The drive along Highway 5 on an autumn Sunday morning will have you glancing occasionally at the lovely changing colours of the trees that line the roads.
And then some kilometres later, you’re met with a beautiful red-brick building, with words and numbers above the front arched doorway that read “1824 Baptist Church 1911”.
The year 1824 represents when the first foundation of St. George Baptist Church was laid. The year 1911 represents when their old church building was burned down by fire, on February 17. But that very same year, on August 22, they laid down the cornerstone for their new (and present) building.
The downs and ups of 1911 can certainly reflect the general life and journey of a church going through different seasons. St. George Baptist Church has persisted through these seasons to reach 199 years!
I had the privilege to worship with the members of St. George for their anniversary. It was an intimate service with classic hymns, an encouraging and hopeful exhortation from God’s word, and an observance of the Lord’s Supper. Nothing fancy, just faithful.
And for a church that has been around for 199 years, faithful is a fitting word. A gaze around the sanctuary will give you a glimpse of the ministry that has taken place over the years: old photos of members and leaders that line the walls, stained glass that honours loved ones, a frame that recognizes members that have fought in the world wars, and so much more.
Speaking with a member after the service, I asked, “What does the next year look like for St. George?” And she simply said, “It will be a celebration.” A celebration of God’s faithfulness and all He has done for almost two centuries. While that would be an incredible milestone in itself, 199 years is not to be overlooked. It should be celebrated and honoured just as much as any other year. And the service did just that.
As always, we look to God with hope and anticipation for whatever is next on our journeys, and so too will we for St. George Baptist Church.
“We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labour prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3