Home Moorestown News Second Baptist celebrates 125 years

Second Baptist celebrates 125 years

The anniversary is cause for celebration and reflection for the church’s current members.

The Rev. Thomas Holmes said statistics indicate 77 churches close their doors every week in the United States, which makes it no small feat that Second Baptist Church of Moorestown is celebrating 125 years since its opening.

This December marks the major milestone for the church. Second Baptist started with a mere 16 members meeting in family homes. From there, the church-goers gathered in Moorestown Town Hall and later met at the Knights of Columbus building on East Main Street.

In 1897, the Quakers donated their old building to Second Baptist Church. The structure was located at the present-day site of the church at the corner of Mill and Beech streets. The church’s current structure was built in 1924 under the leadership of the Rev. J.W. Walker. At the time, some members mortgaged their homes to help finance the project.

The anniversary is cause for celebration and reflection for the church’s current members. Ruth Johnson, one of the church’s secretaries, has an idea as to why the church has endured the test of time.

“I believe we’ve stayed together because this church has always been a family-oriented church and families just seem to stick together,” Johnson said.

The Rev. Marsha Harris said members of the congregation don’t just go to church and return home. There’s a genuine connection that weaves each of the parishioners together. Most importantly, members are “people first and titles later,” Harris said. Whether a member is a doctor, school principal or lawyer melts away and members get to know one another as humans first and foremost, Harris said.

Darlene Mims, who works on the church’s outreach programs, said she is proof of the family ties that develop between members. When she came to Second Baptist, she wasn’t looking to make friends. She arrived intent on just hearing the service and leaving.

“But there’s something about the love in this church that gets you when you least expect it,” Mims said. “It’s like all of a sudden you wake up and say, ‘I have a lot of friends, and I like it.’”

Christian education and mission work have always been at the cornerstone of the church’s philosophy, Harris said. From contributing regularly to the local food banks to participating in local events, charitable work has always been a top priority.

“We are feeding those who are in here, and we are also serving those who are out there and so I think that has a lot to do with our endurance,” Harris said.

Holmes, the church’s interim pastor, said since stepping into the position nearly a year ago, his mission has been to continue to grow the church. He said many millennials don’t feel like church is relevant to their lives, so these days his sermons are themed around issues impacting that age demographic.

“One of the challenges of a traditional church is to have a foundation and not change the philosophy but adapt to how to reach those who don’t feel like church is relevant to them,” Holmes said.

Additionally, Holmes has brought the church into the digital age. Second Baptist now live streams its services and offers the option for online donations.

For as long as their doors remain open, anyone who steps inside Second Baptist can expect a warm welcome, according to trustee Lawrence Watkins.

“You’ll be greeted with love when you come through those lower doors,” Watkins said.

The church is open to anyone interested in joining or attending a service. To find out more about Second Baptist Church of Moorestown, visit https://sbcmoorestown.church.

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