Seventh-Day Adventists prepare to mark 83 years in city

Published 12:10 am Friday, August 27, 2010

As they prepare to celebrate their church’s 83rd anniversary, members of Andalusia’s Seventh Day Adventist Church hopes a sewing project will help them sow new members.

The local church opened Sept. 24, 1927, with 22 members.

“The church worshipped at the Covington County Courthouse,” anniversary organizer Terry Greene said.

Greene said the first service was held Oct. 6, 1927, and the church’s pastor was Allen Walker.

The church expanded to include its own building on McLendon Avenue around 1930, and at the time there were around 13 members in the church.

“At that time we had people come from Pensacola (Fla.) to worship,” Head Elder Marion McCollough said. “We stayed at the McLendon Avenue site until we moved to our current location.”

The church built a new building on Stanley Avenue around 1976, Head Elder Lavon Odom said.

“It was built by all volunteer labor,” McCollough said.

Currently, there are 35 members.

Pastor Eric Bates said the Seventh Day Adventist Church is one of the fastest growing religious denominations in the world.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church (SDA), is distinguished by its observance of Saturday, the original seventh day of the Judeo-Christian week, as the Sabbath, and by its emphasis on the imminent second coming of Jesus Christ. As of May 2007, it was the 12th-largest religious body in the world, and the sixth-largest highly international religious body.

It’s the local church’s goal to follow in the footsteps of the worldwide organization and expand its membership, Bates said.

One way the church hopes to expand its presence is through a sewing circle, Greene said. Volunteers would make packages for babies through young adults that include a pair of pajamas and some form of entertainment.

“We hope to give these out to a home in Opp, first,” Greene said. “We need help from the community. They don’t have to be Seventh Day Adventist – we can use anybody who likes to sew and cut out patterns.”

Pastor Eric Bates

Greene said the sewing group typically meets on Sundays, since their worship service is held each Saturday morning.

“Anybody who wants to help the community or the people in the country of Panama, unwed mothers or those from abusive homes, their help would be appreciated,” he said.

Before the economic downturn, the church provided food for 25 families every other week, and it’s something they hope to pick up again, when the funds become available.

“Community service is a big part of our church,” McCollough said.

The church also offers free Bible studies either through the church or correspondence.

The church will celebrate its anniversary Oct. 2 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., with a service consisting of worship, a homily similar to the first sermon, and the elders will read about the church in the past, present and future.

Church services are Saturday at 8:30 a.m., and Tuesday night at 6:30.