NORMAN — Bethel Baptist Church of Norman will celebrate its 50th anniversary Sunday.
Begun as a mission of First Baptist Church, Southwest Baptist Mission opened its doors June 2, 1963, with a full schedule of services. The mission called its first pastor, Victor Cerne, on June 16 of that same year. He served until 1975, when Travis Wiginton began his ministry at Bethel.
Other pastors followed. Bill Agee served from 1987 through 1993, and James Ehrlich served from 1994 until his retirement in 2011. Bethel’s current pastor, Doyle Pryor, began his ministry there Aug. 18.
Over the years, the church has grown and expanded its vision and footprint to include several locations along West Lindsey Street. The current 800-seat sanctuary was dedicated on May 31, 1981.
Since then, the church has added education, children/preschool and fellowship space. Ample parking also has been added to accommodate the church’s growing ministries.
Most recently, a multipurpose building, The Annex, was completed. The facility has space for students and church-wide gatherings.
In addition, the building includes state-of-the-art sound and lighting.
Highlighting the church’s celebration this weekend will be a community-wide concert at 7 p.m. Saturday at Bethel Baptist Church, 1717 W. Lindsey St., with worship artist Dennis Jernigan.
Jernigan has released more than 25 full-length CDs, multiple songbooks and folios and has authored more than five books, including his two most recent: “What Every Boy Should Know, What Every Man Wishes His Dad Had Told Him” and “Daily Devotions for Kingdom Seekers.”
His newest CD, “Here in Your Presence — Dennis Jernigan Live from San Antonio,” is available now at retail outlets.
Pryor will preach at 10:45 a.m. Sunday. The service will include several recognitions. Members will gather for dinner on the grounds following the service.
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