The Reverend Frank Barker, founder of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, has died at the age of 89, AL.com confirms. He would have celebrated his 90th birthday in January.
Barker’s daughter confirmed his death on Monday.
The Reverend founded Briarwood in a storefront in 1960 in the Cahaba Heights area of Birmingham. In December of 1973, the church hosted the first General Assembly of the new Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), a more conservative approach than the mainline Presbyterian denomination. Barker was a key factor in launching the PCA denomination.
Briarwood would eventually become one of the first megachurches in Birmingham.
Barker would go on to oversee the creation of Briarwood Christian School, a $32 million church campus, as well as helping to found the Birmingham Theological Seminary with Reverend Bill Hay at the Edgewood Presbyterian Church in Homewood.
Barker attended Auburn University on a Navy scholarship and majored in engineering. Following graduation in 1953, he had a tour of duty overseas on an aircraft carrier.
AL.com confirmed with Barker’s daughter, Peggy Barker Townes, that the Reverend died on December 27 around 4:10 p.m. Barker retired from the 4,100-member church in 1999 after serving 39 years in the pulpit.