St. John’s Baptist Church

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More About the 1970s

Last week, Ken Sanford’s article listed several significant events in the life of the church in the 1970s.

One of these events was the construction of what was called the Youth Ministries Building, the portion of the building which houses the ministers’ offices, the Music Suite, children’s Sunday School rooms, the Lounge, and the Gym. The contract with the architectural firm of Wilbur, Kendrick, Workman, and Warren was approved in early 1970 and the plans for the building were presented to the congregation in March. In October, the church voted to give the construction contract for the building to Laxton Construction for an amount not to exceed $675.000. The old apartment house next door on Hawthorne Lane then referred to as the Children’s Building was torn down to accommodate the construction. Construction continued throughout 1971; the church was able to start using the building in early 1972.

The use of the new building coincided with the 50th Anniversary of the Church. There was a reception on Saturday evening, March 18, for out-of-town former members. The Sunday morning worship service included a recognition of the living charter members and an Anniversary anthem. “Lift Up Your Heads”, written by Minister of Music, Al McClanahan. The formal dedication of the building was held at 5:00 Sunday afternoon and included a pageant, “A Parade of the Future”. An Open House was then held in the new building. A 50-year history, “Fifty Favored Years” was written by Ken Sanford along with Richard Young.

Another property acquisition took place In May when the church purchased the “Erwin Property”, a house and lot on Lamar Avenue, adjacent to the entrance to the new building. The cost of the property was $18,000 with a down payment of $6,000 with quarterly payments of $1,000 for the next three years. Mrs. Erwin was to live in the house until she was ready to move to Sharon Towers. She actually moved in early 1974.

Another significant event was a church conference held on March 26, to hear a report from a committee appointed to study the Role of Women in the Church. This report included the following statement:

“All resolutions with written reference to sex as an eligibility requirement for elected or appointed positions be amended to delete those words designating either male or female.

Positions with have, b transition only, been reserved for members of one sex now be considered open to any member of the church community otherwise qualified the Church to consider any request for ordination to the ministry on the merits of the individual applicant without regard to sex.”

This report was adopted by the church on the one-year anniversary of the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the church, thus beginning the second half of the first century. Dr. Broach’s comments in the Family News included the following:

“It is never out of place to pay tribute to the great contribution which women have made to this history, and I am particularly glad that we have now tan action which opens the door for their fuller recognition and participation in the total life and leadership of the church”

On June 15, the Church adopted a new Church Covenant that “uses more contemporary language and includes more modern concepts of the Church, the Covenant loses none of the unique meaning and significance of the one adopted by the Church in 1922.”