North Massena Baptist Church 80 Years Old

Excerpted from The Atlantic News Telegraph, Monday, October 13, 1969, pg. 3:

ANITA -- October 13th marks the 80th anniversary of the North Massena Baptist church located eight miles south and one mile east of Anita.

Feb. 1, 1885, six farm families living between Anita and Massena gathered at the home of the late George P. Fish south of Anita for a church service and to organize a Baptist congregation and be recognized as the Baptist church of Massena. Mr. Fish was elected the clerk and after that night, services were held weekly in what is known as the Stern school house eight miles south of Anita. Feb. 28, 1885, the first Sunday school was organized and March 28, 1885 they hired their first pastor, the Rev. C. Corbett. The well-kept records show that the first baptism was April 12 that year.

Feb. 19, 1889, the group then led by Pastor R. M. Tracey resolved to build a church. The 25x40 foot building was erected and was known as the Baptist meeting house.

The late Samuel and Nancy Garside, on whose land the church building now stands, deeded one half acre of their farmland on the northeast corner of section three of Massena township to erect the edifice with the understanding that it must always be used for the church.

A meeting was held May 2, 1889, at the church grounds, the fence was moved, and preparations started for work on the church. Members of the congregation pitched in and helped erect the building.

The First Baptist church of Massena was dedicated on Oct. 13, 1889, with the Rev. Mr. Eldridge delivering the sermon.

When the church was finished, the group purchased an organ for $75 and this organ is still in use.

In 1905, the name of the church was changed to the North Massena Baptist church and they shared a pastor with the Massena church. The present pastor, Gale C. Tush, also conducts services at the Community Bible Church in Anita.

Fifteen years ago a new ceiling was placed in the basement. Seven years ago the interior of the upstairs was damaged by fire and the building was then redecorated. New curtains were hung. New cement steps and railing were completed. A few years ago, the kitchen in the basements [sic basement] was extensively remodeled.

Sunday school superintendent is Nolan Stockham; deacons are Collins and Byron Bowers; trustees are Delbert Hobbs, Nolan Stockham and Ray Denney. Mr. and Mrs. Collins Bowers are in charge of the youth group which meets once a month. The ladies of the church have a missionary meeting the third Wednesday of each month.

Transcribed by Cheryl Siebrass, July, 2022.

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