TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WAWV/WTWO) – A local church celebrated two centuries in the Wabash Valley.
Union Baptist Church first began in 1822 by a local family and was the first church in Pierson Township and the second in Vigo County. Four generations and six buildings later, the church still stands on East Harlen Drive.
The community congregated for a dignitary breakfast to celebrate the anniversary on Saturday.
State, city, and county officials joined the community of Union Baptist Church to recognize a long history of outreach and fellowship.
Many certificates of appreciation were awarded to the church during their celebratory breakfast.
Mayor Duke Bennett said it’s encouraging to see the church celebrate this milestone.
“Churches are such an important backbone in our community and to be around this long and served so many families,” Bennett said. “It’s just really heartwarming to see.”
Even with such a long history behind the congregation, Pastor Rod Maris was the first to serve in the role full-time.
Maris was also recognized with a certificate.
“To be here and to serve the people here in this church and serve this area it’s just an honor,” Maris said.
After, breakfast the community had the opportunity to see the church’s history. Timelines and member recognitions were among some of the many displays in the lobby.
Church Historian, BJ Campbell, said many generations of members are still here in the community.
“We have three families that have four generations here in the church still,” Campbell said.
Richard Cooper has been with the church for 22 years and said it’s been amazing to see how much the congregation has grown.
“20% of offerings go to the mission outreach which is phenomenal and the church is debt free which is phenomenal,” Cooper said. “It’s a sign for me from the lord that we are doing the right thing.”
Cooper said the church plans to bury a time capsule with history from the past two hundred years next month.
“200 years from now if the lord doesn’t return people will dig it up and they’ll say so that’s what happened 200 years ago,” Cooper said.
The church invites the public to continue the Celebration Sunday, July 17th at 9:30 a.m. for coffee and donuts, as well as worship at 10:30 a.m.