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History of the First Baptist Church of Alva
The following narrative relates some of the important developments and changes which have taken place in our Church, which was first established as ALVA BAPTIST MISSION on December 11, 1963
ALVA BAPTIST MISSION was an offspring of OLGA BAPTIST CHURCH. There were 22 original members, consisting of Reverend and Mrs. H. H. Highfill, Reverend Highfill being the first pastor. (He was ordained on August 30, 1964) Mr. and Mrs. C. C. Gomez, Mrs. Wilhemina Byle, Mrs. Ella Mae Lucky, Mr. and Mrs. Aubrie Johnson, James Manning, Mr. and Mrs. Billy Murphy, Mrs. Ithena Murphy, Mr. and Mrs. Eddie Woodson, Ralph Barnes, and Mrs. Joyce Handley.
Sunday School began in February, 1964 with Mr. and Mrs. James Manning as the first Sunday School teachers.
The first business meeting was called to order on March 25, 1964, by Mr. Webster, Chairman of the Mission Committee. It was at this meeting that the governing relationship between OLGA BAPTIST, the sponsoring Church and ALVA BAPTIST MISSION, as accepted by Olga Baptist Church, was read in full. During this meeting there was a Steering Committee elected, consisting of the following people: Mrs. Lelia Johnson Northcutt, Mrs. Irene Gomez and Mr. Isom Dees. The Steering Committee was also to act as the Nominating Committee until further growth of the Mission. Mrs. Florence Highfill acted as the temporary clerk until the next business meeting of April 15, 1964.
The first baptisms were the following people: Bernie Barns, Mary Barnes, Beverly Barnes, Gary Groff and Nick Groff. these were all baptized on March 8, 1964.
The first officers elected on April 15, 1964, were as follows: Sunday School Superintendent, Mr. Henry L. Graham; Training Union Director, Mr. Aubrie L. Johnson; Church Clerk, Mrs. Joyce Handley; Treasurer, Mrs. Bessie Dees; Flower Chairman, Mrs. Bessie Dees.
On April 24, 1964, the following officers and teachers were elected: Sunday School Secretary Mrs. Florence Highfill; Teacher for the Adult Women, Mrs. Irene Gomez; Teacher for the Intermediates, Mr. Aubrie L. Johnson; Teacher for the Junior Girls and Boys, Mrs. Corine Graham; Song Leader, Mr. James Manning; Assistant Pianist, Lelia Johnson Northcutt; Building Committee; Mr. Isom Dees, Mr. Gomez, and Mr. Homer Bussell.
On November 4, 1964, Mr. Homer Bussell was elected a first Choir Director.
On July of 1965, Mrs. Ruth Bussell was elected Head of the Extension Department.
In June of 1965 a new Educational Building was planned; also a heating system for the Mission was donated by Mr. Pore.
On August 17, 1965, the first Church Hostess to be elected was Mrs. C. C. Gomez; the first Beginner teacher, Mrs. O'Brian; first Primary teacher, Mrs. H. H. Highfill; first Young People's teacher, Mrs. Homer Bussell; first Assistant teacher, Mrs. Marjorie (better known as Peggy) Burlingham; first Assistant Treasurer, Mrs. Peggy Burlingham; first usher, Mr. Edward Walker. Also, in August, 1965 Mrs. Griffin was elected as first Assistant Sunday School Superintendent and general teacher at large.
In September, 1965, Mr. Gomez started working on plans for building Sunday School rooms.
On October 11, 1965, Pastor Highfill turned in his resignation as Pastor of the Alva Baptist Mission.
In November of 1965, Reverend George H. Liner, who was Pastor of Olga Baptist Church, also acted as Pastor of the Alva Baptist Mission, with the worship service at the Mission being held at 9:45 am and the Sunday School beginning at 11:00 am in order that Reverend Liner might also be able to preach at the morning worship service of Olga Church. Pastor Liner's daughter acted as pianist at this time.
On December 19, 1965, the Alva Baptist Mission rented a trailer, until such time when Sunday School rooms could be built.
August 4, 1966, finds the first Pulpit Committee being elected, consisting of the following people; Mr. Gayle Lewis as Chairman and Mr. Bishop and Mrs. Homer Bussell serving with him.
September of 1966 finds the Mission buying a trailer to replace the one they had formerly rented.
The first Sunday of October 1966, was a day to remember! A young man named George A. Henderson, Jr., with his wife Anita and their two children Serena and Trey, came on the scene. This young couple joined the Alva Baptist Mission at this time and "Brother George" as he is affectionately called, became the Pastor being appointed by Pastor Liner. Praise the LORD, he is still with us!
On October 5, 1966 the first teacher, Mrs. Larrine Bishop, was chosen. At this time Mrs. Dorothy Walker became the first Nursery Chairman; the first Social Chairmen was Mrs. Williams with Deanna Wills, Dot Walker, Deanna Carter and Joyce Handley working with her. The first Janitor was Mrs. Irene Gomez.
In April of 1967, the first Junior Choir was started with Mrs. Glenah Smitley volunteering to lead it.
Our Pastor, Brother George Henderson was licensed on June 14, 1967.
In July of 1967, plans for the Educational Building and laying of the foundation was accepted.
In January of 1968, Mrs. Dyess gave the Church permission to put up a sign pointing to Alva Baptist Mission. She donated the use of her property for the sign on Highway 80.
