What a day at Harmony Grove
|Minister Dr. Roger M. Collier (with white hat) of Harmony Grove Baptist Church welcomes circuit rider Rev. Edward Harrow Sr. Both participated in the church’s 150th anniversary celebration on Sunday. Driving the carriage is Ronnie Blevins. (Photo by Larry Chowning)|
by Betty Kennon
Over 400 people gathered to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Harmony Grove Baptist Church last Sunday. Before 10 a.m., the parking lot was almost full of those who waited patiently to see Brownie Blevins at the reins of “Lisa” bringing Pastor Roger Collier and his wife Sarah, who were dressed in period clothing, to the church for the worship service. Pastor Terry Sharpe accompanied them in the carriage.
Pastor Edward Harrow Sr. then arrived on his steed and announced that he was “ready for the service to begin.” Photos were taken and the four pastors enjoyed greeting members and friends who had come from far and wide for the celebration.
As everyone moved inside the church, they signed the guest book provided by the Hospitality Team, whose members were dressed in costumes and/or long skirts.
The sanctuary became full as everyone anticipated the events of the day. Chairs were placed in the aisles, and even the balcony provided extra seating for the overflow crowd.
The Chancel Choir opened the service, and Pastor Collier made the Call to Worship. Rev. collier recognized members related to the charter members, followed by those who had been members for 50 years and over, as well as just the past 5 years.
The Harmony Ringers bell choir performed, and Pastor Collier recognized two of special guests, Dr. Robert May from the Mid-Tidewater Association, and Dr. Fred Anderson, historian and keeper of old documents for the church on behalf of Virginia Baptists.
Representatives from “kin” churches to Harmony Grove either presented gifts and/or wishes. These churches included Zoar, Hermitage, Glebe Landing, Urbanna, First Baptist Harmony Village, Grafton, Saluda and Friendship.
Letters were read from Rev.John Upton, executive director of Virginia Baptists, and from Mrs. Lauder, the wife of a deceased pastor.
Other special guests having a part in the service as well as telling stories of their fond memories were former Harmony Grove pastors Dave Pouchot, Dennis Tucker and Chet Smith.
Children’s groups performed, and the 150th Anniversary Team, comprised of Myrtle Faulkner, Nancy Morton, David Taylor, Delores Miller, Woodson Armstead and Pastor Roger Collier, were recognized and thanked.
The message was brought by Pastor Sharpe and current pastor Roger Collier. They talked about our heritage and the past as well as our hope and what we need to do in order to have a great future for our church. The benediction was given by past interim pastor Edward Harrow Sr.
A luncheon followed on tables inside and outside the church decorated in red, white and blue by the Decorations Team.
An oak tree was planted, and the time capsule was filled with items of the past and present for future opening in 25 or 50 years.