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Church celebrates 200 years

Staff Photo / Bob Coupland The First Baptist Church of Hubbard reached a milestone this month, marking its 200th anniversary. Taking part in the celebration were past and present pastors. From left are the Rev. Kevin Waldon, associate general secretary for congregational / pastoral effectiveness, American Baptist Church USA; the Rev. Luke Oskin, current pastor; the Rev. Jane Gibbons, executive minister of ministry programming / ministry development, American Baptist Church USA; the Rev. Don Dickens, past pastor 1979 to 1989; the Rev. Katie Oskin, current associate pastor; and the Rev. Jim Goodrich, pastor 1997 to 2008.

HUBBARD — It was in October 1819 when the Hubbard First Baptist Church held its first church service with 17 members.

Two hundred years later, church congregation members and past and present ministers gathered to celebrate the milestone.

A large sign outside the church noted the 200-year achievement with the theme “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.”

The Rev. Jim Goodrich, who served the church from 1997 to 2008, said when he was there and from what he sees today, “It has always been a very encouraging congregation. Being here at the church was wonderful. The church did a lot. We had a great youth group who went on mission trips to New York City and West Virginia and did a lot of outreach.”

He said many churches today have closed or are closing, so to reach 200 years is quite an achievement.

The Rev. Don Dickens, pastor from 1979 to 1989, said he could see with the dedicated congregation they would continue and make it 200 years.

“This congregation is always active in the community. They were active here at the church in so many ways,” he said.

Current associate pastor the Rev. Katie Oskin said there were two days of celebrating with a members’ banquet, a Sunday morning service and a special Sunday afternoon service.

“We had our local community and many area ministers from the national office,” she said.

Current pastor the Rev. Luke Oskin said for the past 11 years at the church, he had always wanted to be at the church for the 200th.

“We have been thankful to be here and see the church transitioning into the next century for the church family and church life,” Oskin said.

His wife, Katie, said she enjoys seeing the families and the children grow and participate in the life of the church.

“I enjoy being able to celebrate the church milestone with the congregation,” she said.

She said the church is known in the community for its outreach, including Heaven Scent Diaper Depot Ministry, which helps families in Hubbard get free diapers.

The Oskins said the church has been an important part of people’s lives.

The first church service was in October 1819 with 17 members. In 1839, the church moved to the corner of Spring Street, then to Water Street and North Main in 1869. The current location at 59 Orchard Ave. was dedicated debt-free in 1926.

“Our church has grown in a spiritual sense where we have been able to unite the community in faith. We invite everyone to come out and join us,” Luke Oskin said.

The church also has a head-start program and participates in Hubbard community vacation Bible school and has housed the Hubbard Christians in Action food pantry since 1983.

A drive-through prayer service is held in the church parking lot one Sunday afternoon a month.

The Rev. Kevin Walden, associate general secretary, American Baptist Church USA, was guest speaker and presented the congregation with a special certificate of recognition from the American Baptist Historical Society. In keeping with the congregation’s dedication to outreach, a special offering at this service will be directed to ABC USA International Ministries.

bcoupland@tribtoday.com

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