Thursday, June 26, 2008

The History of First Baptist Church of Lithia Springs: the 1960s

This is part three of a chuch history written by Irene Leavell and Vivian Cranford, members of FBCLS. Part one can be found here. Part two can be found here.

In 1961, the auditorim was redecorated and air-conditioned. Also, a $25,000 pastorium was built. Mr. A.B. Craven supervised the work without cost. Many people contributed labor and materials. It is located on Cooper Street. A dedication service was held at the Sunday Morning Worship hour.

In November, 1962, the church elected a planning and survey committee to start a mission. Mr. J.P. Leavell was chairman of this committee. In February, 1963, the church acquired twelve acres for this purpose from “Mom and Dad” Long.

In January, 1965, F.M. Davis was called to be the Associate Pastor of the First Baptist Church and to direct the work of a new mission. On May 12, 1965, the first service was held with 300 people present. Rev. Wallace H. Preast was the first pastor of the church. On October 2, 1966, the mission was constituted as the Lithia Heights Baptist Church. In 1967, this church began a kindergarten ministry and has continued to grow in all its areas of work. At this time it has a new pastor, the Rev. Bernard Weaver. (Rev. Donald Phillips was pastor 1969-1970).

On April 7, 1968, twenty-two years from the beginning of the church, a Ground Breaking Service was held to dramatize a new building program. A new educational annex was planned to cost $200,000 which would double the value and space of the present building. Two of the original twelve members were now deceased, one was living on the west coast, but nine of the original and many other charter members attended. The church at this time had a membership of 842, a Sunday School enrollment of 788 and a Training Union with 350 members.

In 1968, the church purchased a home on Creel Drive for the Minister of Education and Music. Mr. J.W. Winchester and his famly moved here from Indiana to assume this position in the church. He made a marvelous contribution to the church, but is now [at the time of this writing] serving as Minister of Education at Mableton First Baptist Church and has recently been ordained as a minister.