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The Statesboro First Baptist Church will celebrate its 140th anniversary on September 4

By ANGYE MORRISON

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Statesboro First Baptist Church will celebrate 140 years of ministry on September 4 – and you are cordially invited to attend.

On September 3, 1882, 10 local believers founded the church, using a land gift from Solomon F. Olliff. On this “quarter acre” the first building was constructed, intended to grow with the new town of Statesboro. The church is still located on the same plot of land, although it has grown through purchases and donations of properties adjacent to the original site.

With a membership of approximately 3,000 members, FBC continues to grow and serve. The staff includes John Waters as senior pastor, Keith Hagan as executive pastor, Jeff Brazell as worship pastor, Drew Felts as college pastor, Susan Allen as children’s minister, Ricky Allen as as senior adult pastor and Mark Galo as student pastor. The staff also includes Robbie Norman as discipleship pastor and Dave Parker as missions pastor.

A committee of dedicated members, including Iris Durden and Jean Moore, have been working on the celebration that will take place next month. The celebration, they say, will center on the theme of God’s faithfulness across generations. Both ladies agree that it is important to recognize significant milestones for the church itself, as well as for the community.

“I think we’ve been here and we don’t just exist. We are growing, doing and continuing the work of God,” Moore said.

“What we try to emphasize in everything we do is our commitment to discipleship and missions, and focusing on people, not buildings,” Durden said.

Moore, who grew up in First Baptist, said her life was influenced by the church’s emphasis on missionary work, which is still much of what the church does today. The church has ministered locally and in other parts of the state of Georgia, in the United States and abroad.

From the beginning, First Baptist has supported and implemented shared ministry projects, mission churches, and cooperative efforts. That effort continues today as they partner with a group starting a new church in Portland, Oregon, and International Mission Board-sponsored ministry work in Marseille, France.

Over the years, FBC members have served the community in a variety of ways, including preschoolers, middle and high school students, families with special needs, the elderly, and the Korean community. The church has an active ministry at Georgia Southern University for domestic and international students.

For 140 years, the significance of FBC has been found in the faithfulness of the people who make up the congregation. “With a love for God, a commitment to the gospel, and a heartbeat for missions and ministry, the unwavering service of the members of this church has provided a God-honoring legacy and a history of faith,” part states. a brief history of the church.

Former pastor Dr. Bill Perry said, “It is not necessarily big events that determine the nature of a church. More important is the daily life of the church, love, worship, fellowship and obedience to God, and the ministry, evangelism and prayer life of the people.

Moore and Durden, joining staff and members, say that although God began writing the history of the First Baptist Church in 1882, he is not done yet.

“God’s faithfulness and the devotion of his people have served us well over the past 140 years, and they are vital for us to be a healthy church in the years to come,” they say. “In this celebration of 140 years of ministry, let each of us renew our passion for Jesus Christ and recommit ourselves to being the church He called us and created us to be.”

The celebration will begin at the 10:30 a.m. service on September 4. During the service, members who have been with the church for 50 years or more will be recognized, as well as descendants of founding members. Founding members included Edmond Kennedy, AB Miller, WB Corey, Joseph Tillman, James Price, WJM Griner, Mozelle Miller, Mary Tillman, Elizabeth Kennedy, and Mary J. Proctor.

Banners will be displayed that will highlight the history of the church, and a booklet will be available that will feature some of those same highlights and more. The booklet will also contain quotes from church members who are now over 90, along with a photo of each.

A memorial ornament is now being sold for $5 each that features a likeness of the church sanctuary stained glass window. On the back, the occasion of the 140th anniversary is noted.

A meal will be served after the service and all are welcome to attend.

For more information about First Baptist, its programs and ministries, and hours of service, go online to www.fbc-statesboro.org.