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It was an exciting and special day for Glenwood Heights Baptist Church.
On Sept. 28, members, former members, pastors and staff and family and friends reunited for the church's 60th anniversary.
The Rev. Steve Neal welcomed everyone and recognized 13 charter members. He asked for a moment of silence for those who had died.
Music by the Future, the children of Glenwood Heights, sang "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands."
Other music was performed by the Glenwood Heights choir and their trio, Bonnie Stacks, Joan Hinson and Nancy Williams. Special guest singer was Janet Ford Bobo, who sang "A Mighty Fortress Medley" and "The Lord's Prayer."
Betty Jean Adams Ethridge read the history of the church.
Glenwood Heights Baptist started as a small mission church when First Baptist Church of Lancaster became aware of the need for a church in the Glenwood Avenue in east Lancaster. In 1941, First Baptist bought a lot at Glenwood Avenue and Marion Street, and Glenwood Annex Mission was erected.
By the end of 1942, Glenwood Annex Mission began to pay Pastor D. M. Rivers of First Baptist a salary of $25 per month. Following his resignation, the Rev. James F. Burriss accepted the call and served as full-time pastor of First Baptist and part-time pastor of Glenwood Annex Mission. He served from 1943-1949. In October 1947, Glenwood Annex requested to relocate and become an organized church. In 1948, the church bought an acre of land on Nichols Road.
On Sept. 26, 1948, 101 charter members laid the cornerstone of their new building. It was named Glenwood Heights Baptist Church. The mission church was on Glenwood Avenue, and Burriss suggested using Glenwood in the name. He noted that the new building was on higher land and Heights was chosen to complete the name.
On May 1, 1949, Glenwood Heights Baptist held its first service in the new building with Burriss officiating.
The Rev. Alton Young was called as pastor in 1949 and served until 1955.
Other pastors who have served include the Revs. Thomas A. Sheppard, Roy G. Ryan, Jerry A. Ford, Ron Gregory, N.J. Neely and Dr. Ben Newman.
The Rev. Rick Hunter served in 2001-07. He and his wife, Kristi, were called into the mission field and are now directors of Solomon's Porch in Lynch, Ky. Today, the Rev. Steve Neal is serving as interim pastor.
The Rev. Jerry Ford was guest pastor at the anniversary celebration. He made it to the celebration, even though he suffered a heart attack and underwent double bypass surgery five weeks earlier.
When he approached the pulpit, he looked out into a packed congregation and replied, "Well, hello, Glenwood Heights. Oh, what a beautiful sight; it is a delight to be back."
Ford based his sermon on Hebrews 13. He asked the congregation to call out names of those in the church who had impacted others lives and “blessed us down through the years,” and the congregation responded.
“This place holds lots of memories, doesn’t it?” Ford replied. “Continue in their legacy. We have memories of the past and anticipation of the future.”
After the service, everyone enjoyed a meal and fellowship. Members reminisced about the past, looking at pictures displayed throughout the church and in a slide show that was presented.
“Every bit of the planning, the hard work that was done, and everything was worth it,” said Teresa Couch, chairwoman of the homecoming committee. “I think everyone enjoyed it.”
“This has been the best day in the whole wide world,” said Patra Ford.