July 24, 2003

First Baptist Church To Celebrate Sesquicentennial

By Ellen Aylward

A celebration of the First Baptist Church's sesquicentennial will kick off July 28, the first day of a week-long outreach to its neighbors in Memphis, and culminating with a big "block party" on Friday, August 1, 2003 at 6:30 p.m. on the Memphis Square featuring a barbecue meal and entertainment that is open to the public.

Youth Pastor Troy Barrett stated, "It is our hope that this outreach and celebration will give people a message from us, and that is we care about them. We would invite everyone to visit our church, or attend a church of their choice."

The area Baptists began meeting in the 1850's. However, when the Civil War broke out in 1861, most of the Baptists in the area were from Kentucky or Virginia, so they were scattered and lost their identity as a Baptist organization.

In 1870, Rev. J. P. Green and Rev. Sawyer held a series of meetings at the courthouse and rallied the Baptists who remained in the area along with new converts and a Baptist church was organized. The group continued to use the courthouse as a meeting place until 1873, when they purchased a lot where the original church stood across from the Presbyterian Church.

A building was erected on that site in 1884 at a cost of approximately $3,000. That building was in use until 1981, when the current building on the northwest edge of town was built. A new addition was dedicated in 2001.

The following week, First Baptist Church will begin their Vacation Bible School, titled The Great Global Adventure, Adventures in Odyssey. All children ages three to sixth grade are invited to attend from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon. Mid-morning snacks will be provided. The program will be Friday evening at 7:00 p.m., followed by an old-fashioned ice cream social. If you have any questions, you may call the church at 465-2060.

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