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First Baptist Church of Madison celebrates 130th anniversary

The staff of First Baptist Church of Madison includes Minister of Pastoral Care Rev. Mary Jo Gessner, from left, Minister of Music Mark Gessner, Minister of Youth Diana White and Pastor Rev. Bert Breland. (CONTRIBUTED)
The staff of First Baptist Church of Madison includes Minister of Pastoral Care Rev. Mary Jo Gessner, from left, Minister of Music Mark Gessner, Minister of Youth Diana White and Pastor Rev. Bert Breland. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – First Baptist Church of Madison at 4257 Sullivan St. recently celebrated its 130 years of serving the community.

The congregation can date its roots to 1860 when a Huntsville pastor recommended Madison Station “as the most suitable point (for) a self-sustaining church,” publicist Anna Claire Vollers said.

The Civil War ensued, interrupting the process until about 30 members started monthly meetings in 1882. “We shared a pastor with a few small churches … in the Masonic Lodge” near the church’s current site, Vollers said.

After officially founding in 1883, the congregation bought its present-day property in 1884 and “built the first little white church building,” which was dismantled in 1977 and moved to Burritt on the Mountain. In 1900, the building was turned from Sullivan Street to face College Street. “Before the baptistery was built in the 1920s, church members were baptized in Indian Creek during summer,” Vollers said.

First Baptist has seen Madison “grow from a tiny railroad stop in the late 1800s through the 1960s’ Space Race boom and into the population explosion since the 1990s,” Vollers said. “We’ve sought to show Jesus’ love to our remarkable town.”

In 1997, a nursery wing was dedicated. The congregation moved into its new sanctuary in 1999. The building offers small-group rooms for children, teens and adults; the music department; fellowship hall; and offices, along with an outdoors pavilion.

Bert Breland is pastor.

First Baptist hosts Korean First Baptist Church of Madison, inter-denominational groups, The Vine Pastoral Counseling, and full-time licensed Child Development Center in its 35th year. Rev. Mary Jo Gessner, Minister of Pastoral Care, leads the Loss and Grief Support Group.

Led by Diana White, the youth show their mutual respect and camaraderie. The church appreciates its top-caliber musicians, lay and professional, in traditional and contemporary styles, led by Minister of Music Mark Gessner.

Partnering with Madison Elementary School, the church feeds 45 families during school breaks. Fir Baptist also completes numerous mission projects in Alabama, nationally and globally.

For more information, call 256-772-9712 or visit fbcmadison.net or Facebook/First Baptist Church Madison.

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