Church celebrates 120th anniversary
GRAVETTE – Members of the First Christian Church in Gravette hosted an anniversary celebration Saturday, Sept. 29, to commemorate the church’s 120th year in existence. About 60 guests attended the special celebration.
The celebration began in the sanctuary of the church where pastor Donald Miller greeted guests and thanked them for coming. John Mitchael, a church board member, then welcomed everyone and spoke about the blessings the church had experienced during its existence. Bob Kelley, another board member, gave a brief history of the church, telling how, in the spring of 1898, “after counting the cost,” members began building the structure with lumber hauled by wagon from 10 miles away. The building was completed, except for the seats, in September 1898, at a cost of $400. Kelley pointed out that the native walnut pews in the sanctuary are the original pews built by early church members.
John Mitchael then returned to the pulpit and introduced Gravette mayor Kurt Maddox, who presented pastor Miller with a proclamation. The proclamation read, “Whereas, the First Christian Church of Gravette, Arkansas, was organized in 1898; and whereas, the First Christian Church has been a cornerstone of the community for 120 years; and whereas the First Christian Church of Gravette has served the community through outreach and mission projects; and whereas, the First Christian Church of Gravette includes a community of concerned, caring and selfless citizens; and whereas, the First Christian Church of Gravette deserves recognition for the contributions they have made and will continue to make to our community, our State and our Nation; and whereas, we deeply appreciate the church and its congregation’s dedication to the city of Gravette and its residents over the past 120 years; now, therefore, I, Kurt Maddox, as mayor of the city of Gravette, do hereby proclaim the importance of the invaluable contribution to the community made by the First Christian Church of Gravette over the past 120 years.”
Several members and former members of the church and a former youth pastor and his family attended the celebration, as well as Sandra Abernathy, widow of Bill Abernathy, who pastored the church from 2001 to 2006; Beverly Gibson, widow of Mike Gibson, another former pastor; and Gibson’s grandchildren.
After the short ceremony and several photos, guests moved to the fellowship hall where they were served cake, nuts and cold beverages and enjoyed a time of fellowship.
Bob Kelley, board member at Gravette First Christian Church, gives a brief history of the church at the 120thanniversary celebration Sept. 29. Kelley said members began building in spring 1898, and the structure was completed in September 1898, at a cost of $400.