Events started with a Friday night dinner. The congregation honored Bill Gilmour and Mary Baker, members for 75 years (and still serving strong!), and Rev G. Ben Reed, the longest tenured pastor of First Baptist. Attendees also enjoyed a concert by the Merrill Evangelistic Team; viewed memorabilia, photographs, and church records displayed in the lobby; and saw a slide presentation highlighting photos from the church’s history.
Sunday School provided a time of reflection as Pastor Dave Burman Jr. read the history of the church, including reminders of blessings, such as when 300 new members were added during the three years in which Robert Ketcham was pastor.
The morning and afternoon services were also filled with testimonies and words of thanks from missionaries the church supports—some since the very beginning of their ministries. Through videos, letters, and personal visits, missionaries thanked the church for its commitment to supporting the spread of the gospel throughout its many years. The choir sang a powerful song of remembrance as a visual history of the church played on the screen.
John Greening, GARBC national representative, was the guest speaker, providing two challenges and reminders from the Word. He urged the church family to consider the “volumes” in the history of the church and the reminders from the prayer of Moses in Psalm 90.
As part of the church’s focus on looking forward, the Lord provided $25,000 through the generous giving of his people to start a building renovation project.
Burman notes, “What made this weekend so special was the opportunity to be powerfully reminded not only of what the Lord has done, but what He is doing, and going to do, including His leading through the updating of these facilities to better reach this community with the Word. As we are commanded in Matthew 5:16, this church has sought to proclaim and shine the light of the gospel before men, ‘that they may see [our] good works, and glorify [our] Father which is in heaven.’ That is what we want. We want God to get the glory for all He has done, including richly and generationally blessing this faithful congregation in Niles, Ohio.”