Church to celebrate centennial

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ridgley Southern Baptist Church will celebrate its 100th anniversary with a special service at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 6. Area residents are invited to attend the celebration and church worship services at 10:30 a.m.

"We will have special music," said Sandy Forgey, church secretary. "We will also be recognizing past pastors. We have sent letters to all of the ones who live in the area. They will have the opportunity to share their memories at the church.

"Our youth have prepared a skit for the event," said Forgey. "The skit will show how things have changed since the church was founded in 1911. We also have three people who have grown up in the church who will offer testimony."

The church was established in Layton Hollow on Aug. 13, 1911, as the Liberty Hill Missionary Baptist Church. Bro. Patrick Hodge was the pastor. Services were held at the church once a month.

In 1913, church members voted to move the church to Ridgley. Services were held at the old schoolhouse in the community until 1927. During that time, the congregation voted to change the name of the church to Ridgley Missionary Baptist Church.

The church's first deacon, John Laney, was ordained in 1914. WD Laney became the pastor in 1916. In that year, the congregation organized its first Sunday School.

In 1927, JC Stamps donated land to the church to build a new church building. Stamps also cut logs off his farm and hauled them to Tom Coffey's sawmill for the church. All labor was donated by members.

Just as the building was nearing completion, a windstorm destroyed it, forcing the members to begin construction again. The new church opened in 1928. Two years later, electric lighting was installed at the building, and the members pledged money for the electric bill.

In 1948, the church members appointed a committee to find a location for a new church site, and the following year, the congregation voted to buy property from Mrs. Stailey. The land was purchased for $200. The new church was dedicated in May of 1952.

In 1971, church members voted to change the name of the church to Ridgley Southern Baptist Church.

Restrooms and extra classrooms were added at the church in 1979. A basement, kitchen and fellowship hall were added in 1992. A new auditorium was dedicated in 1997, and the Ridgley Outreach Center was constructed in 2004.

Past pastors included: Lewis Shockley, 1917; Charles McNabb, 1928; Harrison Truhitte, 1932; Bill Ireland, 1935 to 1936; Bro. Brown, 1936; Loren Lauderdale, 1938; Luther Wells, 1947; Hugh Higgs, 1948 to 1952 and 1954; Clyde McCormick and Ab Edie, 1952; and Charley Vanzandt, 1959.

Alvin Perkins, 1961 to 1972; Paul Watson, 1972; Richard Buck, 1978; Russel Bishop, 1985 to 1986; James Hull, 1986; Danny Heupel, 1990 to 2000; John Henry, 2001 to 2007; Pat Jeffers, 2008 to 2009; Jim Wilcox, 2009 to 2010; and Pat Ward, 2010.

Richard Scroggins, HR Packwood, Noah England, FC Prewitt, Clarence Birkes, Oris Birkes, Wayne Packwood, Roy Wells, Joe Jones, Wayne Higgs, Curt Jones, John Higgs, Bob Prewitt, George England, Doug McCullah and Gene Prewitt have served as church deacons.

Others ordained to preach at the church included: Bland Duckett, 1943; John Slagle, 1949; Bobby Harrison, 1973; and Dayton Brattin, 1999.

"We would like to see everyone attend the anniversary celebration," said Forgey. "The church has been in the community for so many years, and there are several people in the area who have had some affiliation with the church. We welcome everyone to attend."

Ridgley Southern Baptist Church will hold Sunday School at 9:15 a.m. A harvest dinner will be held immediately after morning worship services.

"We are combining our harvest celebration, which is our Thanksgiving dinner, with the anniversary celebration this year," said Forgey. "We plan to have extra food, so everyone is welcome to come."

Tony Ball is Ridgley Southern Baptist Church's current pastor.

For more information, call the church office at 417-652-7884.

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