Archives and History Recognizes Churches That Are More Than 200 Years Old
John Wright, chairman of the Archives and History Commission for the Missouri Conference, opened the Archives and History breakfast with a word of thanks. “We are grateful for the churches that have endured,” he said. Director of Congregational Excellence Bob Farr was the keynote speaker for the event. He started by saying most churches find it to be a great achievement to reach the 100 year mark, but the churches gathered there that morning had done so twice.
Farr said it is important for churches to remember where they come from. He considers his own home church of Creighton, founded in the 1800s, earlier than most in that area. When the railroad came through, the church building was physically moved, on logs pulled by a team of 16 mules and horses, five miles so that it was better positioned to serve its community. The endeavor took months.
“When you look back in Missouri Methodist history you find real heroes,” Farr said. “They were braver than we are today. There are amazing stories about the things people would do to get churches started or keep them going as vital places of worship.”
Farr noted that the churches being recognized for being over 200 years old pre-date the formation of the Conference itself. It has only been 250 years since Rev. Francis Asbury has died.
“There is not much distance between Asbury and your church,” Farr said. “Some of your churches may still have the original letter from Asbury, sent telling someone to start the church where you are worshipping today.” Learn more about the amazing ministry of Francis Asbury at http://www.gcah.org/history/asbury.
Rev. Aubrey Jones was recognized as being the surviving clergy member of the Central Conference. He served 13 churches during his time as an active pastor and three churches during retirement. He also worked as a school teacher. Jones said he is sometimes asked how it feels to have been a pastor 50 years and a teacher for 55. He responds to the question with scripture. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you,” he said, citing Matthew 6: 33.
Rev. John Gooch was recognized for his service of being the editor of Toward The Setting Sun, the Missouri Archives and History publication, since 1982. Gooch is now passing that job on to Rev. David Hutchinson.