First Baptist Church celebrates 100

By TV Hagenah

Tucumcari’s First Baptist Church turned 100 on Sunday and they had a party with all the trimmings to celebrate it at the church’s fellowship hall.

Tucumcari’s oldest protestant church commemorated the 100th anniversary of the founding of the church Sunday evening Jan. 4 with a birthday cake, balloons a room full of people, entertainment and a singing of “Happy Birthday” to the church.

“I think it is wonderful,” said First Baptist Church associate pastor David England. Yes, it was exactly 100 years ago today, Jan. 4 1904. Just think about it, we were a church before New Mexico was a state.”

English said it was wonderful for more than just the historical aspects however,
“It means a century of service to God,” said England.

English pointed out that the celebration on Sunday was not all of the celebration that would be happening at the Church this year.

“We have activities planned all through the winter and into the spring,” said England.

The First Baptist pastor said activities included dramatic readings, video spots, and “little dramas” about the different periods of the life of the church. He said virtually all of the activities would be under the direction of church historian Debra Whittington.

Throughout the year, there will also be a display of historic photographs and clothing that might have been used during the past 100 years around the church.

“The celebration will culminate on May 2,” said England.
For that day, the church administration has invited past pastors to return and they have schedule Claude Cone, the president of the New Mexico Baptist Convention to speak. There will also be entertainments and a picnic on the grounds of the church.”

On Sunday, Whittington was the featured entertainment for the birthday celebration portraying Margaret Whitmore, who was among the founding members of the church.

In a chataqua format, Whittington took the full house at the fellowship hall back to just after the turn of the last century and shared scandals, high points and low points of the congregation.

Whittington said ever since she first discovered the woman’s writings, she has felt a kinship with her and enjoyed portraying her in her presentation.

“I have always felt close to her,” said Whittington. “I just wish I could be more like her, but I fall way short. She was a remarkable woman.”