A Walk Through History
September 11, 2015
Southern Torch (3842 articles)

A Walk Through History

By Hubert Paul Tumlin

A New Beginning

In the fall of 1927, disaster struck the community.  The Rainsvillle Missionary Baptist Church burned to the ground.  However, a group of believers expedited plans to rebuild.  The church had already begun plans to build a new church and had collected money and building materials.  Amidst the plans dissension grew – one faction wanted to rebuild at the old site and one faction wanted to rebuild at a site near the Rainsville School building.

As time went on, settlement could not be reached.  In December 1927, the church voted to meet on January 7, 1928 for the specific purpose of settling the issue.  Rev. W. B. Riddle, a minister in the DeKalb Association, and Mr. J. Valder Curtis, Sr., a deacon, were invited to moderate the meeting jointly.

On January 7, the membership met; sang a song – “All Hail the Power of Jesus Name”; heard scriptures read from the 11th Chapter of 1st Corinthians; and agreed to a plan formulated by Rev. Riddle and Mr. Curtis.  The plan included the following:

1. The membership of the church would divide.  Each member would select the group he or she desired.

2. All collected money became became the property of the group desiring to remain at the at the old site. They also retain the name “Rainsville Missionary Baptist Church.”

3. The supplies and materials became the property of the group desiring to move to the new site.  Also this group had to select a new name.

After the above was agreed to, each person at the meeting declared their desire to join a specific group.  Later on the same day,  Rev. Riddle moderated the first meeting for the group who chose to move.  The first order of business was the selection of a church name.  Broadway Baptist Church was agreed to since the new church was on Broadway Street across from the Rainsville Elementary School.  The members then chose leaders who began the church’s long journey of success.  The faithful leaders were as follows:

Pastor:  Rev. J. B. Ledford

Moderator Pro Tem: Z. A. Land

Clerk: Will Parris

Treasurer: Z. A. Land

Deacons: Will Parris and Z. Arthur Land

Building Committee: Z. A. Land, Chairman, Charlie Hall, M. L. Parris, Hershell Land and Tom Young

Sunday School Superintendent: J. M. Parris

Teachers: Roland Parris, Charlie Hall, Bertha Gray, Flora Downey, Alma Parris, Irene Parker

It should be noted that an offering of $1.20 was collected to buy Sunday School literature.

The preaching days were the 3rd Saturday and Sunday of each month.

On and after the the first organizational meeting on January 7, 1928, 73 people declared their intention to join Broadway.  Most came without a formal church letter while others decided to join by letter.  Regardless of the method they chose, these 73 persons are considered to be the charter members of Broadway Baptist Church.

This is only the beginning of the history of a great church build on higher ground that has reached out to this community and to the world.  The history reflects the great belief of those founding fathers because our subsequent accomplishments has been as they sang “All Hail the Power of Jesus Name.”

The first wood building was completed in a record time of about 2 months and built from plans from the State Baptist Office.  The Fort Payne Journal stated “that the members will go into the new church free from indebtedness” and that it would be known as the “new Baptist Church on Broadway.”  This building stood until 1962 when an enlarged brick structure was dedicated during the pastorate of Rev. A. J. Hodgens.  An educational facility and fellowship hall was completed in 1974 under the leadership of Rev. Nolan Ford.  Rev. Ford also led in a major expansion and remodeling of the sanctuary in 1982.  Finally, our facilities grew to include a new Christian Life Center and Sanctuary in 2005 under the current pastor Dr. Kevin McCreless. A 10th anniversary celebration will occur this Sunday August 30, 2015.

Currently we have about 950 members.  The person who has been a member the longest is Jo Dean Robertson Townsend with 76 years.  The writer of this article, Hubert Paul Tumlin, has been a member for 61 years.

Southern Torch

Southern Torch


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