Ruhama Baptist Church

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Ruhama Baptist Church, August 27, 1954

Ruhama Baptist Church was a Southern Baptist church located at 7901 2nd Avenue South in East Lake. Formed in 1819 in a log cabin, Ruhama was the first Baptist church in Jefferson County. The adjoining cemetery, East Lake Cemetery was established in the early 1830's.

In 1887, Ruhama's ministry grew when Howard College moved from Marion to East Lake. With the campus right down the street from the church, Ruhama's members included a number of faculty members and students from the college. Commencement ceremonies for Howard were held in the Ruhama sanctuary, and the church provided a stabilizing force for the college throughout its time in East Lake. The relationship between the two institutions changed when Howard College moved to its current campus on Lakeshore Drive in Homewood.

Ruhama dedicated a new sanctuary under pastor J. C. Stivender on September 5, 1926.

In the latter part of the 20th century, membership dwindled in the congregation from about 3000 in the 1970s. Finally, in 2001, the congregation voted to merge with First Baptist Irondale. The Greater Emmanuel Temple Holiness Church is using Ruhama's former campus, and the records of the church are now housed in the Special Collections Department of the Samford University Library.

See also