Laurel River’s mother church celebrates 200 years

Originally published at Western Recorder –

London—Providence Baptist Church, the birthplace of the Laurel River Baptist Association, is celebrating its 200th anniversary.

Their first service was held in November 1815. The church held a celebration around its 200th anniversary date where Luke Day, a Corbin pastor whose father was a former pastor of Providence, spoke, and they had dinner on the grounds.

The church has continued its celebration throughout 2016. They held a “May Day” service, honoring the tradition. Laurel River Baptist Association’s director of missions, Roy Faulkner, presented a history of Providence. Those who wanted to participate had a foot-washing service, and they held another dinner on the grounds.

The regular homecoming service is planned for September, and Providence is acknowledging its milestone in various ways, including packing 200 Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes for Samaritan’s Purse during the Christmas season.

Since their beginning in 1815, the congregation has seen more than 1,000 baptisms and given in excess of $1 million to missions.

“Providence Baptist Church is the mother church of our association,” Faulkner said. “The association was organized there in 1831.

“Over the years they have grown and been blessed and been one of the great leaders in this area in missions’ outreach and community service,” Faulkner said.

“They have a long and rich history since their establishment in 1815 and our association grew out of that. We have a great relationship still through all these years,” he added.

Providence has members who have been on the membership role for seven or so decades. Maxine Rudder has been a member since 1944. “I just think it is one of the best churches around,” she shared.

When asked what her favorite memory was at Providence, she said, “The best thing is when I saw my three children saved at the church.”

Today, she and 14 family members take up an entire pew each Sunday. Six of her grandchildren also made professions of faith there.”

“Our goal is to continue on trying to be a light to the community. We want to see souls saved, of course, for Jesus Christ, and be the salt and the light as the Lord has called us to be,” David Thomas, Providence’s pastor since 2005, said.

Thomas added, “Our vision is to be active in the community, outside of the walls of our church and make an impact on the area around us for Jesus Christ.”

“The Lord has blessed us for 200 years and as long as the Lord allows us to tarry, we will just continue doing His work,” he concluded. (WR)