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First Baptist Church of Burnet Celebrates 140th Anniversary

On Aug. 12, 1877, the congregation of First Baptist Church of Burnet held its first service. It wasn’t until 1884 that, thanks to a $200 check from the American Baptist Home Mission Board of New York, an actual church was built. Courtesy photo

BURNET — After 140 years, how much more could First Baptist Church of Burnet have left to do?

A lot.

"I tell people, if the Lord hasn't returned in the next 140 years, then we're going to be right here serving people and sharing God's love," the Rev. Doug Lindley said. "What kind of legacy are we going to be leaving the people who come after us?"

First Baptist Church is celebrating its anniversary Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 12-13. On Saturday, the church is hosting a dinner at 6 p.m. followed by a concert featuring The Singing Women of Texas at 7 p.m. Then, it’s fun and games at 7:45 p.m.

On Sunday, there will be combined worship at 10 a.m. followed by a luncheon at 11:30 a.m.

The Rev. Mark Newton of First Baptist Church of Lufkin is preaching during the 10 a.m. service.

"He was a youth growing up in this church," Lindley said. "He was born and raised in this church and has went on to pastor several churches."

The anniversary is also a celebration of the church’s impact on the community. The church began on Aug. 12, 1877, and its first pastor, the Rev. H.M. Burroughs, was considered a "Baptist Johnny Appleseed" as he helped plant churches in Cherokee, Lampasas, and Lynch's Creek.

First Baptist Church of Burnet celebrates Jesus’ birth through Main Street Bethlehem, which recreates the Nativity two weekends in December. File photo

While Lindley didn't grow up in Burnet (he's been at the church for about 10 years), his family has deep ties to the community, and the church. In fact, had it not been for a revival in 1881 at the Burnet church, Lindley might never have become a minister.

"My great-grandfather (Gottlieb Schlomach) was a German immigrant who was invited to a revival at the church," Lindley said. "It was then that he gave his life Christ."

Lindley's grandfather Carl Schlomoch would grow up in Burnet and become a pastor, leading many congregations across Texas before returning to Burnet in 1973.

"You have to think that if the church wasn't here and that German immigrant didn't come to know Jesus then there would probably be two less preachers," Lindley said.

And that's just two First Baptist Church has touched and transformed over the past 140 years, Lindley said. The overall impact is almost impossible to measure.

"The impact over the years and years, they’re like ripples,” Lindley said.

First Baptist Church of Burnet has been there for the community through the banner years, but it’s also helped heal and comfort during some of the most trying times, including two world wars, the Great Depression, drought, and more. The church and its congregation have reached out beyond their own walls to be an example of Jesus' love to others.

The church hosts Main Street Bethlehem for two weekends in December. The event recreates the birth of Jesus. The living Nativity scene draws thousands of people to Burnet each year and leaves an impact on many who walk through. Recently, the church added the Easter Journey, which shows visitors Jesus' walk to the cross.

Those are two of the more visible ways First Baptist Church of Burnet has touched lives, but there are countless others.

The ripples, Lindley reminded.

The anniversary celebration is open to the public. Lindley said the best way to sum up what the anniversary means is in the theme they've selected: "Loving Jesus and Serving Burnet since 1877."

The church is located at 108 S. Vanderveer St. in Burnet. Call (512) 756-4481 or go to fbcburnet.org for more information.

daniel@thepicayune.com

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