Storied history of ‘unbroken ministry’

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After 175 years of continuous ministry, the first book devoted to the history of The Alabama Baptist newspaper will be published in a four-color fully illustrated book to be released January 2018.

“It is unusual for a weekly publication to have an unbroken ministry for 175 years,” observed Bob Terry, editor of The Alabama Baptist. “Only the blessings of God, the hard work of those associated with the paper and the graciousness of Alabama Baptists made this possible.”

‘Instruments of great power’

In 1843 when the paper was first published in Marion, Alabama Baptists described the new publication as “an instrument of great power in promotion of the best interests of the denomination and in advancing the cause of Christ at large.”

At the same meeting messengers voted the “The Alabama Baptist be employed by the officer of this convention as the organ through which they shall confer with the churches connected with this body.”

From that time to this, The Alabama Baptist and the Alabama Baptist State Convention have worked together for the benefit of cooperating churches and the convention itself.

While covering wars, political upheaval, depression, cultural changes, civil rights, technology shifts and more, The Alabama Baptist has served its readers with the three-fold mission of informing of perspective and understanding, inspiring for growth as Christian disciples and connecting Baptists for missions and ministry.

Focus on stories

Each week the paper reports events from the world of religion, provides practical helps for everyday problems, examines moral and ethical issues from a biblical perspective, shares resources for Christian living, undergirds what Baptists do together and imparts information of God’s work through Baptists at home and around the world.

Now that storied history of this valuable ministry will be told in a 208-page coffee table style book. Its design is to focus on the stories of Alabama Baptist with the history of the publication itself weaved into the stories.

Elizabeth Wells, retired archivist for Samford University and librarian for its Special Collection and Archives department in Birmingham, is writing this intriguing history alongside award-winning journalist Grace Thornton. Wells has written two institutional history books and authored numerous historical articles. Interestingly, her master’s thesis at Auburn University was about the founding of The Alabama Baptist.

“I love the stories of The Alabama Baptist,” Wells said. “I have read them for years and now I get to share them with everyone through this first book devoted to the paper’s history.”

Thornton has served in some capacity with The Alabama Baptist since 2003. After seven years as a news writer and then assistant editor for the state Baptist paper, she served as a writer and editor overseas in England and the Middle East before moving back to Alabama in 2014. Her first book, I Don’t Wait Anymore was published by Zondervan in 2016.

The title of the new book is “The Alabama Baptist: Celebrating 175 Years of Informing, Inspiring and Connecting Baptists.” It will be released in hardback and paperback versions. The cost of the book is $34.95 in hardback and $24.95 in paperback.

“Anyone interested in what God has done through Baptists in Alabama and around the world will find this an exciting read,” said Terry. (TAB)


About thealabamabaptist

State Baptist newspaper serving Baptists in Alabama, providing information, inspiration and interpretation as well as challenging readers to serve and find opportunities for ministry that further the kingdom of God.
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