Church records prior to 1884 were destroyed in a house fire however information from the Alabama Baptist Historical Commission report earlier activities dating to around 1880. In its over 130 year history, generations of Providence families have watched her grow from a one-room, wooden-frame structure, to a larger concrete block building in 1948, to the present facility which includes the sanctuary building built in 1965 and a children’s education building built in 1973. God continues to bless this congregation and in keeping the vision alive for future generations, the church acquired 41 acres of land across the street from the original church and voted in January 2001 to build the “West Campus.”
A Gift of Sacrifice
It is interesting to note that during the beginning lean years of Providence, members made many sacrifices by giving of their meager means and their generous hearts – hams, chickens, eggs, butter, firewood – whatever could be used to help the pastor. That same giving spirit is true today as Providence continues to lead the way as a mission-minded church. A percentage of the congregation’s tithes and offerings goes for support of The Cooperative Program, Association Missions, World Hunger, The Children’s Homes, Annuity for Retired Pastors, Home Mission Field and other Benevolent Ministries.
The Sunday School organization started in 1930 and was promoted by Mrs. Mary Mayberry out of concern for the teaching of scripture to children in the community. Bible study and its application to life continue to be an important part of what we are about.
Early organizations that have greatly shaped our heritage are the Music Ministry, the Women’s Missionary Union, and Church Training Union/Discipleship Training. A strong WMU began in 1943 and taught us the importance of outreach to home and foreign missions and to the local community. The PBC Mission Team continues this outreach effort today. The education program, Church Training Union, started in 1935, greatly enhancing the teaching of the principles of education still followed today with Discipleship Training, Deeper Roots. The Music Ministry is still one of our largest organizations due largely to Dr. Thomas R. Smith, who has been the Minister of Music since 1974. Graded choirs start as early as age four through senior adults.
For further service to the members and the surrounding community, in 1970 a kindergarten program was started in the basement of the church by Mrs. Shirley Dismukes and in 1973 moved into the newly built children’s education building. The kindergarten is now a state licensed, star-rated, 64 capacity Church Weekday Education program.
Heeding the Call
Through the years several young men and women have sensed God’s call to service through the ministry of Providence. In response to the call, they have gone forth in many capacities as pastors, missionaries, music ministers and to work in Christian education. The church has licensed and ordained to the Gospel Ministry more than 20 persons.
Records from 1904 indicate that twenty-one pastors have been called to lead the congregation. Missionary Pastor, D.S. Duffee is the first pastor on record as reported by the Alabama Baptist Historical Commission, (the records from 1880 to 1904 were destroyed in a fire). The call was extended to Dr. Rusty J. Sowell in April of 1984 and he continues to lead our congregation today.