Mableton First Baptist Church
On January 21, 1970, the Church called Mr. J. W. (Bill) Winchester as Minister of Education and Youth, effective March 1. 1970. Mr. Winchester was serving as Minister of Music at Lithia Springs First Baptist Church. October of 1970 the church approved our licensing and ordaining Mr. Winchester to the Gospel Ministry.
May 3, 1970, tentatively, was the opening date set to re-activate the Church Library. Several persons had been elected in the past to do this, but it never succeeded. Library and Audiovisual Aids have been in the budget since 1966, so there were already Visuals and projectors and over 300 books. Pastor York and Bill Winchester fully supported the Library and gave encouragement to the newly elected library staff who were Mrs. Nettie Hembree, Mrs. Ruth Connor, Shirley Griswell, Gayle Hunter. With a prayer of dedication by Minister of Education, Bill Winchester, the Library was opened May 3, 1970 and has remained active ever since.
Today, Mableton First Baptist has the best Church Media-Library in the Concord Association under the leadership of Mrs. Nettie Hembree and 4 capable staff members, Ruth Connor, Dora Poole, Velma Crawford, a and Nancy Dunn. The Library now has 4300 books, 350 visuals, and 59 pieces of equipment. There is a Children's Reading Room, Adult room, Work Room, Audiovisual room, and a Reading Room.
The average attendance in Sunday School at this time was 550, with the enrollment being 1182 and resident membership 1367. Non-resident membership was 120 making a total membership of 1487.
The Church approved Wednesday night supper at 6:00 p.m. for $1.00 for adults and 50¢ for children on August 19, 1970. Supper will be served if at least 70 persons have made reservations by noon of the preceding Monday.
September 15, 1971, the Church employed a Junior Choir Director at $25.00 a month. Until this time, all choirs were under the direct leadership of Mr. Arthur Durand.
Arthur was born in Norcross, Georgia. He graduated from Tech High School in Atlanta, and studied voice with Mr. John Hoffman of Atlanta. He has led Church music since 1946, and was Minister of Music at Western Heights Baptist and Whiteford Avenue Baptist Church in Atlanta before coming to Mableton in November of 1958.
Mr. Durand is now Director of Sanctuary Choir and Director over all Music in our Church, with a paid Director for each choir under his leadership; Cherub Choir - Gina Collins, Carol Choir - Cindy Marshall; Concord Choir - Ruth Floyd; Youth Choir - Vicky Skelton. Before Mr. Durand was called to Mableton, the choirs were led by Martha Reeves Settle (Mrs. B. C.), Jean Widincamp, Elsie Daniell, and Janie Ayres. In 1946, Director of Church Music Department was Mrs. Shearer and Church Chorister was Mr. L. C. Stewart and Mr. Ray Griggs. None of these were paid directors.
The Church Organist is Mrs. Sara Payne. Mrs. Payne is the former Sara Glore and is a native of Mableton, having been a member of our church all her life. Her father, R. P. Glore, was a deacon in our church for many years. She attended elementary and high school in Mableton and also Southern Business University. She received her piano and organ training from local teachers and while in her teens began to play the piano for our church. She continued to do so until the church purchased an organ, which she has played until this date.
The Church Pianist is Mrs. Evelyn Holton. She is a native of Atlanta, and graduated from GirlÕs High School. After finishing high school, she took a secretarial course at Georgia State College in Atlanta. She also studied voice and piano over a period of years from several well-known teachers in Atlanta. Evelyn and James and their two boys, Joey and Bobby, joined our church in 1959. Soon afterward, the church as pianist elected her.
By September 1970, the Kindergarten enrollment increased substantially enough to employ a teacher to substitute for Mrs. Russell's class while she trained the regular 4-year Kindergarten teacher for the 1970-71 year. August 1971, Rev. Winchester, Minister of Education and Youth, resigned to go to Fellowship Baptist Church in Smyrna as Education Director.
The average Sunday School attendance during 1971 remained around 500 and above. Rev. David York resigned effective March 12, 1972. The Church called Rev. Bob Hite as Interim Pastor.
June 11, 1972, the Church called Jerry Daniel as the Associate Youth Director for the remainder of the summer. He worked with ages 12 through Single Adults. He coordinated all activities through the ageÕs group leaders. He attended Baptist College for 1 year and was a junior at he University of Georgia and returned for the fall semester. He had been a youth leader in several Baptist Churches and had begun full time Christian service in Education and Music and had just completed a training session in Youth Work at Georgia Baptist Assembly at Toccoa.
On July 2, 1972, the pulpit committee recommended a call to Rev. Fred Lackey of Westside Baptist Church in Jasper, Alabama. He preached an Introductory Sermon and the Church's vote was unanimous. On July 12, 1972 Deacon Chairman Freeman Poole announced the Rev. Fred Lackey declined the call as pastor.
