GRAY SUMMIT — With the theme, “Find Us Faithful,” First Baptist Church, Gray Summit celebrated its 150th anniversary on Sept. 27. The congregation remembered people and events from the past and looked to its future ministry.
Missouri Baptist Convention executive director David Tolliver was
guest preacher. Tolliver’s father, the late Phillip Tolliver, served First Baptist as pastor for a number of years.
Following a catered lunch for current and former members and guests, a celebration service of music, memories and a challenge for the future by pastor Jim Perdew concluded the day’s events. Several, including the church choir, provided special music at the two services.
The church also marked the milestone with a choir CD and souvenir mugs. Proceeds from CD and mug sales benefited Missouri missions. The congregation is also planning to develop a time capsule to be opened on the church’s 200th anniversary.
Beginning in May, special mission projects were conducted each month with a goal of at least 150 items or dollars for local, state and international missions. Projects included collecting canned and boxed food for Agape House, making 30 lap quilts for the Pacific Care Center and purchasing home and travel water filters for a missionary family.
The “150-mission” goals will continue through December with other local and international mission projects. The church also hosts spring and fall carnivals for area families, including a “Trunk or Treat” car cruise on Oct. 30 with the Highway 30 Car Club.
Begun in 1859, Brush Creek Church, as it was then known, shared a building with Gray Summit Methodist Church, and met the first and third Sundays each month. In 1867, the Baptists obtained full deed to the premises, and the name became Brush Creek Baptist Church.
With 100 members in 1872, the congregation established a mission church at Point Pleasant. Church minutes show some years of struggle, especially with finances. The church was often hard-pressed even to collect enough money to pay the pastor’s salary. At one time, the church practiced calling a pastor for only one year.
In 1903, a committee was formed to build a new parsonage, and by May 1904, the church began having services every Sunday. In 1919, the congregation erected a new building in Gray Summit, which was later destroyed by fire. Another facility was erected in 1934. In 1960-61, the present sanctuary was built.
On Sept. 9, 1964, during Michael McBride’s ministry, Brush Creek Baptist changed its name to First Baptist Church of Gray Summit.
The church opened a preschool in the fall of 1983, which continues to minister to children 2 years old through pre-kindergarten. The ministry is currently housed in the congregation’s multipurpose building constructed in 1983. That building was home to Gray Summit Christian School until it was closed in 1995. In addition to the preschool, the church office and library are housed there, and many events are hosted in the building.
The congregation has licensed seven men from the church, including current pastor James Perdew, to the gospel ministry.