The educational Building was built in July of 1968.
In July of 1968, a special business meeting was called, upon instructions by the Olga Baptist Pastor, to discuss plans for the Alva Baptist Mission becoming a self sustaining Church and having an ordained pastor. A committee consisting of Mrs. Peggy Burlingham, Mr. Earl Hunt, Mr. Mitchell Whidden and Brother George Henderson, was chosen to work on it. A resolution was passed that it become a Church! Alva Baptist Mission also voted for the ordination service of Brother George Henderson, the Mission Pastor. Accordingly, Brother George Henderson was ordained on September 15, 1968.
On November 19, 1969, the members of the Mission all got together and painted the rooms in the Educational Building. Various other tasks were also done during 1969.
On March 18, 1970, Alva Baptist Mission voted to accept the 19 Articles of Faith of the Southern Baptist Association.
The Alva Baptist Mission was organized into a self sustaining Church and was incorporated April 15, 1970, with the following six people as trustees: Mr. Billy Murphy, Mr. Homer Bussell, Mr. Earl Hunt, Mrs. Queenie Sikes, Mrs. Peggy Burlingham and Mr. Mitchell Whidden.
The following are a list of names of those who were Charter Members of the new Church
Mr. and Mrs. C. C. Gomez, Patricia Meloy, Mrs. Lelia Johnson Northcutt, Mr. and Mrs. Billy Murphy, Larry Kennedy, Jean Styles, Mrs. C. A. Murphy, Mrs. Alice Woodson, Mr. Eddy Woodson, Ralph Barnes, Wilhelmina Byle, Mrs. Mary Barnes, Stafford Luckey, Evelyn Luckey, Roxanne Luckey, Mr. Medford Williams, Thelma Davis, Mr. and Mrs. Homer Bussell, Peggy and Lois Burlingham, Deanna and Judi Lynn Carter, Mrs. Anetta Collier, Cecil and Edward Davis, Charles Delmoro, Mr. and Mrs. John H. Gilbert, Mr. and Mrs. Earl Hunt, Mrs. Vivian Golden, Mrs. Elizabeth Handley, Freddie O'Brian, Floella O'Brian, Mrs. Cora Royer, Laura Dean Sands, Mrs. Hallie Williams, Beverly Barnes, Bernie Barnes, Ethel Edwards, Raymond and Myrtle Chrysler, Mrs. Joyce Handley, Sue Williams, Mr. Isom Dees, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Snyder, Robert Bussell, Barney Dale Williams, Mr. and Mrs. Louis Mitchel Whidden, Elston McKay Prevatt, Pastor and Mrs. George A. Henderson, Jr., Serena Louise Henderson, Mr. Clifton Murphy, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Walker, Valerie Weaver, Robert Whidden, Edna Mae Whidden, Gwendolyn L. Wills, Verline Wills, Oscar Luckey, Nick and Gary Groff, Max and Rex Griffin, Patty Lou Williams, Mrs. Queenie Sikes, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Lamar Munro, Gary Michael Carter, Melany Sikes.
On April 22, 1970, the new Church was named "the First Baptist Church of Alva" by unanimous vote.
On Oct 10. 1970, the foundation for the new Church building, the one we are now occupying, was started.
On December 20, 1970, the First Baptist Church of Alva held an ordination service for its first deacon, Mr. Mitchel Whidden.
June 2, 1971 finds the floor being poured for the new Church.
August 11, 1971, Mrs. Peggy Burlingham reports that the Church now owns it s own property.
Brother George Henderson, Jr. became our first full time Pastor on May 17, 1972.
On the second Sunday of October, 1972, Brother Gerald V. Frost became our first Assistant Pastor. He served in this capacity until January of 1974, at which time, he was called to Pastor the Baptist Mission at Sanibel Island.
In 1972 and 1973 much work was done on the new Church building, Pastor's Study and Church Office, partitions built in the old Church building, making five much needed Sunday School class rooms. As attendance grew, we started using the new pews. A new mimeograph machine was presented to the Church. Seven lots bordering our Church Property was also purchased. $7,776 were given to Missions, which includes Foreign, Home and other Mission projects.
We had our first Worship service in our new Sanctuary on Easter 1972. We started using our Church full time from that date.
In 1973 and 1974 the pulpit and front of inside of the Church were completed. Baptist Hymnal and Inspiration hymnbooks were purchased. An adding machine was also purchased. A bus ministry was started.
On August 7, 1974, Phillip Edwards was called to be the Assistant Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Alva. He was ordained November 9, 1975.
Some other interesting facts
Other gifts received by our Church are as follows: Organ, office furniture, pulpit furniture, shelves for library and pew Bibles.
Much labor was donated, some of which, by those outside the Church.
Revivals and Bible Conferences were held over the years by various Pastors and Missionaries, including Pastor Harvey, Pastor Holbrook, Pastor Fred Williams, Pastor David Henderson, Pastor George Henderson Sr., Pastor John Robles, Pastor Peter Deyneka; Open Air Campaigns Missionary Flights International, New Tribes Mission, Over The Road and others.
Our Church now has a program, "Lifting You", by Brother George Henderson, coming over WSOR Radio, six days a week at 12:55 pm at 95.3 on your dial.
Our Church is now completed, with the exception of the carpeting, and paid for, PRAISE THE LORD!