On August 13, 1972, after the Introductory Sermon, the Church called the Rev. Charles W. Brown. The vote was unanimous.
On September 13, 1972, the church approved the purchase of a three-bedroom house being built at 281 Nickajack Road for a pastorium. At this time, October 1972, the average Sunday School attendance was 640. The average weekly offering was $2,179.07.
At the end of five years of operation, the 1972-73 Kindergarten enrollment increased from 25 the first year to 150 children enrolled in the 4 and 5-year classes. The staff was: 5 Year - Betty Willoughby, Beverly Shoun, Pat Townsend; 4 Year - Jeanette Pike, Gail Noland. The secretary was Gayle Hunter.
In June 1974, our Kindergarten was recognized as outstanding, and was being used by Georgia State University for the student teachers.
In the fall of 1974, the Kindergarten enrollment was 198 and a 3-Year-old Kindergarten was begun 3 days per week. An advanced 5 Year class was also started at this time.
The Kindergarten staff for August 1975 was Mrs. Russell - Director, Gayle Hunter - Secretary, Teachers - Betty Willoughby, Pat Townsend, Beverly Shoun, Gail Noland, Jackie Cooper, Irene Glore, Shirley Griswell, and Laura Smith.
During 1973, the church carpeted the upstairs hallways running from the top of the stairs at the nursery going all the way back to and including the registration room of the Sunday School area.
The fall of 1973 found the church approving the beginning of the Deaf Ministry under the direction of Mr. Wesley Floyd, interpreter. At the same time, a Sunday School Class was created with Miss Lisa Stratton as the first student to initiate the program. (Lisa was a non-hearing teenager, daughter of Betty and Sherman Stratton.)
The Sunday School average attendance for October 1973 was 461. The average weekly offering was $2,438.11. The total receipts on the October Conference report were $12,004.32. The total Kindergarten enrollment was 225.
The upper parking lot was paved in November 1973. The rear of this new parking lot was set aside for a recreation area. In December of 1973, the recreation area was fenced and made into a tennis court. At this time, the basement of the oldest building was carpeted for Sunday School rooms.
March 24, 1974, the church approved sponsoring a mission in the Douglasville area. The name was approved as Arbor Heights Mission and is specifically located on Reynolds Road. On June 16, 1974, the Rev. Tommy Bledsoe was called as its first pastor.
April 3, 1974, Mableton First Baptist Church called Miss Marcia C. Fountain of Dublin, Georgia as our Minister of Youth effective May 1, 1974. She held an AB Degree in Music and Master's Degree in Religious Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
A new Church Bus was purchased that same year, along with 18 white baptismal robes. Semi-sheer drapes were ordered for the vestibule windows.
1974 also saw the first special worship service for the 4 and 5 year olds in the Kindergarten area of the building at the same time as the regular 11:00 Worship Service. Mrs. Brenda Nave led this group for "little children's church" directed by Mrs. Russell. In the fall of 1976 the program continued with a rotating staff coordinated by Mrs. Russell.
The Church approved the recommendation for a Church Constitution and By-Laws Committee to write a Constitution and By-Laws for the Church.
The October 1974 average attendance in Sunday School was 484; average weekly offering $2,461.00, and the total receipts for October was $12,835.89.
The Church approved the purchase of the house and lot adjoining the tennis court and facing Avery Street.
On May 21, 1975, the church received $4,800 from the Lowe Estate. In appreciation, the church placed a set of World Book Encyclopedias in the Church Library in memory of the L. C. Lowe family.
Arbor Heights Mission Church held its Constituting Service with our pastor, Rev. Charles W. Brown officiating at 3:00 pm on July 20, 1975.
November 12, 1975, we purchased 500 new Baptist Hymnals. The average attendance at this time was 409 in Sunday School. Average weekly offering was $2,324.00 and the total receipts of that month were $13,818.12.
Miss Marcia Fountain resigned effective March 31, 1976 to return to Southwestern Theological Seminary to obtain a Master's Degree in Church Music.
That same month, Steve Echols was called as part-time Youth Director effective May 1, 1976. Steve attended Mercer University in Atlanta and planned to go to Seminary after graduation. He served as youth director at Community Baptist in Smyrna and at Bethlehem Church in Newnan, Georgia. Steve served 18 months and resigned in August of 1977 to attend the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
February 6, 1977 Tony Melton reported that Rev. John Jennery asked the Church not to vote for him to fill the position of Minister of Education. It was reported that in the past year the personnel committee had contacted 17 persons and interviewed 6 for this position.
Rev. Charles W. Brown's ministry was terminated on June 22, 1977 after a lengthy controversy.
