lord-willing everything will be finished by then.”