LEESVILLE, La. (LBM) — Pastor Wesley Jackson, June 22, welcomed six ministers with close ties to Laurel Hill Baptist Church to celebrate 150 continuous years of ministry by the congregation.
The church was established June 19, 1869, by 44 charter members with the leadership of W.S. Terrell, and has a long history of sending out pastors “to preach the Gospel,” according to usgarchives.net, an internet genealogy research site.
Joining Pastor Jackson during the program were Sherman Busby, Glenn Cooley, Morris Dale Goins, Huey S. Haymon, Millard Monk and John Smith, each with their own special ties to the congregation:
— Haymon, who is 91 years of age and pastor of Flactor Baptist Church in Hicks, shared memories from as far back as 1952 when he served as pastor to the Laurel Hill congregation. Haymon baptized Jackson and Monk, a minister and a long-time Laurel Hill member.
— Busby, who served as pastor for eight years at Laurel Hill, called the congregation “the mother of all other churches in the area.” During his tenure, two area-wide tent revivals were conducted and the membership of Laurel Hill doubled, according to church records. He now serves as pastor of Oak Grove Baptist Church in LaCamp.
— Cooley, a former pastor of Laurel Hill, spoke briefly about his experiences with the congregation, making special mention of a mission trip to Russia to train pastors and build church facilities as a way to highlight the faithfulness of Laurel Hill in sharing the Gospel.
— Goins, director of missions for the Vernon Baptist Association, lauded Haymon for his 73 years of preaching the Gospel, the longest service among the seven minsters at the celebration. “Our oldest pastor puts us to shame,” he said.
— Smith, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Leesville, was licensed to the Gospel ministry at Laurel Hill. He said the congregation had stood the test of time from the end of the Civil War until now “because faithful people were obedient to God.” He also provided special music, singing “Some call it Heaven, I call it home.”
A number of laypeople with enduring faith were recognized, with special mention of Dewey Miller, who recently passed away at the age of 98.
Junior Wellman, aged 93, said he attended Laurel Hill before he was born, noting that his mother was a member while pregnant with him. Providing a perspective for how long ago that was, he said, “We used to come to church with goats pulling a cart.”
Meanwhile, long-time members, Sharon and Ray Charrier, Martha Wellman, and Lindy Gordy were recognized for their faithful service as well.
Several individuals provided special music (Madison and Marlee Hall; Sherry Jackson, wife of Pastor Jackson; Ronald Carruth; and Smith); and, congregational singing was led by Allen Hall.
Based on reporting by Carlous and Carline Pelt.