BELOIT- A local church is celebrating a milestone in praising God and sharing His word.
Community Bible Church, located at 18146 U.S. Route 62 in Westville, is marking its 150th anniversary this weekend with a carnival and wiener roast for church families at 2 p.m. Saturday and a special extended worship service at 10:30 a.m. Sunday.
Focusing on God's word and his faithfulness to the church family the past 150 years, the worship service will feature a video presentation and brief review by Pastor Rod Doran of the church's history, a presentation of a commemorative plaque engraved with the names of all the church pastors, special music from a former member and recognition of long-standing members. Small mementoes will be given to each in attendance. Dinner will follow services on Sunday.
Members of the Community Bible Church’s Anniversary Committee look over old photographs during a committee meeting. The church, located at 18146 U.S. Route 62 in Westville, is celebrating its 150th anniversary this weekend with carnival and wiener roast for church families at 2 p.m. Saturday and an extended worship service marking the occasion at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. From left, Barb Suter, Youth Director Aaron Walker, Eileen Doran, Pastor Rod Doran, Lynette Israel and Jan Zielke. Not pictured are committee members Sarah Walker and Larry Zielke. (Salem News photo by Kevin Howell)
Citing the nondenominational church's commitment to teaching scripture, Doran attributed its longevity to a strong faith in God.
"We believe the focus should be on the scripture," he said. "Teaching the Word is held in high esteem here."
"It's God's word that brings us together," agreed Youth Director Aaron Walker.
History: Although the church officially organized in 1862 as the Bible Christian Church, community members had been holding gospel meetings since 1834 at various locations in the community including the Red Hotel, residential homes, a chair factory, a wagon shop and an old school house. The first building was constructed in 1867 near where the current church sits.
The current sanctuary was completed in 1961 and a fellowship hall was added in 1977. A growing congregation required an expansion in 2003, including further seating in the sanctuary, a larger fellowship hall and first-floor restrooms and office space.
Also previously known as the Westville Congregational Christian Church, the church averages between 175 and 200 worshipers each week, with the oldest member having attended for almost 80 years.
Missions: The church supports more than 10 missionaries, both locally and globally, and offers a variety of ministries at home, including groups for children, teens and senior citizens, Sunday School for all ages, adult and children's choirs and an annual Vacation Bible School. The church also holds a men's prayer breakfast each month and is one of the few remaining that offer Wednesday evening Bible study. A significant portion of the church's proceeds go toward the mission field.
"I really believe in [missions]," Doran said. "That's a key focus here, one of the main reasons we are here."
Services: The church offers a Sunday morning worship service at 10:30 a.m., with Sunday School at 9:15 a.m. and evening service at 7 p.m. There is also a Bible study and prayer service at 7 p.m. Wednesday night.
Past sermons are available online at www.thecommunitybiblechurch.org.