Rebuilding structures, spirits

First Baptist Orange Beach recovering after fire, pastor’s death

By Crystal Cole
Posted 3/6/17

February has been a difficult month for the congregation of the First Baptist Church of Orange Beach, but members say they’re continuing to lift up God and one another even in the face of …

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Rebuilding structures, spirits

First Baptist Orange Beach recovering after fire, pastor’s death

Posted

February has been a difficult month for the congregation of the First Baptist Church of Orange Beach, but members say they’re continuing to lift up God and one another even in the face of adversity.

On Jan. 31, the church’s sanctuary was severely damaged in a fire.

In the midst of recovering from that event, on Feb. 24, Pastor John Price, the church’s pastor for 17 years, died suddenly at the age of 62.

Church member Sam Hickman said it’s been an adjustment trying to deal with everything that has happened at the church.

“Pastor John had just been a stalwart during that whole time with everything going on,” Hickman said. “To lose both of them around the same time has just been devastating, but everyone has been able to come together.”

Hickman said losing the sanctuary has caused the congregation to come closer together, both physically and spiritually, as services have moved into the church’s old worship center.

“It’s become a more intimate event, moving from a 1,500 square foot sanctuary into a smaller space,” Hickman said.

Hickman said the church’s youth department had been using the space before the fire, so the congregation worked quickly to fix the space up to be able to have full services there.

“Even with everything that happened with the fire, we were able to get it ready to have services there that week,” Hickman said.

Hickman said even with all of the sad events that have happened recently, she and other church members have found the hope in the situation.

“In spite of all of the sadness, we’ve had a lot of renewal in our church,” Hickman said. “We’ve had people coming back to the church. We’ve just praying that God lead us where He wants us to go in all of this because where He wants may not be where we were planning to go.”

Hickman said the members continue to pray and find ways to help the church and one another through all of this.

“It’s a new direction, it’s a new day,” Hickman said. “I think more people are examining their values and where they’re going with their own lives. With everything, it’s really taught us just to trust in God and enjoy what He has provided for us. God is continuing to support us and keeping our hearts open.”

Hickman said the outpouring of support from the community across the area has been a blessing.

“All of the churches around here have just been so supportive,” Hickman said.

Hickman said in moving forward on a new pastor, the church has contacted the Alabama Baptist Association and, with the help of Rev. Rick Ellison, director of missions for the Baldwin Baptist Association, has come up with a list of resumes for the deacons to go through.

She added that the congregation is continuing to move forward on fixing the sanctuary and making their worship center a more welcoming place for services.

“At this point, we’re trying to freshen up our temporary sanctuary,” Hickman said. “We have a committee looking to put some flooring in and maybe do a deep cleaning. We’re trying to find a day where we can just gather together and get some of this work done.”

Hickman said if anyone in the community wished to help with any part of the process, they could reach out to the church.

“If anyone has a special skill set, they could send a note to the church or give us a call,” Hickman said. “We’ve been very blessed that so many people have already reached out, and we’re sure people will continue to show their love and support.”