Woodward Avenue Baptist Church

post date: April 16, 2007
Yesterday Marlene and I had a wonderful time at Woodward Avenue Baptist Church in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. I grew up in that area so it was a sort of homecoming for me even though I didn’t know most of the people in the congregation. Pastor Ron Ethridge is a personal friend so we felt enormously welcomed from the moment we arrived. I don’t know how many people he introduced us to but it was a lot and they all seemed very glad we were there. I met Mr. and Mrs. Lassiter who both remembered my father because over 45 years ago, he delivered their daughter who happens to be the the church secretary. Mrs. Lassiter paid me a wonderful compliment when she said she was glad to meet "Dr. Pritchard’s son." No one has called me that in a long time, but that’s how all four of us Pritchard boys were introduced when were growing up in Russellville, about 18 miles south of Muscle Shoals. She also said that I looked like my father, which pleased me greatly.
Marlene and I both sensed the friendly spirit of the people. After the service, she said, "I felt at home there." So did I. By the way, here are Ron’s reflections on the service yesterday.
When I got up to preach, they listened intently to the message. I know that congregations vary widely in the way they respond, but you can generally tell when the message is getting through. Yesterday I felt that the people truly wanted to hear what I had to say about forgiveness.
Because it is located on the busiest street in northwest Alabama, thousands of cars drive past the church every day. Location isn’t everything but it helps to have that kind of exposure to the public. Pastor Ron is a strong preacher of the Word in a congregation of friendly people who love the Lord and truly want to impact the world for Christ. To me that’s a powerful combination. I expect we’ll hear more from Woodward Avenue Baptist Church in the days to come.

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