beginnings

Point Mallard Parkway Baptist Church, formerly Antioch Baptist Church, was planted on March 6, 1887. The first meeting was opened with prayer by C.W. McClellan. J.W. Sandlin was elected to moderate the meeting, and T.D. Wilkinson was elected as secretary. Brother John McClanahan was the first preacher to preach to Antioch Baptist Church, and he gave the young church much assistance. The meeting was held in the Farmers Grange Building (also used as a school), located south of the “Mayflower” building just below the church.


 In the 1880’s, a determined group of worshippers passed over muddy, boggy forest roads in wagons until they came to Kirkland’s Ford on Flint Creek. Winter and summer they drove their wagon teams through the creek, going to Sunday worship. Water sometimes rose up to and into the wagon beds. When “the creek was up,” they could not ford the creek and could not get to church at all. There were no bridges from this area to Flint or Decatur.  After they had splashed through the creek, they came to Mt. Pisgah Church, a very short distance from the creek on the west side of Flint Creek, where they worshipped.  Antioch Baptist was formed on the east side of Flint Creek to alleviate this barrier. The first time these folks met as a church, they were blessed with conversions and new members joining. There were a total of 17 charter members at the organizational meeting (see Appendix). After this meeting, a call was extended to John McClanahan to preach (who was blind), with a salary of $35 for his services until the next association. 

EARLY YEARS

 

At the May 29, 1887, church meeting, a motion was made and carried that the third Sabbath and preceding Saturday be the regular church meeting day. During their meeting on June 18, 1887, the church book was presented by D.H. McClellan to the clerk by order of the church. The group voted to raise funds to purchase lumber for building a church at Antioch and to form a committee (see Appendix 2) to continue the subscription and to oversee the building of the church. The house of worship was designed to be 50 feet by 30 feet and 12 feet in height. The raised funds totaled $140, with lumber costs at $120. The church eventually had 2 separate front doors, with a floor constructed of sawed planking and cut nails. It was heated with a long flat-topped wood heater in the center of the building. Some years later, a basement was added to the original building. The church members accomplished this by building a basement next to the existing church, jacking up the building, and moving it on top of the basement using skid poles. Later in September 1887, the church group voted to pay their pastor $50 for his services for the next year; this was a handsome sum in those days. They also voted to pay J.N. Thompson $25 for preaching during the last half of 1887.


In February of the following year, D.H. McClellan presented the deed for the church grounds. At this time, each church family bought a hymn book that they carried to church with them. Eight additional hymnals were purchased for the church. These books were small, brown leather-backed books containing only the words to the songs—no music. Years later, E.W. Nesmith was commissioned to open a Sunday School at Crows Chapel.  


On June 4, 1896, Mt. Pisgah Church granted letters to Antioch Church. There was a reconciliation of the variance existing between the churches; they forgave each other and shook hands in fellowship. Antioch Church became a member of Muscle Shoals Baptist Association on September 27, 1909. 



Growing Church

Years later, on January 13, 1946, the church was called to conference by Brother Stedham. The church moved and carried a motion to remodel the church and build Sunday School rooms and a furnace room in the basement beneath the church. The also voted to raise the pastor’s salary from $50 to $100 per month.


Because the original Antioch Church building was deteriorating, preparations were begun in June 1963 for building a new auditorium, which would measure 50 feet by 75 feet. During this time, Antioch enjoyed the wonderful blessings of material and spiritual growth. In a Decatur Daily article, John Knox noted:

            "Under the ministry of the present pastor, Reverend J.H. Lowery, the church has just about doubled its Sunday School attendance and its financial support in the past eight months. A $45,000 building fund has been raised since last June—in addition to the regular offering, without any high pressure promotion. Again, as in earlier days, the church members themselves, have pitched in and done most of the work. Only $16,000 has been spent for labor."


On October 23, 1966, church members and friends attended the dedication and laying of the cornerstone of the new three-story annex church building.  I.W. Myers described the ceremony:

               "It was the privilege of the writer to be present with the pastor and church and friends on October 23, 1966 for the dedication and laying of the cornerstone of the new three story annex. After Sunday School came the worship hour. The prelude was by organ and piano music. There were 21 people in the choir, robed in wine with long white collars. Hymns used were “O Worship the King,” “Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Us,” Stand up for Jesus,” and the special “How Great Thou Art” by the director D.C. Aldridge. The Sunday School Superintendent is G.H. Lawrence; B.T.U. Director, Troy Walls; organist, Miss Nora Wood; pianist, Mrs. Jean Brown. Assisting Curtis Oden, Architect, were Thomas Bennich, Troy Walls, Joseph Cothran, Halford Higdon, and the pastor.

