One hundred years ago this month, residents of Jay and the surrounding areas, made a decision which would impact generations of Delaware Countians for years to come.
The group, following a visit by evangelist James Rider, decided a Southern Baptist presence was needed within Jay.
Those services, in which church historians say Rider was a "voice in the wilderness" prompted the group to form what is now First Baptist Church in Jay.
In the beginning, the congregation met at the Delaware County Courthouse, and with a "young county judge" J. Grover Scales permission, used one of the courtrooms as its initial gathering place.
The congregation built their first structure on the site of its current home, on north Fourth Street, in 1921.
Members then completed the first floor of the educational wing in 1941, and the second floor in 1945.
Current pastor, Johnnie Faught, said the congregation has been adding to the property ever since.
Faught is the 25th pastor to serve the people who attend First Baptist Church. He follows in the footsteps of the first pastor, L.M. Reynolds who served the new congregation from 1919 to 1920.
Faught said the congregation has had its "ups and downs" over the years, but for the most part has continued to be a faithful, visible ministry to those in Jay and the surrounding communities.
"The logo we created for the centennial says 'celebrating our past, believing in our future,'" Faught said. "We hope to do more ministry in Jay for another 100 years or until the Lord comes."
Faught said the ministry of the church has evolved in the last century.
"We have about every kind of ministry you can think of," he said, listing youth, children's, men's, women's, senior adult, and missions as a few of the congregations' offerings.
"We have a desire to serve the lord and see people come to know Christ, through discipleship and by becoming mature Christians," Faught said.
During the weekend celebration, which spans both Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 14 and 15, Faught said members and pastors - both past and present, will gather for a time of sharing, fellowship and remembering.
Saturday's events, set for 1 to 5 p.m., on the church grounds, will include a variety of outdoor activities for children, music and light refreshments. Participants are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets, and spend time fellowshipping with friends.
Sunday's activities begin with a worship service at 10 a.m. Faught said members of the church's praise team, along with the choral ministry directed by Dr. Greg Lamp, will provide music.
Several former pastors will be on hand for the service, with Dr. Anthony Jordan, the executive director for the Baptist Convention in Oklahoma, serving as the keynote speaker.
Faught hopes Jordan will use his time to challenge the members to dream of ways they can continue to serve their community for the next century and beyond.
More about Jordan
Anthony Jordan was born in Ponca City, Oklahoma, and grew up in Skiatook.
He accepted Christ and was baptized at First Baptist Church, Skiatook.
He committed his life to special service at Falls Creek and surrendered to the preaching ministry at First Southern Baptist Church, Pratt, Kansas.
He was licensed to the gospel ministry by Immanuel Baptist Church, Skiatook, and ordained by Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, Lebanon, Missouri.
He is married to the former Polla Crutchfield. They have a son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter, Adrian, Janae, and Lydia, and a daughter, Alisha.
A graduate of Southwest Baptist University, he earned his master's degree and doctoral degrees from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
In 2010, Jordan was presented with an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Oklahoma Baptist University.
In 2011, he was presented with the President’s Medallion from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Jordan was honored in 2017 with the Spirit Award from the Oklahoma Jail and Prison Ministry, and the Herschel H. Hobbs Award for Distinguished Denominational Service from Oklahoma Baptist University.
After serving as pastor for 28-and-a-half years, in 1996, Jordan was elected executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO). The BGCO is made up of 1,812 congregations with 614,882 members.