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   The state’s third oldest Baptist church will celebrate its 144th anniversary Sunday.
   Belle Flower Missionary Baptist Church, founded in 1868, will mark its annual birthday celebration with two services Saturday, at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
   Stacia Jackson, wife of Belle Flower’s senior pastor, the Rev. R.L. Jackson, said the entire community is welcome to share in the birthday celebration.
   The theme for this year’s celebration is “Standing on a Legacy of Faith, Building a Future with Promise.
   The guest speaker for the afternoon service will be the Rev. Terrence Rash of St. Peter’s Rock Church in Cleveland.
   Belle Flower was a hub for community and national organizers during the civil rights movement. In the 1960s the Grenada County Freedom Movement was based in the church along with representatives with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., once spoke from the church’s pulpit.
   Like many black churches that served as centers for the civil rights in the South, Belle Flower was bombed in 1967, but violence didn’t deter the congregation from its commitment to justice.


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