Barked died about 4:10 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 27, his daughter, Peggy Barker Townes, confirmed to AL.com. He was 89 and would have turned 90 next month. “He was faithful to the last breath,” Townes said. “We have been as blessed as we can be.”
The Rev. Frank Barker, who founded Briarwood Presbyterian Church in a storefront in 1960 and led it to become one of Birmingham’s first megachurches, has died.
Barked died about 4:10 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 27, his daughter, Peggy Barker Townes, confirmed to AL.com. He was 89 and would have turned 90 next month.
“He was faithful to the last breath,” Townes said. “We have been as blessed as we can be.”
Barker retired from the 4,100-member church in 1999 after 39 years in the pulpit.
He founded Briarwood in a storefront in 1960 in Cahaba Heights. After several months, the church moved to a campus on U.S. 280. In December 1973, Briarwood Presbyterian Church hosted the first General Assembly of the new Presbyterian Church in America, a conservative break-off from the mainline Presbyterian Church (USA). Barker was a key figure in launching the PCA denomination.
Barker oversaw the construction of a $32 million new campus in 1988, overlooking Interstate 459 from a hilltop at the Acton Road exit. The church grew quickly and added a $5.5 million expansion in 1998.
Barker oversaw the creation of Briarwood Christian School, a ministry of Briarwood Presbyterian Church, which includes grades from kindergarten through high school. The high school has a Shelby County campus on Cahaba Valley Road.
Barker helped found the Birmingham Theological Seminary in 1972 with the Rev. Bill Hay at Edgewood Presbyterian Church in Homewood. It moved later to the Briarwood campus. Barker served as chancellor and chairman of the seminary, teaching classes in Old Testament and personal evangelism.