“Parker is trying to change its image, and that’s why they brought me on two years ago,” said contemporary worship leader Kevin Anderson.
The church is hoping to reach more people, “particularly the younger crowd,” Anderson said. Parker has added a more casual, contemporary service, held in the gym instead of the sanctuary. Worshippers are encouraged to come as they are — even if that means flip-flops.
Anderson grew up as a pastor’s son and came to Parker Memorial after working for a radio station in Georgia.
When he arrived, he felt that something was missing.
“This area is all Southern gospel,” he said. But, he noticed, the Anniston area had no contemporary Christian music influence — which is why he helped arrange a free concert with Dove Award-winning musician Kari Jobe last October.
“We don’t have to go to Birmingham or Atlanta” to hear good Christian music, Anderson said.
“Parker wants to be well rounded,” Anderson said. “There will be something for everyone.”
Anderson had been wanted to bring Building 429 to Parker Memorial for a while now. After making contact with the Christian music group, he found that the anniversary weekend “was the only weekend they were available.”
Anderson shared the news with Parker Memorial’s senior pastor Mack Amis, and that’s when they decided to host a full weekend of events leading up to the anniversary celebration.
“It’s good for our 125th anniversary to show the community that we’re not who we were 125 years ago,” Anderson said. “We celebrate the past, but we embrace the future.”
Parker Memorial 125th anniversary
Building 429 and Manic Drive
When: 7 p.m. Thursday
Where: Anniston High School Auditorium
Cost: $10 at the church until 5 p.m. on Thursday, and $15 at the concert.
Christian comedian Dennis Swanberg
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Parker Memorial CLC Gym
Singer Janet Paschal
When: 7 p.m. June 30
Where: Parker Memorial Sanctuary