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Saturday, Sep. 20, 2014

Church will celebrate centennial

Thursday, July 27, 2006

SIKESTON -- Members of the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) are celebrating 100 years of worship in Sikeston.

Conveniently, the 100th anniversary of the exact day the church was established in Sikeston, Aug. 6, 1906, falls on a Sunday.

"A few people had been meeting in a home, but this was the first formal organization of a Disciples of Christ church here in Sikeston," said Rev. Mary McCord, senior minister at the church.

The church will celebrate the anniversary on Aug. 6.

"On the day of the celebration from 9-10 a.m. there will be an informal gathering so that people who have moved from the area can view the facilities, catch up with people, enjoy some refreshments," McCord said. "Then we will have a worship service from 10-11:30 a.m. followed by a fellowship dinner."

"We have invited our former ministers who are still living to come and be with us during this celebration," she added, "and four of those ministers will be in attendance."

Slated to attend the celebration are Rev. Paul Walker, who was pastor from 1972-1982; Rev. Tom Plumbley, who served as pastor from 1984-1988; Rev. Gene Akeman, an interim minister from 1992-1993; and Rev. Ed Pangburn, who pastored the church from 1993-2000.

"Our longest-standing members are Joe McCord and Elizabeth Bloomfield Cope," said McCord. "They have been members for almost 71 years."

"I have so many wonderful memories I wouldn't know where to start," Cope said. "I was two years old when my mother (first) took me. That's been my church -- my grandparents started there, then my mother, so it's always been mine."

Cope said she has seen many changes over the years she has attended the First Christian Church.

"They've all been for the better -- it's been a wonderful church and I've really enjoyed it," she said.

When Cope began attending, the church was in a two-story brick building located in the downtown area.

"We were on the corner of Trotter and South New Madrid, just behind the Crader and Crader Law Office," McCord said. "Worship and Sunday School were all held in that building. That building was torn down in 1971."

The church only had one other facility preceding this brick structure -- a wooden building they called "The Tabernacle" which was on the same lot, just in front of the brick church.

McCord said the tabernacle was dismantled during the construction of the brick building so the wood could be used.

"They actually completed the basement of this 1915 building and held their services in that basement until they could complete that upper part," she said.

The church is now located at 1006 North Main.

"We're the large church just south of the hospital," McCord said. "They dedicated the first building on this location in 1956. The education building was built first and dedicated Sept. 16, 1956. That's where they held worship services until they completed the sanctuary. The sanctuary was dedicated Dec. 14, 1958."

The education building and sanctuary were built by Ralph Boyer Construction Co., McCord said.

"He is a long-time member and an elder emeritus of this congregation," she noted. "His son Philip was the property chairman and was very instrumental in getting the Family Life Center built -- he was actually the general contractor. He oversaw everything."

The Family Life Center, the third and final building in the church's complex, was dedicated in July of 1999.

"It's just a wonderful church for children to grow up in," Cope said. "We just have wonderful people."