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1859 - 2009

150 Years of Ministry

 

The following information was gleaned partly from a paper written by Lucy Pettus Miles and is not a verbatim transcription of that paper.  The paper is on record with the Washington Historical Museum in Washington, Missouri. 

In the early 1850's, families from this area desired someplace to worship other than their homes.  At a mass meeting of Religionists, the Roberts family, strong Baptists, gave one acre of land adjoining State Road (now Highway 100 and Old Highway 66), one and one-half miles west of Gray's Summit, where a log church building was erected in 1859.

Soon a need was felt for a bigger and better building, and a place of worship was erected on the same location, just in front of the log building.  Bricks were made on the site by hand, and many women carried bricks to the builders in their aprons.  The pews were also hand-made of white pine, large and comfortable.

Upon entering the building, male worshippers entered the sanctuary through a door on the right; women and children entered through a door on the left.  A partition the height of the backs of the pews ran all the way from the first pew to the back wall, separating the men from the women.  Since many of the settlers owned slaves, a balcony gallery was built in the rear of the church to provide them a place to worship.

In the northwest corner of this church property, the people built a parsonage, and a barn for housing the minister's horse, cow, feed, and buggy.  The Roberts family gave another acre of land, across State Road, for a school house.  The North family, strong Methodists, donated one acre of land adjacent to the church lawn for a cemetery.  These church buildings were used jointly by the Methodists and Baptists until 1867.  The Baptists had first and third Sundays and the Methodists second and fourth Sunday.  Everyone was welcome to all services. 

In September, 1859, Brush Creek Baptist Church was constituted by Rev. J. E. Mitchell, and became a part of the organized Association of Baptist Churches in Missouri.

Mr. William North died in December 1865.  In 1866 the Baptists visited Mr. North's widow, Aunt Nancy North, for the purpose of obtaining the full deed to the premises.  Thus Brush Creek Church became Brush Creek Baptist Church in 1867. 

The St. Louis Association minutes show one hundred members in 1872.  A mission church was established at Point Pleasant.  For a period of more than fifty years, the church carried on the Lord's work--conversion of the unsaved, sending Christian men and women out into the world to testify the glory of the saving grace of God, and preparing young men to answer the call to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The "good old days" weren't always so good.  Minutes of the church business meeting show years of struggles in many areas--especially with finances.  For example, the church was often hard-pressed to collect enough money to pay the pastor's salary.  In November 1900 the Finance Committee was authorized to collect $106 in unpaid pledges and pay the pastor in full. In October 1902, it was decided that if enough was pledged to pay for the pastor, the church would call the pastor for another year.

There was a practice of calling a pastor for only one year.  Minutes from March 1900 show Brother Ridgely was called as pastor.  December 1900 minutes say, "Our pastor's time having expired Sunday, Dec. 16, the church proceeded to call a pastor.  Bro. Ridgely was again unanimously called for three months.  The church is to vote again at the Feb. meeting for pastor for a full year."

In 1903 a committee was formed to build a new parsonage at the estimated cost of $880.00.

The minutes of May 1, 1904 show that Bro. Murch was again called unanimously for the next year--full time for $550, "and thus on the first Sunday in May, 1904, Brush Creek Church began having services every Sunday."

In 1919 the congregation decided to sell their church building and erect a new one in Gray  Summit on land purchased from Thomas Miles.  This building was destroyed by fire, and another building was erected in 1934.

In 1949 a modern six-room home was built for the pastor on land donated by Spencer and Ursula Groff.  The actual cost exceeded the estimate of $8,000.00, and more funds had to be raised to complete the building.  The new parsonage was dedicated on June 26, 1949.

In 1956 we left the St. Louis Association and asked for membership in the Franklin County Association.

In 1960-61 the present sanctuary was built.  On September 9, 1964, during the ministry of Rev. Michael McBride, Brush Creek Baptist Church changed its name to First Baptist Church of Gray Summit.

