MONROE COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – On Sunday a big celebration is being planned by a Hamilton church congregation that’s been worshiping at the same site for 150 years.
For members of Center Hill Baptist Church its a time of reflection, having started in 1863 with six faithful members, the congregation now numbers about 561 worshipers.
“I came here as a child, as a baby 83 years ago and I’m still here,” said Ellen Crump Uithoven, church member.
“The oldest member Mrs. Mary Smith 98 and a half. And make sure the half is there,” said Dean Honeycutt, Treasurer.Deacon.
“We didn’t have any air condition we would raise the windows up high, let in all that good air,” said Uithoven.
It is a reason to celebrate, air conditioning would not appear in homes and churches until the early 1900’s. At the old Center Hill Baptist, the faithful used fans like the ones they’ll pass out along with other memorabilia during their 150th anniversary.
“And afternoon singing under the shade tree, so that’s fond memories there. And we’ve got plates with the original building on it,” said Honeycutt.
“Had a lot of different buildings programs change in size and in layout. We’ve had a couple different kinds of buildings added with a gym and a family life building, a new educational building,” said Tommy Doughty, Jr., Minister of Music.
“Early 70’s the total budget was $20,000, our current budget is little over $250,000,” said Honeycutt.
The budget at the church is not the only thing that’s changed over a total of fifteen decades in one place. Modern technology like Facebook helps in keeping the faithful of the group informed and connected when not in their sanctuary. Makes one wonder what the first church pastor Franklin Finney would say if there for the weekend festivities.
“I don’t know what he’d say about the technology, but I’m sure he would love the fact that we were keeping people in the know and keeping people involved each week,” said Doughty.
Sunday’s service at Center Hill begins with fellowship at 9 am and the actual service is at ten.