Church celebrates 100th anniversary

April 18, 1998|By LAURA ERNDE

by Richard T. Meagher / staff photographer

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Church 100 yrs

RINGGOLD - When Frances Bayer was a little girl, the men sat on one side of the church and the women sat on the other.

But Bayer always preferred sitting with her father.

"My mother always made me sit still. He wasn't so hard on me and he always had candy in his pocket," said Bayer, now 73.

All her life, Bayer has lived two doors away from the Ringgold Church of Christ, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this weekend.


On Saturday, about 100 parishioners gathered to reminisce and worship, starting off the services with the first hymn ever sung at the church, "All Hail the Power."

Bayer's grandparents, Lewis and Annie Barkdoll, donated the land where the original chapel was built for $1,131.87

In 1953, the congregation was outgrowing the small 35 by 50 foot chapel.

Since the church didn't have any more land to build on, the congregation started digging. They built a basement and added a kitchen and new restrooms.

In 1975, the new sanctuary was built with a capacity of 375. It was remodeled in 1981.

But it isn't the building, but the people who have made the church a place where area families have wanted to come every Sunday, members said.

"We never asked on Sunday, 'Are we going to church?' It was just part of my life," said Betty Herbst.

Charlotte Muritz said she and her husband, Phil, came to church services there one September 23 years ago and liked what they heard.

"The message is right from the Bible," she said.

The Muritzes have been back every Sunday since bringing their three children, who are now grown.

"You just feel part of the family the moment you walk in the door," said Richard Daughtridge, associate pastor, who will be ordained at the church this morning.

The church had 468 people for Easter services, Daughtridge said.

If the congregation continues to grow, the church will have to add a third service, he said.

On Saturday, church members browsed a collection of pictures and memorabilia from over the years in the original sanctuary with wooden floors and stamped tin ceiling.

Several former pastors came to join in the anniversary celebration.

Among them was Jerry Timbrook, who told humorous stories about his days as a student pastor there in 1965. He told the congregation he got paid $52.50 a week from the offering.

"There were a lot of dollar givers. I felt rich going home that night," he said.

Timbrook became the church's first full-time minister in 1968.

The church began as a union of six denominations who wanted to build a Sunday School for their children - Old Order of Brethren, Mennonite, Lutheran, German Baptist, German Reformed and Church of Christ.

In 1901, the German Baptist brethren withdrew because they objected to a raised pulpit.

By 1904, the church was comprised of only the Brethren and Church of Christ congregations whose ministers alternated Sundays.

Eventually, Welty Church of the Brethren took most of those members. Church of the Brethren conducted its last service there on Aug. 22, 1971.

Pastor Don Conley said he is looking toward to the next 100 years with the slogan "R.C.C. - Ready to Serve Christ and the Community."

"All this was started 100 years ago with a dream. Our forefathers stepped out on faith. They passed the baton onto us," Conley said.

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