Thomas church celebrating 35th anniversary

Published 9:32 pm Friday, November 27, 2015

Sunday, Dec. 6 is a very special day for Bible Baptist Church in Thomas.
The church is celebrating its 35th anniversary.

Pastor Harold Gaddy has been the church’s pastor for all 35 years. He said they celebrate every anniversary, but added that this one is a little extra special since it’s the 35th.

Gaddy was born and raised in Bogalusa. He went to Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga before pastoring in the area and coming back home.

“The church has been our heart,” Gaddy said. “That’s where we’ve lived. The people in our church are a joy to pastor. They’ve been the kindest people. They are Christians and they love the Lord.

“They’ve loved us and we love them. It’s been a wonderful ministry. We would like it to continue to be a blessed and prosperous ministry for years to come.”

Gaddy said the church has a special day planned on Dec. 6. Sunday school will begin at 10 a.m., followed by the worship service at 11 a.m.

Ben’s Ford Baptist Church pastor, Bro. Lynn Martin will preach the morning message.

There will be a meal immediately following the worship service, and singing will follow with the Voices of Hope and the Sounds of Joy providing the music.

He said there will be some old memorabilia from when the church started.

“It kind of shows the church in the early years,” Gaddy said.

Bible Baptist Church began with an organizational service Dec. 7, 1980, with the Rev. Harold Brown, director of Fair Haven Children’s Home, preaching the service.

On that day a Statement of Faith and bylaws was accepted, the church charter was signed, Gaddy was called as pastor and the new church was begun.

“It was a small church when we began,” Gaddy said. “We had a handful of people when we started, but the church has grown over the years. The community has grown in population and the church membership has grown, too.”

Gaddy said that when they started, the congregation was about 30 people. He said that now, the church has an active membership of about 200 people.

The church began on the property of Dr. Arnold Aasen, an optometrist in Bogalusa, who made his property available after the church was formed. The trailer was converted into a church sanctuary complete with a piano, a pulpit for the preacher, folding chairs and songbooks.

The trailer also had two additional rooms that were used for children’s Sunday School classes.

Gaddy said the membership admitted that the trailer was hot in the summer and cold in the winter, but the Lord’s presence was there and that was the most important thing that mattered.

Within six months, the church had purchased two acres of frontage property on Highway 424 south of the Thomas community from Louchildre and Audrey Thomas, and the congregation moved the trailer to the church’s present location.

Within 18 months after the church was started, the membership built a log church building, which remains as the primary structure for its church sanctuary and Sunday school program.

Over the 35 years, the church has grown. Acreage was purchased from R.O. and Neline Thomas to build a parsonage for the pastor and his family.
Also added were a storage and utility building, as well as expansion and accommodations for parking. The church has renovated its auditorium and additional space has been provided for the Sunday school ministry, and in addition, three acres of land was purchased from Neline Thomas to provide for a church cemetery, which has only recently been completed.

The church has met all its financial responsibilities and is debt-free.

Harold and his wife Maureen have been married for 43 years. Both are Bogalusa High School graduates. Harold graduated in 1968 and Maureen graduated in 1969.
The couple has four children, Jim, Sally, Jill and Molly.