Saturday I drove down to Wiggins (vs. driving UP to Starkville on Friday) for an overnight visit with old friends and to participate in the 115th anniversary celebration of First Baptist Church Wiggins. I am pretty sure I was part of the 75th anniversary (am also pretty sure my Mama was running the kitchen that day so I know I was doing something in a supporting role!), missed the 100th, but wanted to be there for this one. Am glad I did.
We came to FBCW when I was maybe two. Moved up the street from the Wiggins Presbyterian Church. I have some vague fuzzy recollection of my Daddy being baptized (he grew up in the Methodist church) while sitting in the balcony of what was, to me, the “Old Sanctuary”. My guess is that I was sitting with Warrene Watts (Brewer) and that Dr. Perrigo was preaching. In my mind, I just see that – one of my earliest recollections and honestly not sure if I see it because I was told it or that I imagined it from stories.
I do know that I went to Sunbeams with Mrs. Mathis in the “Old Sanctuary” and to Sunday School and VBS. I remember running down the long hall to the “Old Fellowship Hall” and how I thought that was a big happy room. I absolutely remember sitting as an almost 9 year old in Bro. Metts office on the Friday morning of VBS 1964 and telling him how I realized that I was the world that “God so loved” in John 3:16.
|Photo by Peggy Lee Baker|
We were so excited when we moved to the new Sanctuary and then to the new education building though I can assure you that it was more fun to be in the old building and run up and down the squeaky stairs and go to BTU and get on the old bus with Nathan (Barber) and later on the new bus with Coach Roberts and go off on adventures of all kinds. It was a great way to grow up and a rich fertile field in which to grow as a young Christian.
I remember after Camille making sandwiches (PB&J) by the ton and literally feeding and caring for hurting people – learned by watching my Mom and her friends and just pitching in and doing whatever was asked. It was an eye opening experience that taught be about living out my faith and being thankful for whatever we had to share.
I saw several folks who had such as impact on me as a kid and realized how many are now gone. I loved hearing Rick Williams, a descendant of one of the founding families say from the platform how much he appreciated what he learned from my Daddy (who was not there) and from Coach Roberts (who has gone on before us).
The pictures were what got me. There was a GA Coronation (not mine though I did get to be Queen) that included Ivery and me. There was a picture of Dad with the Building Committee. There was another of Ellen Batson, Mom’s BFF, who taught us missions and probably taught about a thousand kids in K4-5. And no less than 10 people said something to me about how many events there were that my Mama ran the kitchen.
And there was music. I played the organ and piano there, sang in the choir from kids through adult, learned to love “The Messiah” from Gene Clement and met there, for the first time, some guy named Lavon Gray. I listened to Suellen (Batson) Morrison and Laura (Breland) Koch play “Majesty and Glory” and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” as an organ/piano duet. They played “Majesty and Glory” at our wedding.
|Bell from Original (before my time) Sanctuary|
I baby sat for the preacher’s kids, played pool in the fellowship hall, and played on the church grounds with all my friends. Not to be forgotten, on July 8, 1989, Steve and I married there as did both my sisters in the years before me (Ivery/Jimmy 1977, Judy/Bob 1987).
Sometimes I don’t make time for things like this – lots always going on here especially this time of the year, but I am thankful I did. I realize that while I live here, Wiggins is probably always going to be “home”, certainly in the historical sense, and FBCW and her people past and present and the God they serve, provided the foundation for my life today.
Philippians 1:3-6 sums up my feelings best:
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.