HAZLEHURST – After the evening worship service on Sunday evening, Nov. 4 the congregation of First Baptist Church Hazlehurst – 275 of them – got up from their seats and proceeded to march down the sidewalk about 100 yards to their new sanctuary.
Leading the procession were men who were carrying the pulpit – the vanguard in the solemn march down North Tallahassee Street. First Baptist Pastor Brad Waters brought the pulpit from Grace Baptist Church in Monroe when the church there replaced it with a newer version and asked him if he would like to have it.
The Hazlehurst pulpit has been refurbished and varnished to match the woodwork in the new auditorium, but Waters has been preaching from that same pulpit for more than 15 years.
Interestingly, the Hazlehurst pastor worked with the building contractor to place a Bible underneath the pulpit in the new auditorium. The Word of God was placed in a secure and safe wrapping and put in the designated place before the cement was poured to form the foundation.
The pulpit is highlighted in the front with a cross and with the words of Romans 10:15: “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things.”
There is also a large cross behind the choir loft in the new worship center, so when Waters preaches he will be preaching between two crosses and standing on the Word of God.
The week prior to the church having their first official service in the new building took on special significance when people signed up all during the week from 6 o’clock in the morning until 9 o’clock in the evening. The goal was to read the Bible through from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21 before that first Sunday morning service in the new facility.
In the course of one week the Bible was read from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21 and the point was made that the Word of God is the foundation for the preaching ministry of First Baptist Church in Hazlehurst.
The new auditorium has a seating capacity of more than 600 individuals and is a state-of-the-art kind of construction and will serve the church well as First Baptist endeavors to reach the people of Jeff Davis County and beyond in the years ahead.
The first Sunday, Nov. 11, in the new worship center was a banner day for Pastor Brad Waters and his congregation as more than 500 members and guests gathered to celebrate the goodness of God and renew their commitment to Christ.
Brewster and Crocker, a group of architects and interior designers based in Georgia designed the plans for the new building for First Baptist Church Hazlehurst; and Pellicano Construction, with headquarters in Albany, orchestrated the formation and erection of the building.