A light still shining: Local church celebrates a century in Hartselle
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” -Matthew 5:14
In mid-June 1920, Christians from churches in and around Morgan County came together to hold a month-long tent meeting close to downtown Hartselle. From that gathering the Hartselle church of Christ was formed – at that time the church was made up of just 17 people.
One hundred years later, the church averages 350 in attendance every Sunday and hundreds more tune into the livestream from locations across the globe.
Phillip Hines has been the pulpit minister there for nearly 40 years of the church’s existence. He said he never expected to be in his position for so long but added it’s where he feels at home.
To celebrate the 100th anniversary, the church will hold several events throughout the year and Hines said he hopes they garner a lot of community participation.
A kick-off and open house event will begin the celebration Sunday from 2-4 p.m. Hines said the afternoon event is to open the doors of the church to the community and show people what the Hartselle church of Christ is all about.
Homecoming Sunday will be held March 29 beginning at 10 a.m. and an old-time tent meeting will be held nightly May 29-31 at 6 p.m. This fall, the church will participate in the Down Memory Lane that is a part of the 40th annual Depot Days festival Sept. 14 at 6:30 p.m. October 17, a block party, complete with fall activities and bounce houses for the children, will be set up from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the north parking lot of the church. The year-long celebration will conclude with Super Sunday Dec. 13 beginning at 10 a.m. Hines said the last event will give church members the opportunity to reflect on the last century and prepare for the next.
“It’s unique to have a church that’s been around 100 years,” Hines said. “I was reading a statistic not long ago that said that of the churches that existed in 1920 in our country, 40 percent of them are no longer in existence and a lot of them are dying. What happens to a church when it gets some age, if they’re not careful, they become a mausoleum and not a movement. We don’t want to be a mausoleum. We want people to come see who we are.”