Church to mark anniversary, break ground for addition

Published 1:52 am Thursday, May 30, 2019

St. Mary’s Episcopal Church will celebrate a 70th anniversary, and break ground on facilities to help the church grow in the future June 15 and 16.

In the congregation’s very early days, church members met upstairs in the office building of Andalusia Electric Co., according to a history compiled in 2012 by Marianne Merill Weber, whose mother, Mary Jim Merrill Pianowski, was a founding member.

Seventy years ago, that founding congregation held its first worship service in its building on Second Avenue on June 16, 1949, when the Right Rev. C.J. Carpenter, bishop of the Diocese of Alabama, officiated at Evening Prayer.

According to Weber’s history, that church was a community effort.

“The organ and light fixtures were donated by members of the community who weren’t Episcopalian, and many supported rummage sales on the courthouse square,” to raise money for the church’s building fund.

When the church moved to its current location on East Three Notch, that first church building was moved from Second Avenue to East Three Notch and incorporated into the design. Now, church members are prepared to grow its facilities again.

On Sat., June 15, St. Mary’s again will host the bishop for a special ceremony when the Right Rev. Russell Kendrick, bishop of the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast, speaks at a 6 p.m. groundbreaking for a new addition. The addition will include an office suite, a conference room, several classrooms, and additional parking.

The Rev. Bob Randall, former rector of St. Mary’s and current rector of Old Donation Church, Virginia Beach, Virginia, will preach here on Sun., June 16, in a 9:15 a.m. worship service, followed by lunch.

For questions, please call 334-222-2487.