Cody Road's History

The year 1902 marks the earliest recorded date regarding the work and progress of Seventh-day Adventists in Mobile. In the early years, there were only a few widely scattered believers who met in various believers’ homes. In 1911, the group of believers was organized into a company under the leadership of Pastor James Ballinger. The company was later organized into the Mobile First Seventh-day Adventist Church. The first recorded place of worship, other than members’ homes, was Garrett Hall in Oakdale. Other places of worship were: Scottish Rite Masonic Hall, First Christian Church located at Dauphin and Broad Streets and Mrs. W.C. McClure’s home in Prichard. The following early believers were all probably charter members: Mr. & Mrs. H. G. Moberg, Mr. H. A. Respess, Mr. & Mors. C. G. Meyer, the Dragos, Mrs. W.C. McClure, Mrs. Birdie Goodbrad, Mr. & Mrs. Gardner, Dr. Rockwell, A. Rockwell, Mr. & Mrs. Little and Miss Ola Bryars. In 1917, S. E. Wright, President of the Local Conference, sent pastor Ervin M. Martin to Mobile for the purpose of conducting evangelistic meetings. These meetings were held in a tent located at Bayou and Scott Streets. The pastor at this time was J. F. Wright.

After the successful series of evangelistic meetings, construction began on a permanent church home. The property for the church, 102 N Pine Street between Springhill Avenue and Old Shell Road, was donated by the Drago family. Plans for the church included a school room for the children. The construction was completed in 1919, several years later the church was dedicated by Elder W. A. Spicer, President of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

In the early 1940s, the membership had outgrown the church building on Pine Street and in 1943, under the leadership of Pastor J. E. Whelpley, plans for a new church building began. Some three years later, a lot, located on the corner of Government and Everett Streets ,was purchased for $6,200. Carl Ashlock was the pastor at this time. The actual construction of the main church auditorium was done under the leadership of Pastor W. L. Mazat and began with the ground-breaking ceremony, Sunday, September 15, 1948. The first service in the new church auditorium was conducted by Pastor Mazat on December 24, 1949.

The untiring efforts of the church membership certainly was indicative of the “Advent Spirit.” Special mention of the building committee should be noted. This group consisted of the following individuals with Pastor Mazat as chairman: Mrs. M. E. Crawford, M. O. Doherty, Ben Harr, C. M. Hawkshead, J. McKee, Dr. H. C. McClure, Mrs. H. C. McClure, Mr. L. W Naas, Mrs. L. W. Naas and D. E. Rowland. J. N. Morgan, associate pastor, also served as chairman. Mr. Naas was contractor for the building program and his help was greatly appreciated.

During the mid 1940s, when the Mobile Church membership was outgrowing their building,  some of the members began meeting in the homes of members living in the Prichard area. This group was organized into a church on March 28, 1948 with 19 charter members. The Mobile First Church “mothered” the church in Prichard. Also, in the 1940s, two members of the Mobile First Seventh-day Adventist Church held a lay evangelistic meeting in the St. Elmo area which resulted in the baptism of eight individuals. These new believers were members of the Mobile First Church, but they immediately began holding branch Sabbath School each Sabbath in private homes and this practice continued until 1957. A building, owned by another denomination in St. Elmo, was purchased by this group of Adventist believers and became an organized church that was dedicated on May 31, 1958 with thirty-four charter members. The St. Elmo Seventh-day Adventist Church was also “mothered” by the Mobile First Church.

The church school, which began in 1920 in the Pine Street Church, was relocated to a three-room school located on Stanton Road in 1930. In the early 1950s, the number of pupils had outgrown the three-room school building and under the leadership of Pastor Roy B. Thurman, plans were made to build a new church school. Five acres, located at 32009 Pleasant Valley Road, were purchased from the Farnells, and construction of the school was done by church members. The building was completed and the school moved from Stanton Road to Pleasant Valley Road in 1955.

The Government Street Church served it congregation well. However, the dream of a new church began to take shape under the leadership of Pastor James Greek, and in 1981, property located at 1900 Cody Road, was purchased. In 1986, when the Cody Road property was paid off, the Government Street Church was sold. And the congregation took up temporary headquarters at Mobile Junior Academy located on Pleasant Valley Road.

For three years, the congregation worshipped at the “carpeted” end of the Mobile Junior Academy gymnasium. The long-awaited day for the groundbreaking for the new church finally arrived on April 2, 1989. Pastor Kenneth Harding, Elder Richard R. Hallock, President of the Gulf States Conference, and Mrs. Alice Voorheis, Superintendent of Education for the Gulf States Conference, participated in the ceremony for the new church/school complex. Construction was under the leadership of Pastor Kenneth Harding with Dr. Vann D. Cockrell as building committee chairman and Hubert Bramblett, David Nolfe and Randy Reed sharing the responsibilities of project manager. The project was completed within budget. The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the first service was June 9, 1990, and was attended by Richard R. Hallock, Gulf States Conference President; County Commissioner, Jim Mason; and State Legislator, Mildred Box. Many former pastors and members traveled long distances to participate in the occasion.

Mobile Junior Academy moved into the new church building for the 1990/91 school year.