Lincoln church celebrates 118 years

April 21, 2004|EMILY BURTON

BONEYVILLE - Its walls have born witness to whispered prayer and joyful noise, thin wallets and overflowing pews. The steeple bell bespoke storms coming and friends passing. But Boneyville Baptist Church is more than its four walls and pulpit. The church has become a familiar presence in the middle of a tight-knit community, a well-loved relative that always welcomes callers and doesn't let old age stop them from celebrating.

At Boneyville Baptist Church, 118 is not too old to throw a good party.

Members of the Boneyville congregation will gather Saturday night in their finest to collectively celebrate their birthdays through gifts, good food and great music.

"It's a celebration of life," said mistress of ceremonies, Sara Givens. "They can enjoy themselves without the stress. I think everybody needs a break from the norm."

This particular parting from reality will sparkle, said Givens.

"It's a formal affair. That's another reason why people are so excited. Because, being in a small area, they don't always get the chance to dress up for Jesus."


Among a style show and door prizes, the community will gather in fellowship for choir songs and catching up. The church has always been good at keeping the generations connected, said Stanford Mayor Eddie Carter, who will present the congregation with a memorial plaque at the banquet.

"The church is your heritage. It's the most important investment in the community," said Carter.

Not a bad return on $15 investment

Not a bad return on a $15 investment, the first recorded price for the church lot, purchased in the early 1890s. The hand-hewed log walls have since grown to become the backbone of the community, said Carter.

"It's always been a focal point for everyone," agreed Givens.

The church also has been a gathering place for history, said Luzia Foster, member of the Lincoln County Historical Society board of directors.

"People need to know where they come from, to know where they're going to," said Foster, and church records play a large part in illustrating that path. "We've got to maintain our history, and churches have a wealth of information."

Elder Robert Coulter Jr. sees another value in the church, one of benevolence and outreach.

"It stretches out and gives help to people in need," said Coulter. "We have a lot of spiritual people."

A spirited congregation, Givens said, that is dressed and ready to celebrate its blessings. "We want to celebrate life, because every moment is precious to us."

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