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Months of planning, cleaning, repainting, and general repairs came to fruition Sunday for Chatfield United Methodist Church, when it celebrated 150 years of worship and serving God.
A church dedicated to serving its community, it has been a launching pad of sorts for many a young Methodist minister completing theological seminary through the years. Several former pastors returned Sept. 23 to pay honor to the little church where they got their “pastoral feet” wet.
“Rev. Don Johnson, pastor at the 100th celebration in 1962, was present along with his wife,” said Rev. Bruce Carpenter, interim pastor.
“Saturday night we were up there (at the church) getting out extra chairs. We were concerned the sanctuary wouldn’t accommodate everyone. We thought it would hold about 90 people. Ron Turner, husband of Rev. Arlene Turner, the pastor before me, said he believed it would hold 140 people.
“On Sunday morning, when the person who counts the attendance put it on the board — it was 140. We all laughed at the irony of that. He had it exactly, and that’s exactly how many were present.”
Carpenter also noted that the 140 total included the children who assembled in the Fellowship Hall to observe their own worship time, which included puppets and balloon animals.
“Our Bishop Mike Lowry preached an amazing evangelistic sermon, and John Ellington prepared a fantastic barbecue brisket meal,” Carpenter said. “It was a real joyful, successful day. Several former pastor spoke during the luncheon, including Rev. Cleon Flanagan, Rev. Johnson, Rev. Don Goodwin, Rev. Stephen Schmidt, there was even a text from Rev. Virginia Bassford, who was unable to be there.”
In addition to the inspirational message from Bishop Lowry, Carpenter also commended the vocal contributions of Natalie Cates, Merry Creager, Nancy Sykes and Stephanie Weaver. Weaver also served as chairman for the 150th Celebration Committee.
A portion of the offering went to the Navarro County Food Pantry, and non-perishable donations were collected at the Community Center, where the crowd reached maximum capacity for the building, with people stopping by after services at other churches. The Community Center was the site for many historical documents, photographs and items of historical significance to the church, and were displayed for all to see.
“We have a lot still to do, but don’t have that looming deadline now,” Carpenter said following the celebration. “We worked through a lot of heat trying to finish much of the sprucing up project. We’ve accomplished so much that it seems manageable now.
“In the coming months, I believe we’ll continue to make the improvements we want to make.”
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