BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. – Simpson Creek Baptist Church is celebrating 250 years of being around and using its annual block party to celebrate the event.
Dozens of congregants gathered in the morning for a church service and celebration of the anniversary. Then, at 5 p.m., the block party kicked off. Joshua Sowards, pastor of children’s and Christian education ministries said the party is an opportunity for the church to do outreach while celebrating the congregation.
“We look forward every year to the end of summer and the very beginning of school, and so we get a lot of inflatables everybody in the community is welcome to come to it,” Sowards said.
By everyone, Sowards meant the entire community.
“Yep, it is open to everyone,” he said. “We, in fact, encourage the community to come and get involved because that’s where they can meet people within our church body. It’s where they find out again what’s going on in the fall for our Sunday school programs, or Wednesday night bible studies. And of course, our services each Sunday, so we want the community to be here. And there is free food, so there will be hot dogs, there will be popcorn, some fruits and veggies. That’ll be out for everybody to enjoy.”
Being able to have a face-to-face gathering, Sowards said was terrific, especially because the pandemic has forced people to primarily see each other through screens.
Although the technology is great and has greatly helped everyone during the pandemic, “it will never replace being able to do face-to-face meetings.
“We’re excited to get to do stuff like that,” Sowards said. “And, we’re excited to be able to share with the community that we’re here for them and we and we love them and we want to be able to serve.”
In the church’s 250 year history, Sowards said, it has served the community and even managed to branch out into multiple other congregations.
“It’s exciting that there is a story about the faithfulness of the congregation, and I think that one of the best parts about it is 10 other congregations have been started by this church,” Sowards said. “And so, that speaks loudly for what the mission of this congregation has been, that it could stay united enough that it would be able to send offspring to another part of the community and start other churches, rather than just, ‘hey, we’ve got a bunch of divisions, and so I’ll go do my thing, and you can do your thing;’. There are not as many stories about that as there are we have sent people rather than people just leaving.”