Utica—Glenville Baptist in Utica celebrated 150 years of ministry on July 19.
The celebration, part of the church’s “Year of Jubilee,” included morning worship, with a sermon by Ronald Rose, a former pastor of Glenville, potluck dinner on the grounds, and an afternoon service featuring remembrances of former pastors and music ministers.
“The passage that we used for the ‘Year of Jubilee’ comes from the book of Acts where it talks about the characteristics of the growing, early church. They heard the disciples teaching, they met together, they broke bread regularly, they worshipped, and God did miraculous signs among them,” Charles Thomas, pastor of Glenville since 2001, said.
“We, too, need to continue these things. And if we do and we’re faithful in our part in it, it’s up to God to add to our number. It’s God’s church,” he said.
Rose spoke from 2 Timothy 1:5 on being prepared for the future, and the Wednesday before, a time capsule from 1984—filled with pictures, notes and documents—was opened for viewing at the service.
Approximately 220 people, more than double the average attendance, celebrated with the church that day.
Other former pastors, including Richard Waggener, Wendell Sandefur, Keith Page and T.A. Prickett, attended the celebration, as well as many former members and music ministers.
“So many people came home. It was just a wonderful celebration. I could have sat there and cried,” said Shelia Iglehart, chairperson of the 150th Anniversary committee and 42-year member of Glenville.
She continued, “We are a loving church. We are a mission minded church. It’s just a home for me.”
Jerry Tooley, director of missions for Daviess McLean Baptist Association, spoke, and the church was recognized via a declaration by the local Representative and a letter from the Office of the President of the United States. Missionaries who claim the church as their home sent a letter also.
Since last July, the church has had various ministers preach and former music ministers come back to lead worship as part of their 150th anniversary.
Glenville Baptist Church was organized in 1865 in a log cabin. The church took the name of Glenville from a nearby village, and the charter members came from Brushy Fork and Mt. Liberty Baptist churches. The church requested admission into the Daviess McLean Association, and was unanimously received that same year.
Glenville used the cabin for three years and built a sanctuary in 1868. They used that building until 1904, when a new house of worship was constructed. The current sanctuary, the fourth structure used by the church, was dedicated in 1984.
Thomas’ goal for the future of Glenville is “to remain focused outward on the community and on people all the way around the world.”
“We’re a rural church, a smaller church, but we can be big in purpose,” Thomas said. (WR)