Only four months after celebrating their 132nd anniversary, Popular Spring Baptist Church had another reason to celebrate. The church recently held a ribbon-cutting and dedication service for their new building.
"I see in (the new building) the Spirit of a church called Popular Spring, a people who just refuse to quit," Pastor F.C. Henderson said in a letter printed in the program. "We don't have to wonder how we made it. The Lord brought us through. I want to dedicate this anniversary to the many families that have suffered but were strengthened in their suffering so that now they can give strength to others. I dedicate this to those that did not live to see the building efforts, but are watching in that great cloud of witnesses."
Guest church First Mt. Carmel Baptist Church and their pastor, Rosco Perry, celebrated with the congregation of Popular Spring during their dedication ceremony on Oct. 8. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on "Joy Night" that previous Friday, with approximately 250 people present.
Popular Spring's senior members over the age of 80 were recognized and honored at both services. Those seniors include: Granvil Lamkin, Queen Lewis, Louise Lowe, Mary Bell Thomas, Hattie Wilkins and Lueria Willingham.
Popular Spring Baptist was organized in 1878, and the church moved in 1927 to its present location on Popular Spring Church Road, which is off of Cobbham Road in McDuffie County. Previous pastors include: A.S. Blanchard, W.R. Baldwin, A.J. Bryant, W.W. Jones, M.L. Williams, and R. L. Ramsey.
Although the church worked with an architect to draw up plans for a new house of worship in the mid 1980s under Rev. Ramsey, it was Rev. Henderson's "special brand of leadership" a few years later that increased membership and regular attendance and brought about an aggressive building fund drive, according to a printed historical summary of the church. The timing was perfect, because the old building was in need of major repairs.
"It was part of our pastor's vision to build a new church because it was a necessity," member Mary Belton said. "The ribbon cutting and dedication celebration was a joyous time for all of us, something we had been looking forward to for quite a while. It's something we don't take for granted. It's a blessing to have the building; but, we will keep God as the center of our focus. That's what it's all about."
The new building houses a sanctuary for worshipand includes Bible study and Sunday School classrooms. Approximately 150 attend Popular Spring each Sunday.