Sunday, Sept. 21, was a day full of worship and
celebration for the 175th anniversary of First Baptist Church of
Worshippers were welcomed in the Sunday School area,
which was dedicated in September 1957.
Artifacts on display included an original pew from the
early church, made by Watt Stump; a blanket presented by L.L. Ball to a
member of his Young Adult Sunday School class when a new child was born;
and a baby quilt crafted by Kate Holliday and Fae Cox of the Willing
Workers class for a new child.
There was also the early pulpit Bible, presented by Mary
Huffman Johnson; the first book of minutes (1833-1879), enclosed in a
case made by Cleston Nicholas, and other albums and photos displayed
throughout the church.
Morning worship was called when Rev. Greg Swisher,
pastor of the church, welcomed the congregation. Old time music was
presented by the church choir, with Amber Ganoe and Jenny Boggs as
Rick Fitzwater gave the message to the children. Rev.
Doug Eades, who was the pastor of the church at the 150th anniversary,
had the message.
Listening to the junior sermon message are, left to right, Ellie
Stump, Levi Morris, Kennedy Lawson, Levi Stump, Sarah Gherke Harper,
Kaelin Harper, Courtney Lewis and Ryleith Dempsey.
All were invited to enjoy a fellowship dinner prepared
by church members and served by the Calhoun County High School cross
The afternoon session featured history of the church and
participation by former church members.
Sunday School teachers, left to right, Rick Sampson. Teresa
Robinson, Glen Fowler, Rick Fitzwater, Joe Goodrich and Robert Bonar.
Connie Law and Brittany Law Presta, mother-daughter
musicians of the church in the 1980’s, sang several numbers. Brittany
started her performance career as a member of the Junior Choir.
church historian, gave interesting excerpts of the revised Church
The church celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1933,
140th in 1973 (in conjunction with a note burning for the new
sanctuary), and 150th in 1983.
For each event, a church history was published. The
newest history, revised this year, was available for those in attendance
at the afternoon session.
A new cookbook, prepared by Marge Gherke and committee,
was also available. Commemorative mugs were available for purchase for
benefit of the Relay for Life team.
was presented by Barbara Morris Full, director of the children’s choir
in the early ’60’s, and Bob Morris, a member of her Boys’ Choir. The
group was under the direction of his sister and made up of her brothers
and fellow Sunday School classmates. Their sister, Carleen, was church
organist while still in high school. Their special number was “Ava
Maria/I Believe,” sung as a duet.
Dr. David Carrico, executive minister of the W.Va.
Baptist Convention, gave the afternoon message.
The following recognitions were given: Mary Umstead,
former church clerk for 26 years; Pearle Johnson, Sunday School teacher
for 54 years; Pete Trippett, member for 65 years; Virginia Buck, member
for 62 years; Don and Linda Harris, married in 1962, the day before the
old church was torn down; and Glen Fowler, deacon emeritus, ordained in
Over 20 descendants of Alexander and Hannah Vannoy
Huffman attended some part of the celebration. The Huffmans were two of
the founding members of the church.
Many descendants of Rev. John Stump also attended. He
served five times for a total of 23 years. Rev. Dwight Lowther served a
term of 10 years.
Other former pastors recognized were Rev. William Taylor
and wife Betty, Rev. Doug Eades and his 90-year-old mother Inez, and
Rev. Jim Pearson and wife Laurie.
Pastor Doug Eades.
The church now faces the future, having learned from the
past and ready for renewal and many more years of serving God and