- Garywood Assembly of God
Garywood Assembly of God is a large church in
Hueytown, Alabama; a western suburb of Birmingham.
Garywood Assembly was founded in
1947during a tent crusadeby evangelist Dorine Justice. The church began with just 14 members. Justice served as pastor for the first year. Between 1950and 1979there were eleven different pastors, during which time church growth was slow. In 1979, Pastor John A. Loper, then an official with the Alabama District of the Assemblies of God, accepted the pastorate. During this time the church's radio outreach, "Garywood Alive," was aired. This soon evolved into a television outreach as well. [cite book |last=Rush |first=Derric |coauthors=Robert Carter and Blake Helms |title= Crossroads of Destiny|year=2004 |publisher=Garywood Assembly of God |location= Hueytown, Alabama]
The church is known throughout metro Birmingham for its annual
EasterDrama, which began in 1977and produced each year since, except for 2005. The church also hosted an annual Garywood Camp meeting, which for many years was billed as the largest "spiritual gathering" in Alabama, featuring well-known figures Vestal Goodman, Marvin Gorman, Jesse Duplantisand John Kilpatrick(of Brownsville Revivalfame). ["Ibid"]
Under Loper's pastorate, attendance at Garywood grew from 250 to nearly 1,500 people, making it one of the largest churches in Alabama as well as one of the fastest growing churches in the nation. In
1981, construction began on a new 1,600 seat sanctuary. It opened Easter Sunday 1982to a capacity crowd. ["Ibid"]
2003Garywood's congregation overwhelmingly voted to buy property on I-459near McCalla, Alabamafor relocation. Original plans currently include a 2,500-seat state-of-the-art auditorium, large facilities for youth, children's ministry and greatly expanded capacity for Garywood Christian School. However, the church sold the property to Colonial Properties Trust in 2006, and is using the proceeds of the sale to build a new facility approximately one mile away from the first site. Groundbreaking for the new facility, just off Charles Hamilton Road and Old Tuscaloosa Road, took place on November 18, 2007. Construction of the new facility is scheduled to begin in January 2008 and be completed sometime in 2009. [ [http://www.al.com/birminghamnews/stories/index.ssf?/base/news/1195982243240340.xml&coll=2 Historic Hueytown church moving to McCalla by'09- al.com ] ]
* [http://www.garywood.org Official Website of Garywood Assembly of God]
* [http://www.ag.org/top/events/2004_Pentecostal_Preachers_Week/speakers.cfm#Loper Assemblies of God General Council: Pastor John Loper speaks at Pentecostal Preachers Week conference (2004)]
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