ROSEVILLE – During a period of declining attendance and church closings across the country, the Roseville Christian Church is still alive and ready to celebrate its 150th anniversary.
Bill Gossett, a member of the church for over 70 years, said the church is still alive today “because of the faith, the family and their future generations.” Some families go back at least six generations. He remembers going to church with his grandmother in the 1940s.
Their congregation’s 150th anniversary at this site will be celebrated with a special service on Sunday, November 28 at 9:30 am David Bycroft will bring the message and the Bycroft brothers (David, Stephen and Harry) will perform special music. . A slideshow of generations of members, former ministers, youth ministers and Timothys (those who are ordained in church or who have left here and have been ordained elsewhere to minister) will be presented, as well as video clips provided by various people.
Attendees will receive keepsakes of the occasion, with additional keepsakes available for purchase. Memories from the past 150 years will be on display to walk the path of memory and see where the years have taken those who served and worshiped here.
The church was first organized in 1845 at the Downey Schoolhouse in Swan Township, with around 30 founding members. The first pastors were John Ecles Murphy, John Milton Dodge, John C. Reynolds and Smith Wallace. The group then moved to the Taylor Schoolhouse in Roseville Township, east of Roseville, around 1867.
The year 1871 brought several challenges to the places, but the group persevered and found a permanent home in Roseville. Eight members joined Ellison northwest of Roseville. Pastors during this transition period were CE Aids and John C. Reynolds. The congregation came together to reorganize and worship in the two-story frame school on West Penn Avenue.
The group of about 40 members decided to build that same year. The property at 215 West Broadway was purchased from the John Reeves Estate on February 15, 1871, for $ 159. The total cost of erecting the original building was $ 1,500.
During the construction process, JF Leck held the first revival meetings for the village, adding about 30 members to the role. He remained parish priest for two years. Matthew Jones also served as a pastor for those early years, also hosting a revival, and the church grew to 100 members. Jones is the great-great-grandfather of Diane (Hollenberg) Hawk, a member of the church today. The rectory was built around 1877 at a cost of around $ 600 and a basement was added to the church. The buildings were dedicated on August 12, 1894.
Revivals continued to be an integral part of the church. The two-week rerun of February / March 1953 with Medford Jones and Dorothy Keister, with Bill Griffin as minister, brought 113 additions to the corps.
More space was needed for Sunday school, so they voted to start a new construction program. Another member recalled, “I was young, but I was so impressed with the Win One class and the Willing Workers who worked so hard to serve farmhouse sales dinners to raise money for the. construction fund. “
The new two-story educational wing was first used for the holiday Bible school in 1957 and officially opened on February 16, 1958.
A second phase of the new building program was passed at a special meeting of the congregation on January 17, 1965. The final services in the original building were held on Easter Sunday, April 18, 1965, with 301 participants. . Early the following Monday morning, members of the congregation gathered and moved the furniture to prepare for the shaving of the building. This phase was under the supervision of Grady Smith. The construction committee consisted of Joe T. Adkisson and CC Gossett, co-chairs; Irvin Young, treasurer; Rudy Corman, Eldon Brooks and Harold Ruble. The first official services took place in the new building on February 6, 1966, with 296 participants. Some 595 people attended the dedication services on March 13, 1966. Jim Oliver was Minister at that time (1964-1971).
In 1985, during the ministry of Tom Mehaffy, another extension added the administrative wing to the southeast corner of the church, adding offices and a library.
The most recent addition, “The Imagine Center” or “Family Life Center” was added to the current communion hall in 2005, allowing the church, community and families to come together. Much of the work was provided by the congregation, and it was finally dedicated on April 20, 2008, with Tim Randall as minister. It includes floor space for the gymnasium, additional classrooms, a toilet and a spacious kitchen. It has been used by the church and by the community for meals, meetings and sporting activities. The Roseville Volunteer Fire Department also called on the church to shelter those stranded in winter storms in case of an emergency.
The book of Timothy asks Christians to take care of widows and children. The church has participated in this care through Illini Children’s Christian Home and LaMoine Christian Nursing Home. These two institutions were established in 1968 and 1969. The children’s home was built in Macomb, for use in this part of the state. The nursing home was built in Roseville in 1971 with Jim Oliver taking on the challenge of running the home.
The church held its first mission-pledging faith gathering in November 1967, pledging $ 11,260. This program began with missionaries, Darrel Stanley and his wife, Anne, in South Africa, Dorothy Nichols in the United States, Francisco Villa in Mexico, Bible colleges and many others. They currently support 14 missions.
In recent years, they have averaged over $ 100,000 in pledges at annual Faith Promise Missions gatherings.
Roseville Church has had 49 different ministers over its 150-year history. Youth Premier Lynn Ragsdale was hired in 1971. They have had several over the years, developing and serving programs for the youth and families of the church. The current Minister for Youth is Allison VanFleet. In addition to the college and high school youth group and activities, the church offers an after-school program, a children’s church, and a Sunday school for all ages on Sunday mornings.