Sunday, May 15, members of The First Congregational-United Church of Christ invite you to attend the church’s 143rd Church Anniversary and Homecoming along with celebrating another milestone for the church, receiving official recognition of its place on the list of Alabama’s Register of Landmarks and Heritage.
The church is located at 202 Martin Luther King Drive North. The pastor is the Rev. Reginald N. Holloway.
The day begins with a worship service at 11 a.m., conducted by guest minister the Rev. Arthur Price Jr., pastor for the historic Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.
The theme for the day is “Perpetual Thanksgiving for Restoration,” with the selected scripture for the day from Psalm 126:3, “The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.”
Cathy Clark, associate minister for The United Church of Christ of Atlanta will deliver the dedication Sunday. Other officials expected for the occasion are Dr. Billy Hawkins, president of Talladega College; Talladega Mayor Brian York and Talladega County Commissioner Kelvin Cunningham.
Price is a 1995 graduate of Colgate Rochester Divinity School and received the master of divinity degree, emphasizing Biblical studies. He completed undergraduate study at Temple University in Philadelphia and received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He was employed by the Philadelphia Office of the District Attorney as a prosecution assistant for 10 years.
He was licensed to preach in November, 1990 and was ordained to the ministry in 1994.
His father, the Rev. Charles Walker, pastor of Nineteenth Street Baptist Church in Philadelphia, provided much of Price’s training in the Gospel.
He has received a number of honors and awards, including the Black Pastors Award, Black American Churchmen of New York State Award in 1993 and several scholarship awards.
Before becoming pastor for Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, Price served as associate minister of St. Matthew’s Baptist Church in Williamstown, N.J. for a congregation of 5,000; and was associate minister of Mt. Vernon Baptist Church in Rochester, N.Y. for four years and led a weekly worship service and preached at least once a month.
While in the Rochester area, Price served as minister of education at Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church, where he developed a spiritual and cultural curriculum for young adults. He ministered to senior citizens through a weekly Bible study group and provided counseling on an individual basis.
From 1993 until 1995, he served as director of the Community Summer Fun Camp where he provided spiritual, educational and cultural instruction for 50 to 60 youth.
Church member Sadie Curry keeps scrapbooks of the church’s history, and can show records that reveal how the first church building was built for $7,553, the members using grants and loans along with their own money to get the funding.
There are drawn plans for the building in the scrapbooks, along with other mementos from through the church’s 143 years.
Church meetings first started in 1868 with services held at DeForest Chapel, but as the college grew, the church decided to pursue its own building.
The building they met in was called the Community House, which was used as a place for many activities for families and children, through about the 1950s, Curry said.
“It was like a recreation center,” she said.
Though there are only about six active members now, the church remains active in their services and in their community.
The church is located adjacent to Talladega College and the membership hosts Outreach Ministry events for students at Talladega College each year.
Many children of former members help the church to continue, and Curry said members themselves do a lot of the work it takes to keep the church going.
The eight stained glass windows in the church were made by longtime member Mable Moore’s grandson, who lives in Georgia.
They are designed with a large gold cross in the middle and surrounded with light blue glass with borders done in shades of light and deep pink.
Several of them have been “adopted,” and bear memorial brass plaques to members and former members.
Following the services Sunday, the church hosts a catered lunch.
Having the church designated as an historic place was a tedious process, but one Curry said was important.
“Preserving the history will remind generations to come where they came from,” she said. “And how this place came to be.”
Contact Laura Nation-Atchison at firstname.lastname@example.org.