Aging gracefully: First Baptist Church in Texico was built 100 years ago this month

Texico Baptist Youth Minister Seth Ellsworth plays the guitar as he leads the youth group in worship Wednesday at the church. (CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth)

By Leslie Radford: CNJ staff writer

Marie Wall of Bellview drives almost 45 miles every Sunday to attend services at the First Baptist Church in Texico. All week she has been preparing a tray of vegetables to take with her this Sunday to participate in the church’s centennial celebration, “Forwarding the Faith Founded by His Grace.”

As a member for the last “40 or so years,” Wall said she enjoys the social aspect of church where she mingles with fellow Christians from Farwell, Muleshoe, Portales and other towns in the area — around 200 she guesses — and at 87, has made it to church every week this year except Easter Sunday when the snow kept her at home.

“There was snow up to my knees,” she said. “I closed the door, turned around, put on my PJs and went back to bed.”
But she doesn’t plan on missing church this Sunday. In fact, she is looking most forward to one particular event— the one she’s prepared for a week.

“We’re Baptists, you see,” she explained. “We’re going to eat and eat and then eat some more.”

Each Sunday school class was assigned a food item to bring to feed anyone who wants to take part in the anniversary celebration. Events begin at 9 a.m. with a presentation on the history of the church. Worship starts at 10:15 a.m. Lunch is served at noon.

“We were assigned to bring the fingerfoods,” said Wall who teaches the women’s Bible study group. She did her grocery shopping Monday evening to make sure she had plenty of pickles and other veggies to top the hamburgers.

For the last five years, Rob Hollis has been a pastor at the church, established on April 5, 1905. He said the celebration will mainly be a time of worship, an opportunity to hear testimonies of former ministers of the congregation and enjoy good food and music.

“Our history shows that we are a biblically-based church with a strong reputation as a conservative church, a fundamental church,” he said. “The members are excited (about seeing the communion turn 100 years old). It’ll be a time to reflect on what God has done for us in the past and what he’ll do for us in future.”