Louisville—On Saturday, April 11, more than 500 people joined Walnut Street Baptist Church in Louisville for live music, hot dogs, inflatables and a host of block party activities to kickoff a series of events celebrating its 200th anniversary.
“We wanted to make sure to make a presence within this community and our neighborhood. We believe the Lord has planted us here on 3rd and St. Catherine, and we want to make a difference where He has planted us,” Mark Williams, Walnut Street’s pastor, said.
“Really, we just wanted to have a big kickoff and invite the neighborhood around us and get some excitement here to see what the Lord is doing,” he added.
Live music for the block party was provided by Rascals of Ragtime and Jim Needler, and a magic show was presented by Walnut Street member Gene Sutherland. The afternoon included numerous games, activities and refreshments. Guests were entered in a drawing for door prizes.
Louisville Councilman David James donated to have the Rascals of Ragtime perform.
“Old Louisville has many unique landmarks and it is an honor to help the Walnut Street Baptist Church gather with the community to celebrate its founding as one of our city’s most important faith based organizations,” James said in a LouisvilleCity.gov press release.
Betty Kitchen, 60-year member of Walnut Street, was part of the planning committee for the event. “It’s an outreach to the community to let them know we love them and are celebrating, and we want them to be a part of that,” she said.
Although the church has events like this every year for Vacation Bible School, they “had a few more things out for this particular one since it’s the 200th anniversary,” member Jeff Ross added.
This was the first of several events that will be held to celebrate the anniversary, including a celebration for the church’s “daughter churches,” a wedding celebration for anyone who was married at the church through the years, and the “big celebration” in October when Robert Smith will be preaching during a couple of worship opportunities throughout the weekend, Williams said.
Additionally, in the Sunday worship services, skits have been performed depicting historical events in the church’s history.
Walnut Street was the result of the first (formed in 1815) and second Baptist churches of Louisville merging in the 1850s. Originally located on 4th and Walnut Streets in Louisville, the church now meets on the corner of 3rd and St. Catherine, where it has met since the early 1900s.
“We wanted the community to know that we’re here and we love them, but more importantly God loves them. We want them to know that we can have fun and fellowship with one another and celebrate what the Lord has done over the past 200 years and what He is going to continue to do in the future,” Williams concluded. (WR)