Milligan Ridge Baptist Church to celebrate 80 years
Unfortunately many community landmarks only remain as memories, but members and past members of Milligan Ridge Missionary Baptist Church are proud to be standing strong and serving the community since 1938.
Milligan Ridge Baptist Church will celebrate its 80th anniversary on Sunday, July 29. The day will include a potluck lunch following the morning service. There will be songs, testimonies and memories shared from 2-4 p.m.
Pastor Mike Colvin and his wife, Mary, joined the congregation at MR in January 2016. Brother Colvin said he is looking forward to celebrating the milestone.
The Colvins live in the new parsonage recently built and located next to the church.
The first Landmark Missionary Baptist Church was organized in Milligan Ridge in 1938 evolving from Sunday schools and numerous revivals held in the community.
The first meeting as an established church was held on July 31, 1938. The church eventually became known as the Milligan Ridge Missionary Baptist Church as it remains today.
To be accepted for membership in the Baptist Missionary Association of Arkansas there had to be at least 15 members willing to move their church letters to the proposed congregation.
According to the church history from a book compiled and printed in 1995, among the charter members were Louise Flagg, Minnie Bassett, Boe and Goldie McCann, Cyndia Flagg, Bertha Dobbins, W.A. Mustain, Harvey Turnbolt, Mr. and Mrs. Louie Whittenberg, Brother and Mrs. W.P. Flowers, Icie Wilson, Mr. and Mrs. Cobb, J.H. Wheeler, Joe Shackelford and Brother L.M. Harlan. Mable Barker, who was baptized into the Methodist Church as a young girl, was instrumental in beginning the MR Baptist Church. It was not until 1944 she was baptized into the church where she served for nearly 40 years.
Often preachers make it a point in their sermons to remind their congregations the church is the people not the building. Once Milligan Ridge Church was established, the people went to work and did what was necessary to build the first building. Lumber was cut off land and donated. People donated eggs, milk, chickens that were sold with the money going to the building. A local theater owner donated some old seats to the new building.
G.G. Caudill, Sr. offered land north of Caudill Brothers Gin in September of 1938 for the church. The church paid $50 for land (worth many times that amount) and the land was deeded to the church. A 34x50 foot building was constructed giving the members a permanent meeting place.
A quote from the book, “The new church was as primitive as were the houses of the Milligan Ridge Community, but the people were so thankful for an actual church building they thought it was as beautiful as any European cathedral. It was heated by a wood stove and lighted with coal oil lamps.”
The first preacher for the new church was Brother W.P. Flowers. He was called as a “quarter-time” missionary pastor at a salary of $10 a month. Sunday school was held every week but the preacher only came on the last Sunday of the month.
The official dedication of the church building was held April 23, 1939. Brother M.N. Gregson preached the dedication sermon, “The Church.”
The church entered into the modern age and electricity in 1939. The November minutes of the church note the authorization of the building committee to take $15 out of the Sunday school funds to wire the church building and make a deposit on the meter.
Another note of interest in the church history includes the vote in 1957 to help in the establishment of a Baptist Mission in Manila. The Mission became Calvary Baptist Church.
Members have continued to improve on the building throughout the years and it has remained a welcoming beacon in the community.
Many pastors have served throughout the church's 80 years including Brother Waymon Holt who served over 50 years.
Revival meetings have always been an important part of the church. A young boy of 13 was saved at one of those revivals held in 1944. Little did anyone know that young boy, Waymon Holt, would grow up and serve as pastor for over a half century.
Everyone is welcome to join the 80 year celebration of Milligan Ridge Missionary Baptist Church as members share memories and look to the future.