By Michael Buhler
It has been almost exactly 60 years since the Cheney Baptist Church got its start. And with the day of that anniversary just around the corner, the church will be celebrating.
The church, which turns 60 one week from Friday, will celebrate its anniversary with a special day of services and activities on Sunday, June 23, at its location at 1542 N. Main in Cheney.
The day kicks off with Sunday School at 9:30 a.m. and services at 10:30 a.m. That will be followed by a lunch on the church grounds. The luncheon will feature chicken, brisket, dessert and side dishes. Guests are welcome to attend.
At 1 p.m., there will be a special memorial program that will be a demonstration of the church’s history and will feature pictures and possibly former pastors. The day will conclude at 2 p.m. with a children’s carnival featuring games and activities for children.
The Rev. and Mrs. Bob Jones cut a cake. The reason for the celebration is not known.
The church was organized originally on June 21, 1953 with 18 charter members. One of those founding members was Harold Pipkins, who is still a member of the church at age 97.
“A couple of pastors – one at Haven and another in Wichita – wanted to start church in Cheney,” Keith Peters, the current pastor of Cheney Baptist Church, said. “It started with a tent meeting where the fire station is now.”
Bob Jones was the church’s first pastor, and he led the church until 1957, when John McGill took the reins. Other pastors include Ron Hoover (1959), Bill Dennis (1961), Lou Bennett (1962), Leslie Lind (1970), Bill Scott (1976), Mike Rucker (1982), Charles Bartlett (1987), Mark Ogle (1997) and Peters, who assumed the pastorate of the church in 2010.
“I wasn’t here all 60 years, but I think I can speak very confidently for the former pastors and the church body – I think it’s been a great privilege,” Peters said. “I’ve pastored in four different states and it’s a great privilege to serve communities.”
After 60 years of existence, the church still is focused on better serving the community as it looks to the future.
“Other than the obvious mission of any church, which is representing God’s invitation to the community, I would like to be more community-oriented,” Peters said. “I want us to find ways to be more efficient and to serve our community better.”
For more information on the anniversary services, contact the church at 316-540-6022.
The Rev. Bob Johnson preaches the first sermon in the former building on Sixth Avenue on Dec. 11, 1955.