A Shelbyville woman who has been attending services at the First Baptist Church of Shelbyville since her birth in 1929 knows the ins and outs of the church and has been around to hear 16 pastors share their sermons. She’s eager to celebrate the church’s 150 years in the community.
Doris Rothrock said she has been at the church practically “since birth.”
“It’s the only church I’ve ever gone to,” she said. “It’s meant a lot to me.”
The First Baptist Church of Shelbyville will celebrate it’s 150th anniversary on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. until activities are finished in the afternoon.
The Rev. Timothy Yankee, the church’s pastor, said although he has been at the First Baptist Church of Shelbyville for nearly three years, he still frequently asks Rothrock questions regarding the church.
“The first two people that my wife and I met when we came here were Doris and her husband, Dean,” Yankee said. “Dean passed away (about) a year ago. They were the first two people we met when we walking in the door.”
He said he will never forget them.
Yankee said the 150th anniversary celebration will begin with a morning service at 9:30 a.m., featuring the former pastor, the Rev. Dan Johnson.
Johnson was at the First Baptist Church from 1985 to 1991 and will speak during the Sunday school hour, Yankee said. Attendees will meet in the chapel where the morning service will be following the Sunday school.
Former associate pastor Kevin Smith, will make an appearance during the morning service, Yankee said.
“(Smith) is gonna sing a special number and give a testimony. Then we’ve got a choir number we’ve been working on,” he said.
Former pastor from 1991-2014, Pastor Dan Eloe, will also be speaking during the morning service, Yankee said.
“My wife has been working on a PowerPoint on the history of the church. It’s about 13 minutes,” he said. “I wanna say we scanned close to 200 pictures, so she’s been working through those.”
The gospel and blueglass group High Cotton will perform a mini concert during the celebration.
Church members Ben and Amber Snow are providing the meat from their barbecue business Holy Smokes, Yankee said.
Yankee said this celebration is not about the First Baptist Church, but it is to celebrate the Lord.
“You think for over 150 years, a lot of people have come in and out of the doors of the church and heard the gospel, and really only the Lord knows how many have come to know Christ as a result of this,” he said.
The First Baptist Church was organized in 1868 inside the home of Mrs. Ann McClanahan Thorton, and by 1870 a building for services was erected to on the corner of North Second and Woods Streets.
The current property was purchased in 1956, and the cornerstone was laid in 1958. The first services were held in the current building on January 17, 1960.
Rothrock said she is probably the third or fourth generation of her family to become a member of the First Baptist Church of Shelbyville.
“My dad was a Sunday school superintendent when I was really little. My mother had been a Sunday school teacher,” she said. “My grandparents were real active in the church.”
Rothrock worked as a Sunday school teacher, a church secretary, a Sunday school treasurer, a financial secretary and a church clerk at the First Baptist Church.
“I remember when I was real younger, the governor of Illinois Dwight Green was there entertaining in the basement of the old Baptist church. He commented on our patriotic glasses which were red, white, and blue,” Rothrock said.
Yankee mentioned that Rothrock’s children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren go services at the church, as well.
“Your legacy really continues on,” Yankee said to Rothrock.
In the past, Yankee said he was a pastor at a church in St. Louis when a 30th anniversary of their church was celebrated, and then he was a pastor of a church in Michigan where a 40th anniversary celebration took place.
The main influence in Yankee’s life was his mother, he said.
“Obviously, the Lord worked it all out. He had a plan, but my mother was very influential in the decision for me to end up in ministry,” Yankee said.
Rothrock said she remembers going to the 100th anniversary celebration and the 125th anniversary celebration.
She said she is looking forward to the 150th anniversary celebration, and people who attend will learn about the church.
“They’ll see that we’re a friendly, ougoing church and maybe if they don’t have a church home, they might come here,” Rothrock said.
Yankee said they are expecting close to 200 guests for the celebration.
“It’s not just about celebrating the past, it’s about anticipating what He’s going to do in the future,” Yankee said.
Kennedy Nolen can be reached by phone at 217-774-2161 ext. 1 or by email at [email protected]