Pastor Jeff Black, Rhonda Black, secretary, and Assistant Pastor Mike Smith, with the First Baptist Church in Proctorville, will host a 100-year anniversary celebration this Saturday, Oct. 22.

Archived Story

Celebrating 100 years

Published 10:18am Monday, October 17, 2011

PROCTORVILLE — A centennial celebration will be this weekend at the First Baptist Church of Proctorville beginning Saturday and continuing Sunday.

The celebration of its first 100 years as an organized church will pay homage to its history and perseverance through the decades, as well as kick off its next century.

Festivities begin on Saturday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and will include food, inflatables, games and a cake walk.

All church departments and classes will set up booths representing different eras of time in the church’s history. Senior Pastor Jeff Black said each of the ministries has chosen a time period and its members will come dressed in period costume and serve food items associated with it. Booths include: the Wild West, 20s and 30s, the Waltons, 50s Drive-In, 50s Happy Days, 60s, 70s, and 80s.

All events are free and open to the public, Black said.

On Sunday, the church will have a combined early service at 9:15 a.m. in its auditorium. The service will include two special guests, Robert Chapman “Chappie” Dillion, the congregation’s first missionary and Dr. John Alley, who served as pastor at First Baptist for 35 years. Alley will be sharing his memories via a special video compiled for the occasion.

At 10:30 a.m., regular church service will begin but will also mark the special anniversary. The congregation will be treated to a slide presentation of photographs entitled “Then to Now,” and each family will receive a booklet detailing the history of the church. There will also be additional special guests. Black will conclude the service with a special challenge, he calls “Today and Tomorrow.”

Following the service, church members will assemble outside to ring its more than 100-year-old refurbished bell. Ringing the bell, which was once used to call the community to worship, will to mark the beginning of the next century in its history, church officials said.

Black and assistant pastor Mike Smith said the church has learned a tremendous amount of its own history while preparing for the 100th anniversary. They reviewed the minutes of dozens of its business meetings to glean details from the past.

A common theme they found was “perseverance” through all sorts of challenges, Black said. He noted the church had to overcome shutting down temporarily because of a lack of money during the Depression, the flood of 1937 and the War Department’s decision during World War II not to allow the church a new furnace.

“They were faithful and they had been faithful all those years,” Black said of the congregation. “You can see it in the minutes, where those faithful people just stuck it out on through,” he said.

Over the years, the church has called three buildings home, all of which are still standing. Its original building, located on Wilkins Street is now an apartment building and the Lawrence County Library in Proctorville now occupies its second home. In 1975, First Baptist built its current campus, which now serves more than

500 members and provides a large range of ministries from daycare to adult classes.

Black said the church is looking forward to its next 100 years but is not focused on anything specific. “We wait until the Lord opens a door,” he said, “The scripture really doesn’t teach us to jump out in front of the Lord but to follow him and the doors he opens. We just want to be faithful following him into the doors that he opens.” guests. Black will conclude the service with a special challenge, he calls “Today and Tomorrow.”

Following the service, church members will assemble outside to ring its more than 100-year-old refurbished bell. Ringing the bell, which was once used to call the community to worship, will to mark the beginning of the next century in its history, church officials said.

Black and assistant pastor Mike Smith said the church has learned a tremendous amount of its own history while preparing for the 100th anniversary. They reviewed the minutes of dozens of its business meetings to glean details from the past.

A common theme they found was “perseverance” through all sorts of challenges, Black said. He noted the church had to overcome shutting down temporarily because of a lack of money during the Depression, the flood of 1937 and the War Department’s decision during World War II not to allow the church a new furnace.

“They were faithful and they had been faithful all those years,” Black said of the congregation. “You can see it in the minutes, where those faithful people just stuck it out on through,” he said.

Over the years, the church has called three buildings home, all of which are still standing.

Its original building, located on Wilkins Street is now an apartment building and the Lawrence County Library in Proctorville now occupies its second home. In 1975, First Baptist built its current campus, which now serves more than 500 members and provides a large range of ministries from daycare to adult classes.

Black said the church is looking forward to its next 100 years but is not focused on anything specific.

“We wait until the Lord opens a door,” he said, “The scripture really doesn’t teach us to jump out in front of the Lord but to follow him and the doors he opens. We just want to be faithful following him into the doors that he opens.”

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