By Jennifer Harris
Word&Way News Writer
Word&Way News Writer
First Baptist Church, Columbia, kicked off their 185th anniversary celebration with “Celebrate with Service” on Nov. 1.
The congregation invited sister churches Little Bonne Femme Baptist Church, Second Missionary Baptist Church and Memorial Baptist Church to foster fellowship and work together in service to the community.
Working with the Columbia Housing Authority, approximately 100 volunteers from the churches planted 1,400 daffodil bulbs, coordinated children’s activities, including arts and crafts and games, offered free blood pressure screenings, participatory music, storytelling and had information from the Susan G. Komen Foundation about lung and breast cancers.
The project was designed so that anyone in the congregation could find a way to plug in, said Nancy Campbell, youth ministries coordinator and chairperson for the 185th Celebration Committee.
When the church contacted the housing authority to find out about the feasibility of such a project, they were “extremely excited,” Campbell said. While groups occasionally want to assist, it isn’t common.
The church chose to celebrate with a service project because “it is what Christ commands us to do — serve others,” Campbell said. “This was something not just to congratulate ourselves, but to do what Christ commanded.”
“It was a lot of fun,” she said. “I absolutely believe in having fun while serving. We had wonderful fellowship.”
The church originally planned to plant 600 bulbs, but when volunteers kept signing up, Campbell bought 200 more. When the landscapers were finished within two hours, she bought an additional 600. “They still finished early and had a lot of fun,” Campbell said.
The Housing Authority also invited the church to participate in the dedication of the Annie Fisher Food Pantry, named after a black woman who operated a highly successful catering business during the early 20th century. The church gave a token gift of infant food and baby formula and hopes to continue working with the new pantry.