EAST DOVER -- A church nestled on Dover Hill Road will be celebrating its 200th year in existence.
"We're a very Bible believing church," said East Dover Baptist Church Clerk Gloria Short. "And our theme this year for the bicentennial is: 'Great is thy faithfulness.'"
The phrase comes from Psalm 100:5, which states: "For the Lord is good and His Love endures forever, His faithfulness continues through all generations." Short told the Reformer the phrase was chosen as a way to remember that God has provided the church with wonderful pastors throughout all the years, 45 in total.
Starting on Friday, July 11, the church's bicentennial celebration begins with a speech from one of the church's former pastors, David Midwood. He served as pastor back in the summer of 1974 for four months.
"He developed a long-time relationship with people here," said Short. "He was very young when he came and he did a lot of programs with the youth."
Midwood currently is serving as campus pastor of Free Christian Church for the North Andover campus. According to a press release, he previously served as president of a regional association that promotes a ministry known as Vision New England.
Jim Keith, another pastor, died unexpectedly while serving the East Dover church. His wife Judy Keith will be traveling from Missouri to attend the celebration. Her daughters are expected to come from Texas.
Since Jim's death, Judy got involved with Barnabas International, an organization that assists missionaries, pastors and national church leaders.
On Saturday, July 12, there will be a community breakfast starting at 8 a.m. with the church open to visitors all day with various displays. At 7 p.m., there will be a concert and sing-along as well as an ice cream social. Former and current members of the church are invited.
"We're trying to get as many people from the past," said Short.
She recalled the church's music group named Green Mountain Messengers that specialized in bluegrass music in the late 1980s. Some of the musicians from that group will be returning for the concert.
On Sunday, July 13, there will be a worship celebration followed by a potluck picnic on the lawn.
A committee of church members planned the events. Short said they are expecting 100 or more people to show up throughout the weekend.
According to historical documents, the church started in 1814 with 22 members. Constructing the church cost $700. The membership doubled within a year, then it doubled again in 1817. That was the year that followed "The Year Without a Summer," when it snowed in Vermont every month.
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.