Hilton Head Island church celebrates 150th anniversary

Published: Aug. 19, 2012 at 11:21 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 6, 2012 at 4:31 PM EDT
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HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WTOC) - It was a day for the history books at the First African Baptist Church on Hilton Head Island. Dozens gathered for a special dedication.

"This 150th Anniversary Celebration is the biggest celebration of our time for the church," said Rev. Dr Alvin Petty, First African Baptist Church.

"Today is a special day, a very special day," said Rosa Simmons.

First African Baptist Church has remained a cornerstone in the community for 150 years. After the Mayor presented a special proclamation, they unveiled a new historical marker. While the church has been at this location for years, the congregation started holding services in the Mitchellville community back in 1862.

"We are a major part of the Mitchellville connection, we're part of the first freed slaves and Reverend Abraham Murchinson was the first pastor of the church and they began with about 120 members and the church grew and grew and five other churches came out of the First African Baptist Church and they are all still functioning well today so we're all joined together for this grand celebration," said Petty.

Many folks in attendance say they're proud to be part of the historic moment.

"It is meaningful because of our forefathers that struggled to get us to this point," said Menyie Jenkins.

Many are hoping this marker will serve as a reminder of the church's important history, especially with it going up in the midst of the Gullah-Geechie Corredore.

"There's nothing more significant than the spiritual life of the Gullah Geechie people," said Emory Campbell. "This marker demonstrates that spiritual life, how it began, how it has gone on for 150 years and this church is one of the earliest examples of the spiritual life that the Gullah Geechie people yearned for right after slavery."

"We're still standing on their shoulders, still leaning and depending on Jesus and still holding onto that faith they held onto many years ago," said Petty.

During the ceremony, they also re-dedicated the church's cornerstone.

It was a day for the history books at the First African Baptist Church on Hilton Head Island. Dozens gathered for a special dedication.

"This 150th Anniversary Celebration is the biggest celebration of our time for the church," said Rev. Dr Alvin Petty, First African Baptist Church.

"Today is a special day, a very special day," said Rosa Simmons.

First African Baptist Church has remained a cornerstone in the community for 150 years. After the Mayor presented a special proclamation, they unveiled a new historical marker. While the church has been at this location for years, the congregation started holding services in the Mitchellville community back in 1862.

"We are a major part of the Mitchellville connection, we're part of the first freed slaves and Reverend Abraham Murchinson was the first pastor of the church and they began with about 120 members and the church grew and grew and five other churches came out of the First African Baptist Church and they are all still functioning well today so we're all joined together for this grand celebration," said Petty.

Many folks in attendance say they're proud to be part of the historic moment.

"It is meaningful because of our forefathers that struggled to get us to this point," said Menyie Jenkins.

Many are hoping this marker will serve as a reminder of the church's important history, especially with it going up in the midst of the Gullah-Geechie Corredore.

"There's nothing more significant than the spiritual life of the Gullah Geechie people," said Emory Campbell. "This marker demonstrates that spiritual life, how it began, how it has gone on for 150 years and this church is one of the earliest examples of the spiritual life that the Gullah Geechie people yearned for right after slavery."

"We're still standing on their shoulders, still leaning and depending on Jesus and still holding onto that faith they held onto many years ago," said Petty.

During the ceremony, they also re-dedicated the church's cornerstone.