A longstanding Hurricane house of worship will observe its 175th anniversary with a special service Sunday, July 1.
According to the church’s website, the Mount Vernon Baptist Church was organized on July 1, 1843, “the Saturday before the first Sunday in July,” by two groups of Baptists from neighboring churches: 30 from the Mount Salem Baptist Church and 23 from the Union Baptist Church.
Mount Vernon Baptist Church Associate Pastor of Outreach and Discipleship David White said a committee began working on the 175th-anniversary service at the start of the year, with the day’s activities formalized and finalized in the past month or so.
“We started at the first of the year, since we knew this was coming,” he said.
“We’re sending out letters, inviting former pastors and associate pastors who have served the church in the past to come back, if they can. If not, we’ve asked them to send greetings,” White said. “Hopefully, that’ll happen.”
White said Mount Vernon Baptist has between 250 and 300 congregants each week, made up of longtime and new faces.
“We’ve pretty much maintained our congregations over the years. It’s a transitional area, this community. People come and go constantly. We have visitors about every Sunday. Some stick. Some leave. Others move away.”
He said Mount Vernon Baptist conducts two morning services each Sunday. The first, at 9:45 a.m., is a more contemporary service. The second, more traditional worship service begins at 11 a.m.
“They’re to accommodate the various interests and age groups,” White said.
The 175th-anniversary service will get underway at 10:30 a.m. with Mount Vernon Baptist Senior Pastor Ron McClung baptizing and preaching, followed by Monty’s Band and the Sanctuary Choir performing.
Mike Sisson, executive minister of the West Virginia Baptist Convention, will extend greetings to the congregation, and the secretary of the West Virginia Baptist Historical Society will present a certificate to the church for its landmark accomplishment. Former pastors in attendance will be greeted and recognized. A “Back to the Future” skit will be performed.
To preserve memories of the special occasion, everyone attending will receive a commemorative gift and a keepsake bulletin. Antique cars will be on display in the parking lot, including a vintage Bentley.
A group photograph of the attendees will be taken following the service, as well.
At 1 p.m., Cheerful Hearts will cater a buffet dinner, featuring baked steak and baked chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans and other items.
Located at 2150 Mount Vernon Road in Hurricane, Mount Vernon Baptist can be reached at 304-757-9110 or via the website, www.mvbaptistchurch.org