Large turnout for church’s 100th anniversary

By Charles Warner cwarner@civitasmedia.com

April 9, 2014

LOCKHART — It’s hard to get a large crowd that includes children to be absolutely quiet for any lenght of time but that’s what happened during Lockhart Free Will Baptist Church’s 100th Anniversary Celebration Sunday morning.

Founded on Easter Day in 1914, Lockhart Free Will Baptist Church is currently located at 126 Askew Circle in the Town of Lockhart. On the church grounds is an old bell that was taken from the building the church occupied from the mid-1920s to the mid-1980s.

As part of the church’s celebration of its 100th anniversary, the bell was rang 10 times during the service, once for each decade of the church’s existence. It was while the bell was being rang that everyone in the church, including the infants and other children present, got quiet.

“The babies loved the ringing of the bell,” church Secretary/Clerk Brenda Cameron said Tuesday. “There wasn’t a sound when it was going on. Everything was quiet, even the babies. You could have heard a pin drop.”

Sunday’s celebration wasn’t a completely quiet affair, of course, with an address by Bill Vanderford, a former church member who is now a minister. Vanderford spoke about what Lockhart Free Will Baptist was like when he was growing up.

Prior to Vanderford’s address, the celebration opened with a performance by the “The Land of the Sky Boys” gospel group.

Cameron said that church member Rodney Inman Jr. also sang during the service. She said that Inman plans to major in music at USC Columbia and plans to become a music teacher.

After the service, the approximately 160 current and former members and family and friends in attendance went to the church fellowship hall for lunch. However, Cameron said there were so many people more tables had to be brought out to accommodate those wanting to sit, eat, and enjoy fellowship. She said that even then the fellowship hall wasn’t large enough and so some people to had to sit and eat in the adjacent hallway.

The big turnout though was just what the church had been hoping for, and Brenda said everyone enjoyed themselves.

“It went good,” Cameron said.