BLADENBORO — Even in North Carolina’s Mother County, turning 125 years old is cause for celebration, and one Bladen County organization plans on doing just that.
On April 24, 1893, an acre of land in Bladenboro was purchased from Moses Owens and Jesse B. Hall, with half of that acre designated to be used for a church and the other half to be utilized as a church school — and St. Luke A.M.E. Zion Church was born.
Six years later the church became one of the first organizations in Bladenboro, gathered under the Rev. E.A. Carroll.
Twenty years after the land purchase, construction began on the first church building, in 1913. Over the next two years under the leadership of the Rev. T.S. Maultsby, the church grew spiritually while substantial progress was made on the church structure.
In a history rife with spiritual leaders, one of the most notable tenures was that of Albert Horne, who served as chairman of the Trustee Board for almost six decades.
“He was gifted with craftsmanship, along with leadership skills that proved to be an asset for the church,” according to a written history of the church. “The annex of the church was built; he rallied the craftsmanship talents of trustees … (and) during Albert Horne’s leadership came the amen sections of the church.”
Today, fresh off repairs from Hurricane Matthew, the church exists under the leadership of the Rev. Hardy Ballard, Jr. and is celebrating the 125-year history of serving the Lord in Bladen County. On Sunday, April 22, the congregation will be joined by the Rev. Gordon Griffen, pastor of Moore’s Creek Missionary Baptist Church in Currie, and the congregation. Seniors over the age of 80 in the church will be recognized during the morning service, and the congregation will host the visiting church for a dinner.
Janice Blanks is serving as coordinator for the festivities and has a special ceremony planned for the afternoon.
“After Rev. Griffon speaks, we’re going to release 125 balloons in the air in memory of loved ones,” Blanks remarked. “We’re hoping it will be a really nice day.”
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing email@example.com.