Visitors from as far away as Albury came to help Bathurst Baptist Church celebrate its 160th anniversary on Saturday 18th March.
Among the attendees were former pastors Frank Willis, Gary Baker, Rob Feeney and Bob Smith.
Bathurst Baptist Church was formed in 1863 and the first church was built at 100 Keppel Street, on the site now occupied by Veritas House. The church met in Keppel Street until 1974. Seventeen people who were part of the Keppel Street congregation came to the anniversary.
A new larger church was built in Stewart Street and opened in in July 1974. However, within a few years the church had outgrown this site, despite an extension being added.
November 1985 saw the church buying a 2-hectare block of vacant land at the corner of Ophir and Eglinton Roads. It was a grassy paddock with just a few farmhouses nearby.
The Stewart Street building was sold to the Salvation Army and in 1987-88 the Eglinton Road church complex was constructed with much work done by voluntary labour from the church family. The building was opened in November 1988.
Today the church is surrounded by new housing estates that have sprung up in the past thirty years.
The history of the church has been recorded in a book titled “Scattering the Good Seed ~ 160 Years of Baptists in Bathurst”. The book was compiled by Keith Painter, building on previous writings, photos and research done by Geoff Benson and Elaine Fox.
The book was launched at the anniversary event by the Secretary of the Baptist Historical Society of NSW, Ronald Cardwell. Copies are available online at www.mountainmistbooks.com
Activities of the church include Sunday service at 9.30am, Cafe Church at 6pm on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month, and Playtime on Wednesday mornings at 10am.