Baconton Missionary Baptist Church celebrated their 150th year of their “service to God,” on May 26.
With a resounding Hallelujah from a packed room of worshippers Pastor Hermon Scott said he was much more than merely excited.
“I am excitier,” he said noting he made up that word just for the occasion. “I am overwhelmed.”
Through prayers, hymns, testimonials and worship, church members and distinguished guests got the opportunity to celebrate the many achievements of the church throughout the years.
Baconton had its humble beginnings in 1869 when the Founding fathers and 35 devoted members gathered under a brush arbor deciding and affirming, they would build a church in their community.
The church is named in honor of Deacon Will Bacon and since 1869 has only seen 19 pastors lead the church.
Today the church has more than 400 members and several missions and ministries that reach out to the community.
Baconton has an outreach mission, young adult mission, vacation Bible School, summer lunch program, summer camp, mother’s ministry, pastoral care, youth ministry, hospitality and a cancer survivor/support ministry and more.
During their 150th celebration Scott and the parishioners placed some of their fondest memories into a time capsule that was later buried. It is set to open on the church’s 200 anniversary in 2069.
Scott read a letter to the congregation. It was a letter he received when he became pastor in 1997 and was written by a current church member who was only 10 years old at the time.
“I am glad you are my pastor,” Scott read. “I told my grand pa that if I would have known that children could vote I would have voted for you because I like the way you preach because you let children understand your words. I understand it and I love that.”
Scott said that letter meant everything to him. He said he keeps that letter in his office as a daily reminder to always be a servant in the name of the Lord. He placed a copy of that letter in the time capsule. He also placed a letter for the future pastor of Baconton to read in 2069.
“I am blessed to be able to send this forward to the future,” Scott said leading the group outside to bury the capsule.
Outside the church bell rang 15 times to symbolize their 150 years. They also unveiled their new Historical Marker.
“In our story there have been a lot of ups and downs…but one of the things that is clear, a critical teaching, is that we ought to set up some stones so that in times to come our children will know what these stones mean,” Scott said. “We have, with the help of the Historical Society of Liberty County, we have been able to secure a permanent stone, if you will, which will commemorate this day and this sacred ground that our fathers stood on many, many years ago.”
The Historical Marker reads:
“After the Civil War, newly freed slaves from the Allenhurst and Walthourville communities traveled by horse, wagon and foot (some even walking more than twelve miles) to and from worship at First African Baptist Church at the crossroads in Riceboro.”
“In 1869, a God-fearing group, led by founding pastor Reverend W.M. Quarterman, five deacons (Will Bacon, Joe Howell, P.M. McIver, Flanders Pray Sr., Julius Rogers), and thirty-five members, desired a church and a school, possibly named for Will Bacon, under a bush arbor and a framed structure was completed later in 1876.”
“The Baconton School, supported by the Freedmen’s Bureau and the community, was a two-room wooden schoolhouse on the church property, Flanders Pray Sr., was the first teacher. In 1944, the school moved to a new four-room frame structure on Long Reach Road, now E.B. Cooper Highway. The school closed around 1956.”
“In 1987, Baconton Missionary Baptist Church dedicated the present-day sanctuary where descendants continue to worship. The founding members created an enduring legacy that lasted for 150 years.”