MUSCATINE, Iowa—Fruitland Baptist Church celebrated its 50th anniversary.

“It started simply enough in 1957,” begins the Muscatine Journal’s article “It’s been a fruitful 50 years.” “Zelpha Hansford was a teenager then, joining her parents and neighbors in Sunday morning worship in a humble sweet potato shed in the small town of Fruitland.”

Walnut Street Baptist Church in Muscatine helped the new church thrive until LaVerne Hubbard arrived as the first pastor in 1963. The sweet potato shed was eventually torn down, and a church building was constructed in 1970. Hubbard remained as pastor until his death in 1991.

John Brown is now pastor. “This church has a dynamic past,” he says, “and we pray for a dynamic future.”

Special events June 1 and 2 marked the church’s 50 years. The public joined the congregation to enjoy games and a dunk tank; praise and worship, with music from an alumni choir; testimonies from current and charter members; and a slideshow of the church’s history, featuring photos from the late 1950s through the present.