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In the summer of 1891, some believers from the Clinton Center Baptist Church with a hunger for souls hired an evangelist from Carbondale. Evangelistic/revival meetings were conducted in the one-room schoolhouse near the corner of Rt. 296 and Stanton Road. The meetings were successful and there seemed a need for a local assembly in this place. On November 28, 1891, fifteen members of the "mother church" met to organize a new church at South Clinton. The vote was unaminous and the fifteen became the charter members of the new South Clinton Baptist Church. Money was collected, land was deeded and this church, much as it appears today, was built in 1892. Pastor Charles White was the first of twenty-three ministers and four interim pastors.
Times have changed. The advent of the auto brought about the removal of the horse barn. Inside plumbing replaced the outhouse, thankfully! The consolidation of the school district outmoded the quaint one-room schoolhouse, which stood behind this church building. The needs of people have not changed. Men, women, and children still need to hear the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and the clear teaching of God's Word, the Bible.
The mission of the South Clinton Baptist Church has not changed since its inception. Article II of the church constitution states: "The purpose of this church shall be the advancement of the Kingdom of God as revealed through Jesus Christ. It shall seek to accomplish this through the public and private worship of God, the study of the Holy Scriptures, Christian Education, the preaching and teaching of the Gospel, consistent Christian living, personal evangelism, and missionary endeavors."
This church has been a "lighthouse" on this corner of Wayne County. It has also served as a beacon on the intersection of people's lives. Many a child has found Christ as Savior within these walls during Sunday School, Good News Club, or Daily Vacation Bible School. Today we continue to strive to witness in our "Jerusalem." As this church was a "church plant" so we have reproduced ourselves. What a blessing to have been part of planting a new church in Forest City in recent years and thus fulfilling the "Judea" of the "Great Commission." We have also had the opportunity to support home and foreign missionaries. The "clink" in the missionary offering plate is heard "unto the utter most parts of the earth."
What will our future hold? These times are uncertain - just like in Bible times. The certainty is that God is still faithful to His promises. Praise God we still have the victorious message: "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." The faces have changed since 1892, but the message and convictions have not. May God help us to remain faithful to HIS calling.
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