Shibley Baptist Church Celebrates 100 Years

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Shibley Baptist Church is a small church in Van Buren that has been a part of the community for the past 100 years. Sunday, they celebrated their history as one of the oldest churches in the area.

"We don’t have much," Pastor Corey Marquis said. "We can’t send missionaries across the world, but there’s so much here to do – just not even a mile from this church. And we’ve got a great ministry here and a great bunch of people."

The history of Shibley Baptist Church traces back to 1912, when a Sunday school group met in the Shibley School building, according to information compiled congregation member Lola Black. There were only a handful of members at the time, but together they created one of the first congregations in Crawford County.

"About 1925, if I remember correctly, they actually acquired a building where they could hold class," Marquis said.

It was only one of many places that the congregation met over the next few decades. It wasn't until the 1950s, that the land where Shibley Baptist Church stands today was purchased. Gary Black, who has attended Shibley Baptist Church with his life Lola for decades, says its something only a few can remember today.

"When the old church was put here and different things like that, you forget all of that stuff if you're not around it all of the time, and it's brought back a lot of memories," Black said in reference to the centennial celebration.

But even with its own building, Shibley Baptist Church struggled to keep its doors open.

"There have been times in the past that the church could've closed its doors easily," said Diane Howard, a member and Sunday School teacher at Shibley since the 90s. "The only way we've been able to make it this long has been through the grace of God. Just God. All God. God led us and guided us and gave us the hope that we needed."

Today's congregation is closer to 50 people, who come together to sing, pray and give thanks to the Lord that their church has been able to persevere through tough times and become what it is today.

"It's the people who make this church what it is today," said Marquis. "We've got a great group of people here who truly care about this community. We really are the hands and feet of God in this community. And you can see that through all that we do."

If you want to join in for worship, Marquis said the church doors are open. Services are held at 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Sunday, as well as at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday. The church is located  at 1136 Shibley Road between the train tracks and Alma Highway.