The congregation of the Ninth Street Missionary Baptist Church prepares to celebrate its 160th anniversary ► NewsColt

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Picture by: Austin Hornbostel/Journal-World

Ninth Street Missionary Baptist Church, 847 Ohio St., will celebrate its 160th anniversary subsequent week with a sequence of weekend occasions.

It’s not daily you come throughout a group facility that has been round for 160 years – however then once more, not each church is like Ninth Street Missionary Baptist Church.

Based in 1863, the church is celebrating its 160th anniversary this 12 months and has no plans to decelerate anytime quickly. The church is one of two black congregations from early Lawrence historical past, together with St. Luke’s AME, that stay lively immediately.

Individuals who need to celebrate the event with the Ninth Street group can have ample alternative to accomplish that over the subsequent week. A reunion live performance is scheduled for Friday, March 24 at 7:00 p.m. and the group will host a video games night time and chili cookoff at 5:00 p.m. the subsequent day. The 10:45 a.m. service on Sunday, March 26, will likely be visitor speaker Rev. Rene Brown – a former Ninth Street minister – who will lead the choir from his present congregation at Mt. Zion First Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. will carry. The group will begin the occasion with a picnic Sunday afternoon from 2 to 6 p.m. in the Flory Assembly Corridor at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, 2120 Harper St.

Takisha Derritt, who serves as coordinator for the church’s reunion live performance, calls the program a “blast from the previous.” It should characteristic songs that the congregation will likely be acquainted with from earlier intervals in church historical past, with previous musicians and former choir administrators being prominently featured. Derritt instructed Journal-World that the reunion choir can be a number of occasions bigger than the church’s common choir, which has about 10 singers. The group for the reunion live performance signed up 42 folks final week, she stated.

Picture by: Nick Krug/Journal-World

On this file photograph, Takisha Clark, entrance, now generally known as Takisha Derritt, and different choir contributors sing their praises throughout rehearsal for the 2012 Clever Girls Construct Convention on Wednesday, August 22, 2012 at the Ninth Street Missionary Baptist Church, 847 Ohio Street.

Folks will journey to Lawrence not solely from Baton Rouge, but in addition from Florida, Texas and Missouri. Derritt stated the group has additionally prolonged an invite to the Lawrence Metropolis Fee and expects some commissioners to attend.

“It’s going to be a full home,” added Karen Presswood, who serves as the coordinator of the anniversary celebrations.

Adaptation to Change

Very similar to the relaxation of the world, the Church’s latest historical past has been formed by the way it has responded to COVID-19. Tips handed by heads of state throughout the nation halted in-person worship throughout the top of the pandemic, and it was no completely different for the Ninth Street Missionary Baptist.

However that didn’t matter a lot. The truth is, the congregation by no means missed a Sunday service regardless of being unable to bodily collect for a interval. Presswood stated that to circumvent COVID restrictions, Pastor Eric Galbreath started pre-recording his messages — first at residence and finally in the empty church’s pulpit — and edited them together with different parts to create a video of a steady service. These movies had been then uploaded for the group to view. They later all tuned in collectively through Zoom for a dwell streaming watch occasion.

“We didn’t miss something,” Presswood stated. “After we say it’s the 160th[anniversary]it truly is. It stored going – it by no means stopped.”

And it ended up turning into one thing constructive for the group. Whereas many individuals are nonetheless extra cautious about gathering in particular person, Presswood stated Ninth Street has attracted members from throughout the nation who proceed to attend the hybrid companies on-line immediately. For instance, their youngsters in Colorado and Texas can tune in, or former parishioners who’ve moved to cowl the distance.

Some parishioners have by no means set foot in Lawrence – they’ve been lively contributors, however on a purely digital foundation.

“If service is your ardour, I feel the complete pandemic has actually proven that, you realize?” Galbreath instructed Journal-World. “…There is no such thing as a different manner however to discover a manner.”

Picture by: file

On this file photograph, Pastor Eric Galbreath (middle) greets members of his congregation throughout the service at Ninth Street Missionary Baptist Church, 847 Ohio St.

Watch the story unfold

Though nobody lives immediately who witnessed the Church’s early a long time firsthand, there are some members of the congregation who noticed many of the youthful ones. These embody Daphne Payne, a member since 1961, who joined Lawrence at the age of 24 to grow to be a instructor.

In Payne’s greater than 60 years of service to the congregation, she has been concerned in some ways, from serving as organist and pianist for many years to serving as chair of the congregation’s usher. She stated she could also be the oldest lively member of the congregation and he or she nonetheless serves as a deaconess and on the committee that plans the Jubilee occasions.

