75-plus years of ministry: Church to celebrate anniversary

Gary Mitchell

It took a couple of starts, but the second start took root.
As a result, First Church of the Nazarene, 1800 N. Norris St., will celebrate its 75th-plus anniversary of ministry to the Clovis community with a Homecoming Weekend May 30 through June 1.
The theme for the Homecoming 2003 Weekend is “Celebrating 75-plus Years of Ministry,” said Gerald Woods, church administrator and former pastor of the church from 1972-79.
“We’re planning on an outstanding weekend of praise, worship and fellowship,” he said. “The purpose of this weekend is to celebrate the past and be challenged by the future. That’s what we’re really trying to do.”
Festivities kick off at 7 p.m. May 30 with an “old-fashioned concert” of previous ministers of music, choirs, ensembles and congregational singing.
A golf tournament begins at 8 a.m. May 31. The church’s activity center will open at 10 a.m. for fellowship. A lite dinner will be served at 5:30 p.m., followed by a “family gathering” in the church sanctuary with greetings from former pastors, staff and members.
The June 1 morning services will culminate the weekend’s festivities, Woods said.
“We’ll have a glorious worship service at 10 a.m. with great music, special greetings from Dr. Woodie Stevens, Clovis Mayor David Lansford and previous pastors,” he said. “There will also be a memorial service in honor of previous pastors who have passed away.”
The present pastor, the Rev. Vaughn Gossman, will deliver the morning message, followed by lunch at 12:15 p.m.
“Thematically, the message will focus on ‘story’ — we all have a story of where we came from and how we came to where we are,” he said. “As individuals, we have a story, and each church has a story.”
The story of First Church of the Nazarene began more than 75 years ago.
According to church historian Esther Burch, “the earliest records we have of the Clovis Church of the Nazarene came from C.J. Quante, a charter member of the initial organization in 1922.”
The church was first organized in 1922, and the first meeting place was the Curry County Courthouse. The district superintendent, the Rev. C.W. Davis, organized the church with 14 charter members.
“The Rev. Mrs. Mary I. Hartline was the first pastor, and services were held in an empty downtown building and in the Curry County Courthouse,” Burch wrote in her church history. “Records show that the Rev. Fred Powell and Rev. W.H. Harding were short-term pastors. For unknown reasons, this new church as disbanded after about three years.”
However, the church was reorganized sometime in 1926 by District Superintendent J.F. Roberts with 11 charter members. The Rev. Mrs. Mary I. Hartline was again the first pastor of the reorganized Nazarene church and served as pastor from 1926-29.
“As we look back over more than 75 years of history, there are many wonderful memories,” Burch wrote. “Through these many years, we can say that God has blessed us, led us, helped us through lots of rough times and held us steady. With God’s help, many lives have been transformed as we have reached out to them.”