The storied history of our community continues with Bluff Park
Baptist’s 110th Anniversary celebration. To commemorate their
church, a cookbook full of 400 recipes from Pork Roast to Pecan Pie
was compiled. In 110 years, this is the first time a cookbook has
ever been made by the church. Anniversary Committee member Chair
Cynthia Medbery came up with the idea, “ I began to ask around
about putting together a cookbook. We have so many good cooks and
we’re always having covered-dish dinners. The church supported
doing one, so we contacted an online company that helps churches
produce cookbooks, and we began collecting recipes.”
One very special recipe is called “Miss Maggie’s Chocolate E’claire
Cake”. Miss Maggie is a homebound church member and good cook. “We
sent a special request for her to please provide her recipe for the
E’claires for the book.” Medbery says.
More than just good eats is found in this cookbook. Between
recipes, readers can learn about the history of the Church.
Starting in 1899, the then Summit Baptist Church joined the
Birmingham Baptist Association. The church was a one-room building
constructed at the intersection of what is now Tyler Road and Valley
Street. In 1921, the church voted to change its name to Bluff Park
Members of the Anniversary Committee found personal experiences
within the pages of records and old photos. “I began to feel a
common bond with the strangers in the photos, who really did not
feel like strangers anymore. I was humbled by all the people and
efforts that have gone before us to bring us to where we are today,”
The cookbook holds photos of dinners on the grounds and several of
the groundbreakings. “The ‘common bond’ feeling led me to choose
Twila Paris’s song ‘Bonded Together’ as the background music for an
8-minute DVD to showcase the church’s history,” Medbery says..
Thumbing through the pages of this historical cookbook, readers will
find everything from when the first telephone was installed at the
church (1964) to when the church went on the internet (2001)
“I love the
history of this community and Bluff Park Baptist church has played a
large part in it,“ says Tony Barber,
Pastor, Bluff Park Baptists Church.
“There’s just something special about the people on top of this
Pastor Barber says he has visited members in the area that can tell
firsthand about the Great Depression, another member who is 106 and
also one whose grandfather was the first chaplain of the British
army in India. “Bluff Park attracts such varied cultures,” says
Pastor Barber, that is why the history in this area is so diverse.
One memory that stands out to Jack Davis, Church Trustee, is when
the church moved into its present building in the 70’s. “It was
the first Sunday to hold services in the new building and the church
was packed. The choir started to sing ‘There's A Sweet, Sweet
Spirit In This Place‘, and the Spirit filled the place like nothing
I had ever experienced. It was just like God was saying, ‘You
have done well in building this place of worship‘," says Davis.
service in the new building on McGwier Drive was held August 4,
1974. A year earlier the church voted to accept a construction bid
and on December 12, 1973, groundbreaking services were held at the
new and current site on McGwier Drive. Pastor Richard Trader held
an old-fashioned plow, which all members pulled by means of two long
ropes. In 1985, the church voted to be annexed into the City of
Some other dates of note were 2 snow storms (rare in Alabama). In
1982, the ice storm in January caused major power outages.
Bluff Park Baptist Church had power and opened its doors as a
shelter. Wicked weather again hit the area in 1993...Bluff Park
Baptist was not able to hold services on March 14, due to 19 inches
To be a part of such history gives residents roots in the area.
“I feel like we have an important mission to carry on in the
community, to carry the torch, so to speak,” Medbery says.