Brooklyn Baptist Church celebrates 200 years with a special dinner on Sunday, October 10.
Brooklyn Baptist Church, first established in 1821 and one of the oldest churches in Conecuh County, was organized in a small log cabin. The elder Alexander Travis, a circuit racer, used it as a church and union school. The church was built on Academy Hill next to Brooklyn Male and Female Academy. In September 1860, the congregation bought 3.5 acres of land from Eli Hirshfelder for $ 15 and built the current church next to the old church in the first year. The Floyd family donated the land on which the cemetery is located to the church. Today, it is the last resting place of more than 800 Brooklyn residents.
In 1949, Sunday school rooms were added, and others were added in 1959. In 1960, a new pastorium was completed. Since its construction in 1861, the present church has served as a center of community life with uninterrupted religious services since that time. Brooklyn Baptist is a single frame building. All the building materials – wood, benches, pegs and rods – were handcrafted by members of the community.
The church was added to the Alabama Historic and Heritage Register on March 24, 1983.
As is the case with so many rural churches today, worship services are held on Sunday mornings only for our little community members. Brother Jack Williamson became a pastor in January 1998 and continues to serve the congregation to this day.
“We have 12 to 15 members most Sundays, but sometimes 18 to 20. There aren’t too many churches that can hold and stay together to celebrate 200 years, but we are proud to be one of them. ‘between them,’ said Church historian Juanita Cary.
The church will be hosting a 200-year bicentennial celebration on Sunday October 10 at 10:30 am with “Field Dinner” to follow.
Brooklyn Baptist does several things for the community. “We are providing a place for our people to come and worship God every week. We are good neighbors with a charitable fund for those in need, and we support our people by providing food at the time of death or other hardship, ”she said. They also support local food banks, offer bi-monthly gospel songs on Saturday nights and fellowship. The church hosts a Sunday lunch which the community can attend quarterly. Cary said, “We thank God for all the opportunities we have to give back a little.”
Sunday school and morning services take place every Sunday from 10 a.m. Regarding the special celebration scheduled for Sunday October 10, Cary said, “Our 200 year celebration will take place inside the church sanctuary. There will be a tent and chairs outside with video and sound set up in order to socially distance yourself and take advantage of the services. We ask you to wear a mask. “
Cary said that as they walk through the Brooklyn community, most people quickly see only a handful of people or vehicles. “They don’t see much, but for those of us who were born and raised here, we see the activity we grew up with 50 years ago. Being the old town that we are, most of our people are now in the cemetery. No business is close, so all of our youngest ones have come closer to Evergreen, Andalucia, Brewton or greater places of work and activities for them and their children.
According to Cary, 80 percent of church members were born and raised in Brooklyn, left for work, and returned after retirement. “The remaining 20 percent were lucky enough to have a family business to work in and didn’t leave at all. Whichever way you look at it, Brooklyn is home to a lot of us and we love it. Brooklyn is a unique little town.
For more information about the church, call Juanita Cary at 251-578-2978 or Susan Blair at 251-578-3547. “We have stood on this hill for 200 years offering spiritual truths and guidance to all who walk through the doors. God has blessed our people and we thank them. If we’re not home, please leave a message to call you back, ”Cary said.