Reverend William L. Hacker, association missionary, preached the dedication sermon, using Acts the third chapter. He called on the church and all present to dedicate themselves fully to the Lord’s work and His kingdom as the church is dedicated. After dinner was served by the church, came the cornerstone laying service by Dr. Jessie M. Rogers, reading Haggai 2:9; then he appealed to the church to cling to Christ, the great cornerstone."

Recent Past

In 1980, Pastor Jimmy Jones decided to change the name of the church to Point Mallard Parkway Baptist Church to correspond to the location of the church. As time went on and the church building began to age, signs of wear and tear became evident. Mold began forming in some areas of the building. In 2006, under the leadership of Brother Charles Smith, the church began planning a multi-phase building program and short relocation. Phase 1 was the completion of the Education and Children’s Ministry building and Worship Center. Future plans include building a 350-seat Worship Center, to be completed after all debts have been paid off.


There is not enough room in this brief history to detail the efforts of the multiple generations that God has used to build the strong legacy of Point Mallard Parkway Baptist Church. Future generations are indebted to the sacrifice and faithfulness of previous generations. As we look forward to the future, we are hopeful of God’s continued blessing upon this church and the community surrounding it. 

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgement

The congregation of Point Mallard Parkway Baptist Church is grateful to Julia Clendenon for gathering the information and weaving together the pieces of the church’s history spanning more than 125 years. 

Julia left us with these thoughts:

The records are filled with notations of work accomplished by individual members each to their own talent—each seemed to have given their best. So many pastors have done such outstanding jobs of leadership—but there’s not room in this short history to scratch the surface concerning these great leaders. The pastors and church have joined hands to lift the faint hearted, the sorrowing, the lost, the troubled, and their families. Only a few highlights can be mentioned here. We read of the brave, strong Christians at Point Mallard Parkway through the years of their prayers, their faithfulness to God. We need also to live that we may inspire those about us. We must do greater works than they did “back in the good ole days.” You see, they rolled up their sleeves to work. We have an even greater potential: the great God to lead us, a great pastor, a great group of people—people who pray, who serve, who know how to work for the Lord. A growing, loving, stirred church---a praying, “on fire” pastor to lead us---we have the best. Do we dare offer God less than our best?

APPENDIx

The 17 Charter Members:

D.M. Crow                              J.W. Sandlin                            J.T. Sivley

J.F. Crow                                 D.H. McClellan                        J.E. Crow

J.P. Sykes                                M.T. Crow                               J.W. Sykes

L.A. Crow                                R. F. Sykes                              N.T. Sivley

N.G. McClellan                        L.B. Sivley                               S.S. Cook

T.C. Wilkinson

The names signed by request according to order of the church of persons who were not present at the time of organization.

J.P. Sivley                                M.E. Sivley                              B.T. Sivley

F.D. Sivley                               Matilda Sykes                         N.F. Crow

Betty Hallbrooks                   Lucy Owens                           N.F. Walden

Lizzie Sandlin



Pastors of Point Mallard Parkway Baptist Church

(Formerly Antioch Church)

John McClanahan                  April 1887

J. N. Thompson                      May 1887

J.W. Bowling                           1896

J.E. Weaver                             1909

B.P. Collier                              1911-1918, 1920

J.E. Roan                                 1919, 1921-1927

J.A. Maples                            1929

Dr. H.B. Woodward              

Lannier Smallwood                1933-1935

George Downs                      1937-1938

L.E. Toon                                1929-1942

Bethea Stedham                    1944

E.T. Jean                                 1950

Paul McCluskey                     1951

C.E. Anthoney                       1953

A.B. Van Arsdale, Jr.              1955

H. Lynn Dogier                      1956

Martin Chenault                    1959

Austin Self                             1960

J.H. Lowery                           1963-1967

Russel Lance (Interim)           1968

Howard Thompson               1969

Jack Freeman (Interim)          1972

Raymond Bishops                 1973

Joe Hoover (Interim)             1978

Jimmy Jones                          1979

Joe Hoover                            1997

J.B. Snyder                             1997

Mike Thomas                         1998

Bob Gorden                           2000

Charles Smith                         2001

Chuck Bass (interim)               2010

J.D. Thorne                             2011