There have been seven men licensed to preach from this church, namely:  James Perdew in 1955, Paul Warren in 1957, Norman Miller in 1964, Kenneth Hull in 1972, James Shephard in 1975, Ron Daves in 1981, and B. W. Honeycutt in 1986.

On April 6, 1983 it was voted to organized Childcare Ministry & Kindergarten, and the Preschool was opened in the fall of 1983.

On April 17, 1983 a committee was formed to get bids for a multipurpose building at a cost of about $200,000.  The loan was finally paid off in 2006.  The building was home to the Gray Summit Christian School until it disbanded in the spring of 1995.  In September 1995, the Gray Summit Christian Preschool moved into the building.  Today, the multipurpose building houses the church office, preschool, and library, and is used for many functions such as Sunday School classes, family nights, youth gatherings, banquets, carnivals, wedding receptions and Association meetings.

A Note from the Pastor

With deepest gratitude to God we have celebrated the past 150 years.  Today, we acknowledge the responsibility to be a beacon of light and hope to a darkened and hurting world all around us.  Today we look to the future with excitement and resolve to be the church God intends for us to be.  We are the church, and God has a plan and purpose for us.  Thanks be to God.   

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

 

Calendar of Events

April 16 - Ladies from our church met with ladies from Gray Summit United Methodist Church to kick off our 150th celebration.  We went to the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis(which is also celebrating their 150th anniversary), and a great time was had by all enjoying God's beauty.

April 18 - The Journeymen quartet performed a gospel concert and a dessert reception was held afterward.

April 19 - The Pacific United Methodist Bell Choir under the direction of Mrs. Erin Deusinger performed two beautiful numbers in our morning service. 

                  Today we began collecting 150 cans for the Agape Food Pantry.

April 26-  Lori P. will give a "historical moment" during the morning service.

During the month of May we will be collecting 150 cans of food for the Agape Food Pantry.  We exceeded our goal!  189 cans were collected! 

May 2  -  The church will have a hay wagon float in Pacific's Founders' Day Parade.  Pacific is also celebrating its 150th anniversary.  We will dress in period costume, sing old hymns, and hand out candy and fliers.

May 7 -  The 150th Anniversary Committee will meet at 6:30.

May 10 - Janie P. will present a "history moment" in the morning service.

May 24 -Kristie R. will present a "history moment" in the morning service.

During the month of June we will be collecting 150 boxed food items for the Agape Food Pantry.  Again, we exceeded our goal.  151 boxes of food were collected.

June 7  - Preschool children to sang in morning service.

July -  Our missions goal was to collect 150 quilt squares for lap robes for Pacific Care Center.  We collected over 270 squares and made 30 lap quilts!  These will be displayed at our dinner on September 27.

August - During our Vacation Bible School, our missions goal is to collect $150 for water purifiers for missionaries.  An anonymous donor will match up to $150.  $300 will purchase a home water purifier and also a portable one. $325.70 was donated! 

September 20 - Sunday morning all-music service

September 27 - Grand Finale - Our Theme:  Find Us Faithful.  Wear old-fashioned clothes if you like.  No Sunday School.  Morning worship at 10:30 to be followed by a catered dinner at 12:15 and anniversary program at 1:15.  David Tolliver to preach and Trinity Trio to sing.  Past pastors and members will be invited to attend.  Souvenir mugs will be available for purchase, and souvenir bookmarks will be distributed. 

During our 150th year, our church continued with its missions emphasis.

October and November - WMU collected new toys for St. Clair Agape House.  225 Bottles of water and soda were collected for homeless veterans.  56 Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes were sent out.  30 "goodie bags" for international students were assembled.  World Hunger containers were distributed.

December - Our Lottie Moon offering goal is $1200.  Our church gave gifts for 23 Angel Tree children and their guardians, and is collecting non-perishable foods for Christmas baskets.  Various Sunday School classes also have their own missions such as Adopt-a-Family, gifts for Pacific Care Center residents, etc.