Word&Way News Writer
IRONTON — The auditorium of First Baptist Church, Ironton, was packed as current and former members and friends came to celebrate the church’s 150- year anniversary, June 29.
The church was founded before Ironton had a public school. In those early days, worshippers gathered one Sunday a month for services.
Displays, including wedding memorabilia and photos of former pastors, were set up in rooms of the church to provide church history.
As a prelude to the special two-hour anniversary service, a variety of musicians presented instrumental music in the sanctuary.
The service featured a pageant, “Within These Walls: 150 Years of Ministry,” written by Carolyn Sheehy, based on the book by Ira Ann Hawkins.
The pageant began with the founding of the congregation and told of the church’s location in four different buildings, struggles of the Civil War and the organization of the Ladies Aid Society, the Baptist Home and Bethany Baptist Church Mission.
The pageant also honored Jim and Carol Bruns for their service during two interims, and welcomed Chrs Whorton as the new pastor of First Baptist Church.
“When we consider the 150 years of ministry at First Baptist Church of Ironton, we cannot help but recognize that all the glory is due to Him,” Whorton wrote in a letter to the church.
“Who else can receive the worship and praise for the strengthening of the church with faith, love, knowledge of Christ’s love and the fullness of God for these many years? Who would have fathomed that this church, begun so long ago, would have continued to this day? The answer to both questions is God and God alone!”
The service was followed with a basket dinner in the fellowship hall and on the grounds.
In addition to food brought in by church members, the local Methodist congregation helped prepare food and serve, so that First Baptist members could participate in the celebration.
Women in the church also provided samples of historical dishes taken from Ladies Aid Society cookbooks.
Every woman present for the celebration received a free copy of “For Ladies Only,” a compilation of recipes from the 1898, 1909 and 1920 cookbooks.
Recipes include everything from fried mush to dixie cream puffs to “good cookies” to “a most delightful slaw.”
Those preparing dishes from the cookbook found following the recipes to be a challenge, as the early 1900s recipes didn’t include oven settings or cooking times.
“May we continue such prayers that God will continue to receive the glory for the continuation of this church throughout all generations until the Lord’s return,” Whorton wrote.