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St. Paul Baptist Church Celebrates 95 Years

Oxnard, CA – Saint Paul Baptist Church, family and friends, celebrated their 95th anniversary on Sunday, March 9, 2014. This year’s theme was “A Commitment to Service” and the corresponding scripture came from Galatians 5:13.

Saint Paul was organized in 1919 as the first African American Church in Ventura County. The first edifice was at 318 West 7th Street under the leadership of Pastor J. D. Pettigrew.

“I am always moved by a sense of fulfillment as we celebrate our church anniversary,” said Pastor Bishop Broderick Huggins. “The history and the heritage of Saint Paul Baptist Church is RICH and I am filled with a profound sense of gratitude, because as we retrospect over the 95 years, we have witnessed the sustaining grace of God,” he said.

Anniversary Chairman Phillis Thrower said, “We wanted this year’s anniversary to be different from the rest and focus on our members who have dedicated forty or more years of consecutive service in leadership roles. To accomplish this, we asked each member to complete a survey card which allowed us to break the years into categories: Gold, 40 plus years; Silver, 29 to 39 years; Bronze, 19 to 28 years; and Copper, 18 years and under. We quickly realized that many of our Gold members served as teachers, deacons and deaconess. Others devoted their service to the music ministry, youth ministry and scholarship ministry. Some served on the mother’s board, usher’s board, pastor’s aid and the building/trustee committees.”

“There were people like Angela Montgomery Timmons, who has been a choir director since her early teens. Linda Samuels Brown has been in the music ministry for 56 years. Mother Emma Montgomery served as Youth Department Coordinator and made choir robes and usher uniforms for the youth. All of the members honored have served in various capacities over the years and have trained others to carry on. We felt it was time to honor those members who standout. It was a day to remember!”

After devotion, Cleo Anderson who is a worship mover, introduced Kayla Ross, a youth member, who gave the welcome. The occasion was to recognize 36 Gold members who had given 40 plus years of consecutive service at Saint Paul. Bishop Huggins and First Lady Toni Huggins presented the gold members with a 40 plus year pin and a plaque engraved with the SPBC logo, their name, Commitment to Service, 40 plus years, and the scripture. Members receiving the recognition were: John Barber, Earnie Bradley, L.T. Bradley, Linda Brown, Dorothy Chambers, Harriet Champion, Irene Clifton, James Clifton, Arthur Dawson, Finis Gardner, Josie Gardner, Elnora Hazlip, Ada Allen-Harmon, Joanne Hatcher, Faye Hill, Ina Howard, Hattie Johnson, Ollie Johnson, Earlie Jones, Mary Jones, Ora Lincoln, Emma Montgomery, Ozell Nickleberry, Norman Nix, Mary Pennywell, Betty Roberson, Clarence Roberson, Inafaye Reese, Leola Samuel, Jimmy Smith, Angela M. Timmons, Karen Weaver, Stephanie Webb, Billie White Beulah Williams and Elsie Williams. Each awardee posed for pictures with their Pastor and First Lady. Most of them dressed in royal blue and silver, which are the church colors.

Ora Lincoln, known as Mama Lincoln said, “This is the nicest thing someone has done for me. Thank you so much for honoring me.”

Reggie Ray called Deacons Bradley, Dawson, Brown, Gardner and Mothers Johnson, Chambers, Lincoln and Samuels “Pillars of Power”.

“In their own ways, they hold up the spiritual walls of this church,” Reggie Ray said.

A portion of the program was dedicated to those members who are no longer with us. The tribute “Gone But Not Forgotten” was composed by Dan Thrower, Sr., and included some of our members who contributed so much to Saint Paul over the years.

The guest speaker for the 10 p.m. service was Dr. Sam Davis, pastor of Beulah Grove Baptist Church in Augusta, Georgia, and the speaker for the 4 p.m. service was Rev. Marvin E. Cockrell , pastor of True-Light Missionary Baptist Church in Wasco, CA. Music was rendered by the Saint Paul Baptist Church Mass Choir and the True-Light Missionary Baptist Church Choir.

Remarks were made by Phillis Thrower, who announced the Cake Cutting Ceremony. Gold member Leola Samuel, Director of Christian Education, with 65 years of service, and Copper member Veronica Bowie with less than 18 years of service, cut the cake with Bishop Huggins. Thrower thanked everyone who contributed to the anniversary. A special thanks to photographers Bob Jeffreys and Roxanne Russell, caterer Betty Duffie her committee: Cleo Anderson, Zephree Brinson, Angela Ross, Bea Rouse, Rene Stewart, James Thompson, Deacon Dan Thrower, and Doris Wells, who worked so hard to make the event a success. Attendees were invited for refreshments and Bishop Huggins made remarks and did the benediction.

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