The Foley Baptist Church celebrated its 125th anniversary on Sunday, June 9, with a full congregation and a day of remembering.
The festivities began with a worship service at 10:30. Generations of patrons were recognized with five generations being the most represented. The old pulpit, flags, and pastor’s chair were used during the ceremony. Costumes were worn and most women wore hats.
A poem was composed and read by Viola Bromwich and special music was sung by Louis Berry. Prizes were given to those who had come the farthest, were the youngest member, the youngest attending, the oldest member and the oldest attending. A trip down “Memory Lane” was also entertaining.
A bountiful meal was enjoyed by all and eaten under tents. A special placemat was designed with history, mission statement, church pictures and church activities. Afterwards attendees could browse the exhibits of antique items that were used over the past 125 years, watch videos of the church during the 1993 flood, play the games consisting of identifying antiques and matching people to their baby pictures. The children of the church had researched the past Baptist historical figures and these were also on display. A time line from 1888-2013 with events under each year was posted and underneath was a place for participants to write in their own time line. A power point picture presentation of church activities, historical pictures, VBS pictures, military members, etc., were shown in the auditorium. Guests could pick up a copy of the church cookbook and a fan, as well as a copy of the history of Foley and of the church.
Before the afternoon ceremony began there was a costume contest with people dressing in period clothing. Prizes were also given to those with the longest beards. A tree planting ceremony was prepared by the deacons and a time capsule was displayed. A layered birthday cake was prepared by Margie Colbert.
The 125th celebration, which began at 2 p.m. included Darryl Briscoe singing a song he composed for the 100th celebration, providing special music, and reading a condensed history of the church. Darryl was the director of the 100th year celebration) This history included the fire of 1932, the floods, and vandalism where thieves actually made a hole into the church but took nothing. Guests were recognized who were past members of the church and they traveled from Oklahoma, Texas, and Alabama, as well as from Missouri. Past ministers and staff each spoke and they included: Richard Turnbull (who had preached at Foley for over 30 years), Dan Ballieu, Michael Kennedy, and James Lee. Letters were read from a past minister’s wife, Beverly Armitstead, whose husband Col. John Armitstead had died of cancer and from a past member who was age 4 in 1932, and could remember the original church building burning. The Associational Missionary Brent Campbell also spoke. Pictures of Rev. Jess East and Rev. George Hoech were displayed.
A memorial plaque and a Founding Fathers plaque were made and hung in the foyer. A framed certificate from the Baptist Historical Society was also displayed. The day was a great success and enjoyed by all. The church has survived a fire, many floods and extensive damage from vandals but the Spirit of the Lord has never wavered. The current pastor is Rev. David Klee.