Mableton First Baptist Church


Upon the resignation of Brother Widick in September 1960, the church called Brother Randy Haman from Cartersville. Much progress was made under Brother Haman's ministry, additional space being made by converting the old auditorium into two departments, with two departments being made in the old Church basement, and the Boy Scout Hut moved to the Church grounds and converted into a two-story building for additional Sunday School space. The highest attendance in Sunday School was during Rev. Randy Haman's ministry with in excess of 700 attending on occasion.

This picture of a BTU Class (Baptist Training Union) is dated 1960 and was supplied by Kim Daniell-White. The caption says Paul and M L Smith. The three on the right are Louise Lee, Elsie Daniell and Jean Drawdy.

Maybelle Strickland Sunday School Class, Wednesday, September 20, 1961
L-R, First row: Juanita Garrison, Nell Lee, Nell Roberts, Virginia Barber, Lucille Morris Cagle, Lucy Durand.
Second row: Kitty Barton, Helen Barton, Ruby Cross, Betty Atcheson, Virginia Freeman, Helen Carroll, Avis Morris.
Third row: Carol Usher, Virginia Jackson, Lib Gunter, Cathryn Ridgway, Barbara Gillham, Madelyn Harris, Jo Ann Garrett, Hazel Kelly.
Back, standing: Marie Clemens, Betty Flowers, Dot Vinson, Jeanette Stevens, Elizabeth Waters, Maybelle Strickland, Sara Payne.

Maybelle Strickland is remembered as an energetic and caring teacher. She is shown here with on her right and Sara Payne on her left.

This gathering of the Sunday School class was at the Palms Restaurant in Leland in their separate dining room. Sara Payne remembers them going there to eat together often.

When Brother Haman resigned in July 1962, the church called Rev. J. Truman Brown from the First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Georgia. He began his ministry on November 25, 1962. Our church began publishing a newsletter "First Baptist Witness" in 1963 and mailing it to homes of all members.

In September 1964, Rev. J. Truman Brown, Jr. met with the current Building Committee "to plan, finance and build" a sanctuary and additional education space. Much study and planning with the Sunday School Board in Nashville highlighted the strong base laid through the leadership of Rev. Brown. The Church called Rev. Tom Stevenson as Minister of Education and Youth and purchased a house for his occupancy. He began his work with the Church on March 1, 1963. He provided very capable assistance to Rev. Brown.

The church was showing solid and significant growth under their guidance and looking forward to building again to provide for the many people now in the Church and for prospects in the community. Total average attendance per Sunday in Sunday School being 501. The highest attendance in Training Union was during Rev. J. Brown's ministry, which was in excess of 200. Rev. Brown's ministry ended on April 11, 1965.

August 15, 1965, Rev. David B. York became pastor to lead in the final planning and completion of this building program including a new sanctuary.

This photo made by Gene Barber in 1966 shows the buildings of Mableton First Baptist before the new construction began. Gene's 1964 Buick is shown in the picture. The red brick church which was started in 1932 is on the far side and can be identified by the peaked stained glass windows on its sides. It faces Church Street. Behind it is the brick educational building which is thought to have been built in the early 1950's. The smaller brick building behind it was usually referred to as the Scout Hut. To the left is the one-story brick structure which at this time housed the sanctuary. Sara Payne remembers that they had added a baptistry at some stage in the red brick church and that there was no baptistry in this one-story sanctuary. She remembers them going back to baptistry in the red brick church when needed.

The Church voted in conference on Wednesday night, June 15, 1966 to secure a loan of $300,000 from the Atlanta Federal Bank for the purpose of constructing the interim sanctuary and educational space, or present sanctuary. Groundbreaking services were held June 19, 1966 after morning worship service.

Thirty thousand square feet of floor space was constructed at a cost of approximately $425,000 including furnishings. The sanctuary was built to seat 900 people. All the new educational space and sanctuary was engineered with centralized heat-air condition. Our previous sanctuary was converted into a new kitchen and fellowship hall, and Adult Sunday School Department. Mr. N. B. Ayers was Chairman of the Building Committee during this time.

As the Church looked to the future, we dedicated ourselves to winning the lost so that a still larger sanctuary may eventually be built where the oldest building (red brick) now stands.

On April 20, 1966, the church voted approval to be known or named Mableton First Baptist Church, Inc., and registered with the proper authorities as such.

The Church purchased the Field's home and property for additional space. On February 15, 1967 approval was made to purchase property and house on Center Street, which joined the Church property for future use. The house was rented until it was demolished and sold.

On March 15, 1967, the church voted approval to begin a kindergarten for 5 year olds in September of that year, and called Mrs. Inez Smith Russell as the Kindergarten teacher. Nineteen children were already registered and space was made for 6 more. Mrs. Russell came well qualified. She graduated from Northeast Junior College of Louisiana State University and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Mrs. Russell has held several positions in church work including Youth Director, Educational Director and Church Secretary. She was employed by the Fulton County Board of Education before accepting the position as Kindergarten Director-Teacher in June 1967. After a few years at our church she attended the University of Georgia for her Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education, driving to and from Athens during the summer months.

Dedication of New Sanctuary

May 23, 1967 was set aside as Dedication Sunday for the new sanctuary and was the first Sunday in the new sanctuary.

Sunday School average attendance: 471

Pastor: David B. York
Minister of Education and Youth: Rev. Tom Stevenson
Sunday School Superintendent: Norman Agan
Training Union Director: Robert Anderson
Music Director: Arthur Durand
WMU Director: Mrs. Al Moldavin
Brotherhood President: Fred Craig
Church Clerk: Mrs. Edith Wimbish
Chairman of Deacons: Marion McTyre

Some of the current data about the church was recorded on the back of the picture.

Seated with Pastor David B. York on the front row is Rev. Tom Stevenson, Minister of Education and Youth.

On the third row back is Bruce Griswell.

Evelyn Holton, Sara Payne, Arthur Durand and Pastor David York with the organ in the new sanctuary.

This is the sanctuary building that was dedicated on May 23, 1987.

After moving into the new sanctuary for worship, the top floor was completed over the old 1957 sanctuary for Sunday School and Kindergarten space. The older 1957 sanctuary was converted into a fellowship hall and kitchen.

The Church voted to purchase a bus on January 17, 1968.

After 5 years of some very effective service, Tom Stevenson resigned as Minister of Education and Youth on May 5, 1968.

The Church had made some gigantic strides in the late 1950's and early 1960's. The membership remained constant, but the attendance and participation dropped some.

May 26, 1968, the church called Rev. J. Robert Craig as Associate Pastor and Minister of Youth. He remained until September 24, 1969 when he accepted a call to become Pastor of Valley Baptist Church in Conyngham, Pennsylvania.

For the 1969-70 Kindergarten term, the church voted approval for more teachers, Betty Trotter and Mrs. Beverly Gillis, along with a part time Kindergarten Secretary, Norma Spence. On September 24, 1969, the Church approved for Kindergarten employment Betty Willoughby, with Pat Townsend, Martha Jones and Shirley Griswell as substitutes.

On December 28, 1969, the church approved for sale the pastorium and educational director's house, and to provide housing allowances to both the pastor and educational director instead. It was brought out at the meeting that this was what most churches were doing at the time.

The ministry to the Veteran's Hospital began in the late 1960's when Mrs. Jean Drawdy was doing volunteer work there with Mrs. Lorene Moldaven, a gold star mother. Mrs. Drawdy, being W.M.U. president at that time, evoked it into a mission project that gradually involved the choir or individuals to sing.

to 1970