After 150 years, Bethany Baptist Church is still standing strong.
“This church is a major part of this community and is vital to the spiritual growth and needs of this community,” said Cathy Webb, a church member.
Sunday, the church is celebrating its 150th anniversary and invites all to attend.
“We will have tours of the church. At 10:30 a.m. we will start the celebration and we have some of our former pastors that will be here,” said Cheryl Shannon, also a church member.
Built in 1867, the church has seen several challenges throughout the years. In 1982 an electrical fire burned it completely to the ground.
“I myself remember standing in the parking lot in tears seeing the piano fall down through the floor in the flames to the basement. But we banded together and quickly made plans to build another church and this is what you see,” said Webb.
A few church artifacts escaped the flames; however, and they’ll be on display come Sunday.
“It’s a historical event that we’re celebrating, so we have a historical truck here. This is a 1955 Chevrolet truck. It’s been around nearly 70 years,” said Stanley Shannon, another church member.
Another church gem is the Bethany Baptist Church Cemetery which has over 600 people buried there, including veterans from the Civil War, WWI, and WWII. The oldest grave is an unmarked grave dated back to 1852.
The cemetery will be open Sunday for visitors to find their buried loved ones. Webb said the church is now searching for a new pastor but is excited for what’s to come.
“We’ve said our mission is faith. We hope to make the next 150 years as productive as the last 150 years.”