Posted on October 21st, 2011
On Sunday, October 16, 2011, Farmville Baptist Church celebrated it’s 175th Anniversary.
The morning began with a fellowship breakfast in the Fellowship Hall.
The service was filled with special music. The Sanctuary and Children’s Choirs sang “We Are the Children of Promise.” Lori Davis returned to sing the solo “The King of Love My Shepherd Is.” Peggy Cave (Founder and Choir Director, 1971-1979) directed our bell choir during the Offertory. And Pam McDermott (Former Music Director, 1999-2002) directed our Sanctuary Choir in singing “O Breath of God” as our Choral Benediction.
Special guests in attendance included:
Rev. Les Giles (former Pastor, 1970-1975) and his wife Joanne.
Rev. Charles Miller (former Associate Pastor, 1986-1988)
Evelyn McCluney, (former Office Manager, 1986-2007)
Pam McDermott (former Music Director, 1999-2002)
Dennis Myers, representing the Southside Baptist Association
Rev. Don Campbell, representing the Virginia Baptist Mission Board
Jennifer Clore, representing the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, national and state
After the service, the congregation enjoyed a pot-luck luncheon organized by Penny Huskey and our Social Committee. The food over overflowing and Linda Saxtan decorated an amazing Farmville Baptist cake. Everyone had a great time eating in the Fellowship Hall and outside under a couple of tents. The weather could not have been better . . . sunny and in the mid 70′s.
At around 1 p.m., we started our anniversary program. First, we declared Adna Yeatts, Doris Weaver & Linda Saxtan, Gail Cave, Christopher Barnett, Matt Fuller to be the winners of our hat and tie contest.
Then the following came forward and gave words of greetings and congratulations on behalf of their churches and ministries:
Rev. Betty Jones, Pastor, Apostolic Faith Church of All Nations
Rev. Dr. Kitty Smith, Pastor, Oak Grove Baptist Church
Rev. Sylvia Meadows, Pastor, Farmville United Methodist Church
Rev. Derrell Wade, Pastor, Beulah African Methodist Episcopal Church
Rev. Dr. David Keck, Pastor, College Presbyterian Church
Rev. Chris Cunningham, Rector, Johns Memorial Episcopal Church
Rev. Cheri Wise, Minister, Baptist Collegiate Ministries, Longwood & Hampden-Sydney
Afterwards, a anniversary video was shown to close out the program. Many thanks to Jay Lynn, Executive Director of Creative Change Consulting, for conducting the interviews.
Messages from Former Ministers
From Rev. Jason Thrower (former Pastor, 1997-2004):
Dear members of Farmville Baptist Church,
Wow! 175 years of faithfully worshiping and serving Christ! On this important anniversary, know I am rejoicing with you. As a former pastor of Farmville Baptist, this great family of faith, I am grateful to have played a small part in your history. I have fond memories of serving FBC. FBC has a proud history and tradition of being a light for Christ for your community. A church on mission. Continue to alert the people to the cosmic reign of God!
From Dave Ramsey (former Pastor, 1993-1996):
To the members of Farmville Baptist Church:
Congratulations on your 175th Anniversary Celebration!
Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the homecoming event later this month. Terri and I, along with our daughters Blair (13) and Sarah (9), send our very best wishes for a glorious day filled with food, fellowship, laughter, memories and, above all, love.
From Rev. Dr. Bill Wilson (former Pastor, 1987-1992):
Dear Farmville Baptist Church family,
Congratulations on this momentous milestone in your remarkable history!
I count it as a great honor to be among those who have had the privilege of serving you as one of your ministers. Those five years (1987-1992) were pivotal ones for me and for my family. You were such a gracious, generous, and supportive congregation to us. You allowed me to learn to pastor “on the job”, you helped us raise our children, you blessed us with your affection, and you accepted the challenge of God’s call and dream as a people. We did some amazing things and had such a memorable time. Our family was forever blessed by you and by our time among you. When we speak of you, a smile always breaks across our face and we hold fond memories of those special days among you.
Thank you for continuing your witness into the future. Thank you for helping bring God’s kingdom into reality among the people of Prince Edward County. Thank you for the many wonderful ways you impact children, students and adults in the name of Christ. Thank you for being you.
I celebrate with you this day. Kathy and I regret that we cannot be physically present, but please know that we are with you in spirit and hold you in deep affection this day and always.
From Rev. Everette Chapman (former Pastor, 1967-1969):
Dear Dr. Cheuk:
Thank you for your gracious invitation to attend the 175th Anniversary celebration at Farmville Baptist Church. I am sure all of you are very excited about it; I am too.
