A Pike County church is being recognized as the oldest African-American church in the area. The Alabama Historical Association named First Missionary Baptist Church a registered historical landmark this month.
The church was founded in 1872 in Troy with about 60 original members. After the original building burned down, congregants rebuilt a larger chapel and recreation building on Alphonsa Drive. Members tell CBS 8 the marker is just a visible recognition of the difference it's made in the community.
"I hope it serves as an inspiration to other congregations to get a historical marker and to showcase your history in the form of a historical marker so people can identify with the history and help you to honor it,” said Rev. George Gilchrist, Jr., who has served as pastor for more than 30 years.
First Missionary Baptist Church is planning a special commemorative service on Sunday October 14, when the church will officially turn 140 years old.