“I by no means get lonely,” Payne stated. “I dwell alone, however I by no means really feel lonely.”

Over the years, Payne has seen firsthand how the Ninth Street Missionary Baptist has served as a “transitional church” for college kids at the College of Kansas. With its proximity to campus, it turned a hub for college kids searching for a service they may attend recurrently whereas dwelling away from residence.

“They keep for some time, some are lively, after which they go their separate methods to their jobs and all that,” Payne stated. “And a few of these, I feel, will likely be some of the individuals who come again for our anniversary.”

Picture by: Glenn Foster

This photograph reveals the Ninth Street Missionary Baptist Church congregation round 1880.

Galbreath was one of these college students himself. He’s a former KU soccer participant with a powerful connection to the school ministry.

As a result of of these connections, Payne stated, it’s even simpler to meet folks with a connection to Ninth Street Missionary Baptist when touring to different states. For instance, on a go to to Annapolis, Maryland, she met a US Naval Academy chaplain who had beforehand attended the church.

“Should you go wherever, you’ll meet somebody related to our church,” Payne stated.

What’s subsequent

It’s onerous to say what the world will likely be like a century from now, however for now, a minimum of, Galbreath stated he was glad to have performed even a small half in the first 160 years of Ninth Street Missionary Baptist Church’s historical past.

“I’m simply grateful to be half of a small hyperlink in an enormous chain,” Galbreath stated. “…For this season that we’re right here and God has allowed us to be in, we’re going to do our greatest and I’m simply grateful for the alternative to serve. Perhaps in 160 years another person will say the identical factor.”

After taking the time to look again, the church will shortly look forward. Derritt stated the church will concentrate on persevering with companies and partnerships similar to the church’s relationship with Lawrence nonprofit Household Promise and faith-based advocacy group Justice Issues. Ninth Street may be very dedicated to internet hosting households in want of a spot to dwell via Household Promise’s Homelessness Prevention Program, typically internet hosting them at the counseling middle subsequent to the church.

Different outreach alternatives are returning after an absence, like a nursing residence ministry, or are model new, like an interfaith psychological well being ministry in partnership with the Bert Nash Group Psychological Well being Heart.

“One factor[Galbreath]focuses on is that we’re a ‘service-oriented’ church,” Presswood added. “So all the various things that we do tie into that focus, and he’s had that focus since he began right here in 2015.”

However one other huge piece of the puzzle in the close to future will be sure that the church constructing will likely be preserved for generations to come – and that requires some renovation work. Church administrator Cynthia Eubanks instructed Journal-World earlier this week that whereas nothing is ready in stone but, there are numerous wants she hopes the church can deal with this 12 months.

“We all know we have now some wants, and we’re in the course of of discovering an architect,” Eubanks stated. “We all know that we’d like to do some renovation work on the present church constructing.”

This contains the partitions in the parish corridor in the basement of the church, she stated. They’re made of plaster, they usually’re crumbled and damaged in such a manner that there’s extra plaster on the ground than on the wall. The church can be contemplating a spread of different renovations and repairs — including energy-efficient lighting, changing flooring, and fully renovating the church’s kitchen.

A very essential request is the creation of higher entry from the parish corridor to the chancel, that are presently separated by a staircase. Eubanks stated this ties in with different accessibility efforts which can be on the listing, like putting in ADA-accessible bogs. There’s additionally no ADA-accessible manner to entry the sanctuary from different components of the constructing; The solely ADA-accessible entrance to the Sanctuary is a ramp situated outdoors of the constructing.

“All of this…is simply the starting,” Eubanks stated. “With a really previous constructing, you’ll be able to think about that there’s a lot of upkeep and quite a bit of issues that we have now to do to make it meet the wants of folks immediately. That is our starting.”

Eubanks stated the church plans to launch a fundraising marketing campaign earlier than the finish of the 12 months and in addition plans to obtain some grants. She stated if folks need to give some assist, it will be particularly useful to have steering on the place the finest locations to search for grants that may make a dent can be.

“The church prays, we analyse, we speak to architects, we do all the things we are able to as a result of we wish to be sure that the decisions we make for the future final for the life of the constructing. ‘ Eubanks stated. “As a result of in any other case folks would say to us, ‘Effectively, my God, why are you placing a lot cash into this previous constructing? You may simply purchase one other constructing that meets all of your wants.’ However there’s a lot of historical past on this constructing – it means quite a bit to us.”

For extra details about the anniversary occasions or upcoming renovations, contact the church at [email protected] or 785-843-6472.


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