By Kim West
A mortgage burning ceremony for the Round Island Creek Missionary Baptist Association was held June 30 at the Round Island Mission Center.
The center, which was built on a 44-acre property at 13829 Lucas Ferry Road, includes a multipurpose gym, kitchen, church hall and offices.
RICMBA previously occupied a building at the northwest corner of Jefferson and Elm streets, said association trustee Mike Bailey. The other two trustees are James Lucas and Ronald Fletcher.
Bailey said a groundbreaking ceremony for the mission center was held June 22, 2002, and it was dedicated on Dec. 27, 2003. He said the 20-year mortgage was paid off in 2012.
The organization held its annual scholarship celebration June 22, and retiring moderator Damon Betts was honored June 30. Betts will continue to serve as pastor of Little Zion Missionary Baptist Church.
RICMBA was formed in 1888, and currently has 24 members.
Twelve member churches were constructed in the 1800s, including Hartselle Baptist, Little Elk, Little Ezekiel, Mount Nebo, Mount Zion, New Hopewell, New Zion, Pine Grove, Poplar Creek, St. Luke, St. Paul and Shiloh.
Twelve were built in the 1900s, including David Temple, Ebeneezer, Grace, Greater Hope, James Chapel, Little Zion, Mount Pisgah, New Beria, Newby’s Chapel, Peace, St. John and Sweet Home.
The oldest member church, St. Paul, dates back to 1865, while the newest church, Greater Hope, was built in 2003.