FBC celebrates a day of history and heritage complete with marker

Posted Tuesday, May. 07, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Weatherford is a city proud of its history and its heritage and on Saturday, a part of that history was recognized.

Few establishments in Weatherford have been around as long as the First Baptist Church, which this year celebrates its 157th year of existence.

For its history and impact on the community, the church received a historical marker from the state that was revealed at Saturday’s ceremony.

“At the very least, this is proof that Baptists are hard to get rid of,” senior pastor David George said of the recognition for the church’s history. “The church that meets at the corner of Palo Pinto and Alamo is alive and well.”

Members of the church, city officials and residents attended the dedication service which included a color guard, a reading of the history of the church and recognition of those involved in the accomplishment.

George asked those in attendance to think of all the services, revivals, baptisms, dedications and fried chicken meals that had occurred in the church that had been meeting since before the Civil War.

John Westoff said that the first pastor of the church in the 1850s had likely come to the area with a pistol in one hand and a Bible in the other, as the area was still wild.

Tom Wilkins, the chairman of deacons who read the history of the church, said the church grew despite the untamed land that included Native American raids, cattle drives and other opposition.

Jack Borden, who had been a member of the church for 77 years at the time of his death in 2011, first initiated the process of getting the marker in 2010 when he approached member Jo Sneed who then approached Dr. Harold Lawrence of the historical commission.

Judge Mark Riley referred to Borden as the fire that started the wheels rolling on receiving the marker.

Lawrence said he could not resist the request Borden, Sneed and other members of the committee brought, and he was glad to help them.

“It was a pleasure to work with them,” Lawrence said.

In 2011, the request was officially approved – just a week after Borden died.

Westoff, who is Borden’s nephew and a colleague, said he believes his uncle would be pleased with the accomplishment that came as a result of his request.

While reviewing the history of the church, the dedication ceremony also took time to look ahead to the future.

“We’re building on what our past represents,” said Judy Flanagan, district director for Rep. Phil King. “But looking forward to the future and what we can do.”

Over the years, members from the church played important roles in starting other churches in the county including some in Hudson Oaks, Willow Park, Aledo and others in Weatherford.

Mayor Dennis Hooks declared May 4 to be First Baptist Church Weatherford Day.

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