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Baptist Association celebrates 100th anniversary

Long Branch Baptist Church is the oldest church in the Grady County Baptist Association. Long Branch, shown in this historic photo, was constituted in 1845 and at that time was a member of the Florida Association. The Grady County Baptist Association will celebrate its centennial in October.

The Grady County Baptist Association is gearing up for a centennial celebration next month.
Originally known as the Taylor Association of Grady County, the Grady County Baptist Association has served the county and its Baptist churches for 100 years in October.
It was on Nov. 22, 1911, that a convention was held at Long Branch Baptist Church to organize the new association. Churches represented at the convention included Capel, Long Branch, Macedonia, Magnolia Springs, New Hope, Providence, Pine Hill, Pine Level, Pine Forest and Pleasant Grove.
Records indicate the Rev. W.H. Godwin was elected chairman and M. Pope was elected secretary.
The name was changed from Taylor Association to the Grady County Baptist Association in October 1936 on a motion made by the Rev. Wilburn S. Smith.
Over the years, the association has been actively involved in mission work not only in Grady County and Georgia, but throughout North America and beyond.
Mission groups include Men’s Ministry, Women Missionary Union, Disaster Relief Teams, Baptist Builders, Prison Ministry, Literacy Mission and various other mission-related activities.
In the rich history of the association, it has played a vital role here in Grady County. Several churches participated in what was known as God’s Acre Plan. Members were urged to donate pigs and hogs and the ladies were encouraged to set aside a hen or give a “hen Sunday.”
It was in 1940 when two young Grady countians, Franklin Proctor and Charles Stanadridge, volunteered for gospel ministry and attended Norman Park School.
The first leaders of the association were referred to as “Field Workers” and among them were the Rev. Thomas S. Roote and the Rev. L.B. Jones.
In 1957, the leader was known as the “Associational Missionary” and some of those include the Reverends Wade F. Dyches, J. Ansley Jordan, Byron Nelson, Glenn Byrd, Jimmy Voyles, Donald E. Swofford, Roger Ezell, Paul Day and John Paul Hasick. The association leader is now referred to as “Director of Missions.”

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