Mount Pleasant church celebrates first 100 years

"Rooted in Faith ..." is the first part of the theme that, since January, has guided the centennial celebration at First Baptist Church in Mount Pleasant.

Those roots were planted in the fall of 1910, when T.C. Stallings heard a call to start a Sunday school. By the following year - on Oct. 19, 1911, to be exact - a new church was organized from that Sunday school class, and the First Baptist Church of Mount Pleasant was born.

Throughout this year, the church has celebrated the harvest those roots of faith have produced over 100 years. Each month has had its own theme, each emphasizing a different age group or ministry of the church.

Children, youth, seniors, mothers and fathers have been honored. The work the church has done in the areas of local, national and foreign missions was recognized.

They have focused on families and patriotism. And throughout the year, the number 100 has been very prominent.

For example, this month First Baptist is collecting staples for the Mount Pleasant Food Ministry.

Each Sunday members are asked to bring a certain item (flour, beans, cereal), and the goal each week is to collect 100 units.

Likewise, the goal for filled Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes is 100.

Next Sunday will be the Centennial Homecoming at First Baptist, the high point of the year of celebration. The planning committee hopes lots of friends and family will be on hand for the party.

Service time is 10:30 that morning, and the guest speaker is former pastor the Rev. Billy Sellers.

A picnic on the grounds afterward will be highlighted by the planting of a centennial tree.

The second part of the centennial theme is "Growing in God's Love," and there is lots of evidence that the church is looking to the future while honoring the past.

Committee member Janet Stancil showed me where a tree has been painted on a wall in the education building.

Below the tree is the centennial slogan, and there is lots and lots of room on the bare branches for pictures of church families to be added.

Stancil also told me about missions in West Virginia and churches in planted with help from First Baptist of Mount Pleasant.

This is a group so forward-looking that centennial committee chair Ed Creed said he has already volunteered to lead the bicentennial committee.

Janet Stancil pointed out what a special day this is for her church.

How many people, she asked, will be able to say, "I was there for the centennial"? A 100th anniversary is a rare and wonderful thing, one that has been well celebrated at First Baptist of Mount Pleasant.