I have many wonderful memories of my brief ministry there during some of the truly-exciting years of ministry to town and gown. So very many of those faces no longer appear in the congregation on Sundays there, having joined the Church above. I recall them with tenderness and joy. Many of your church leaders now were youngsters when I was there. I even coached Gene Watson as a junior varsity basketball player at Prince Edward Academy. He was the best defensive player we had.
As happy as my memories are and as wonderful as it would be to see youngsters grown into leadership roles, I must regretfully decline your kindness. We will not be able to be there in person, but our thoughts and prayers will surround all of you on that day.
On October 16, please convey my lasting love and deepest gratitude to the family of faith there and express to them my profound regrets at not being able to join the festivities on that wonderful occasion.
Peace, love, and joy,
Everette H. Chapman
From Rev. Susan Joyce (Associate Pastor, 1999-2005):
Dear Farmville Baptist Family,
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and best wishes on this celebration of your 175th anniversary. While I was a student at BTSR I had the privilege of doing a project on the history of Farmville Baptist for my Baptist Tradition class. Yours is a rich heritage, and your foundation is strong. The spirit of revival and awakening is what started Farmville Baptist, and that spirit continues today. You were leaders in the movement that saw the discrepancies in the Southern Baptist Convention and sought to form a more unified and inclusive organization, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, that upheld the fundamental Baptist traditions of the priesthood of the believer, soul freedom, separation of church and state, and of the Bible as the living and breathing and fluid word of God. Because you stood firm on those principles you were willing to accept the fact that God can and does call women to gospel ministry, and were willing to affirm that calling in me. I will always be grateful for your support and encouragement in giving me the opportunity to live out my calling in tangible ways. Yours were not empty words, but rather words backed by action. I am grateful to Dr. Thrower, and to his mentor, Dr. Molly Marshall, who impressed upon Jason as a young student at Southern Seminary the urgency and necessity of recognizing and supporting the call of women. Dr. Thrower embraced Molly’s words as his own, and his actions in leading you to call me are a testimony to his willingness to stand behind his beliefs.
We had some good times. There were hayrides with scary youth who popped out behind the trees. There were Christmas caroling and bus rides and trips to Passport. There were wonderful choir events and children’s choir musicals. There were times at the pulpit when the only things that weren’t shaking were my fingers that grasped the pulpit so tightly that my knuckles were white. There were births and baby dedications and graduations and all the celebrations of life.
And we had some sad times, too. I have two large binders full of funeral services. Each one was hard. Each time it was like losing family. And I was.
But whether they were good times or sad times, there was something I could always count on – FOOD! Lots of it. Good food, too. Except the time that I brought a chocolate chess pie to a meal. Fortunately “the Ruths” of the kitchen – Ruth Patteson and Ruth Ferguson – thought it looked so good they had to taste it. Boy, am I glad they did. And in true Southern graciousness, Ruth came quietly to me in the midst of a Sunday School class and whispered, “I think you forgot the sugar!” I took the pie home later, emptied into a pan, added sugar, recooked it, and it was delicious. Redemption. I believe it is the thing that we all hope for and long for, and that is why the message of Jesus Christ that you preach by your lives and by your service is so important.
I have so many fond memories of you. I will always be grateful for the way that you embraced my teen-aged sons and all the ways in which they expressed themselves growing up. I’ll never forget when Peyton showed up with a bright red mohawk. I watched the glances as he entered the church and took his usual seat in front of Chuck Daniel. As I stepped up to the pulpit, I could see Chuck straining to the left and then to the right, trying to reclaim his view. I half expected him to part Peyton’s hair right down the middle so he could see. (And by the way, on my desk in my office is a picture of Chuck in an angel costume and Ethel Southall in a pumpkin outfit. It doesn’t get any better than that!)
Chris and I send our deepest regrets that we are not able to be with you in person. But we send our heart-felt appreciation and love to each of you.
From Rev. Dr. Charles Stewart (former Associate Pastor, 1991-1994):
Thanks so much for the invitation to participate in the October 16 anniversary service at FBC. I wish we could make it, but we have other obligations for that weekend that prevent us from making the trip. Farmville Baptist was a good church home to us when Amy and I were starting out in both our married and ministerial life together. We have many fond memories of the people and ministry we shared together from those days. Indeed, I reflected in a recent newsletter article here about my ordination by FBC in the spring of 1992. The church will always hold a special place in my heart.
Please pass along my regrets for not being able to attend. We will rejoice with you all from afar, though.
You have my best wishes for every success and joy as you continue in your ministry among the good people at FBC.
Charles D. Stewart