Dr. O. M. Siegler was called as interim pastor on July 10, 1977. On August 24, 1977, a call was extended to Rev. Julian Leroy as part time interim Minister of Education effective September 1, 1977. Dr. Siegler said as he viewed the past few months, "he found lean and fruitful results - both. The bright spots were not as fruitful as they should have been, however, the dark spots were not as bad as they could have been."
In October 1977, the average weekly attendance in Sunday School was 322 with an average weekly offering of $2,460.00. Total receipts for that month were $19,201.11.
On September 11, 1977, the Scout Hut was renovated into an Activities building. Games, record players, recording, and piano were placed in it.
Dr. Siegler resigned on November 16, 1977 as interim pastor due to his wife's illness.
The Church started a Sunday School Class for Exceptional Pupils for children and youth on November 16, 1977 under the capable leadership of Mrs. Elaine Ridgway.
Dr. D. J. Evans was called as interim pastor effective November 21, 1977.
On March 3, 1978, Rev. Julian Leroy resigned to become the Associational Missionary for Concord Baptist Association.
The past few months had been significant days in the life of Mableton First Baptist Church. How good it looked to see things moving forward in practically every respect. It was evident that the members were responding to the challenges, which rose up before us, and we accepted the challenges and pulled together to meet them for the sake of our Lord. Leadership and people showed love and friendship as never before and pulled together in unity so as to keep a well-balanced program for the entire Church life.
Beginning with the fiscal year 1978, Kindergarten and Church Budgets were combined - the total budget being $217,212.00. The weekly requirements were $3,567.27.
On April 23, 1978, the pulpit committee recommended the call of Rev. Robert M. Skelton as pastor. He was pasturing the Garden Lakes Baptist Church in Rome, Georgia. Rev. Skelton declined the call from our church on Sunday, May 14, 1978.
On May 17, 1978, a Puppet Ministry was begun with the Church approval. It has proved to be a real asset to our Church Ministry with many of our youth in it.
On June 25, 1978, after earnestly seeking God's will for himself, the Rev. Skelton informed the Pulpit Committee that he would like to accept the call if it was still open. Out of 230 votes cast, 98.3% voted yes, and he became our pastor on August 1. 1978.
Bob Skelton was born on September 8, 1940 in Gainesville, Georgia, and attended high school there. He received his A.A. Degree from Truett McConnell College in Cleveland, Georgia in 1960 and his B. S. Degree from Belmont College in Nashville, Tennessee in 1963. Bob did his Graduate Study in Education at the University of Georgia in Athens from 1964-67, and his Master of Divinity Studies at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Bob served in various positions in different churches in Georgia and Kentucky. He served as Pastor, part-time pastor, and Summer Youth Director before accepting the pastorate at the Garden Lakes Baptist Church in Rome, Georgia.
Bob has also served as a classroom teacher and Coach at the Commerce High School in Georgia, and Gainesville High School. He served as Admissions Counselor at Belmont College in Nashville, Tennessee from 1969-70, and Director of Admissions at Shorter College in Rome, Georgia from 1970-71.
For the first six months of his ministry here at Mableton First, the attendance grew from 306 to 348 in Sunday School, and by May of 1979, 42 people joined the first family by baptism and 31 by letter.
Mrs. Skelton is the former Alice Victoria (Vicky) Wood. They have four children - Robert, Jr., Bret, Wendy and Matthew. They reside at 6031 Magnolia Drive, Austell, Georgia.
October 1978, the Sunday School average attendance was 351 with the average weekly offering being $3,477.72. The total receipts at that time were $23,016.40.
The church approved the sale of the pastorium on Nickajack Road in December of 1978.
In January 1979, the Long Range Planning Committee was elected to survey and project the present and anticipated future needs of the Church as it reaches its goal of ministering to the needs of the church and community.
February 21, 1979 saw the church approving the sponsorship of a Literacy Workshop. Out of this workshop emerged an International Sunday School Class. Several classes of International English school were begun on Wednesday morning, headed by Vicky Skelton.
March 21, 1979, a new Sunday School Class began for Couples, and has expanded its membership. Rod and Brenda Nave were elected teachers of this class.
Rev. Steve Coyle was called as Associate Pastor/Education/Youth on March 25, 1979.
On May 6, 1979, the church approved the adoption of a D.A.D. Plan (Dime a Day or Debt Acceleration Depletion). This is a plan whereby the church indebtedness will be paid off in October 1980 or January 1981 if 300 people participated.
The Center Street property was paid in full with funds from the D.A.D. funds in August 1979.
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. Today, it is a monthly ministry with a group baking cakes and another group to take them to serve patients and visitors after they present an evangelistic program. Many are accepting Christ as their Savior through this ministry.
The average Sunday School attendance for October 1979 was 365, and the total receipts were $26,295.26.