From the Heritage Room
When Rev. Bob Lasater retired in 1982 after 23 years as Associate Minister, he was instrumental in the formation of a History Committee which collected documents, photographs, committee reports, deacon minutes, church conference minutes and various other church info. A lot of this information had been in Bob’s personal files. The information was housed in the small room next to the parlor (now the Brides’ Room), As this original faithful committee aged out, the History Room became a neglected depository of materials on shelves, on tables, in a filing cabinet, and in cardboard boxes.
In early 2011 after I retired, I decided to take on the task of identifying and organizing the materials and enlisted the help of Linda Crowder. About the same time, Dr. Dennis Foust arrived as the Senior Minister. He questioned why St. John’s was not celebrating its heritage. Thus in 2012, Heritage Sunday began to be celebrated on the third Sunday in March, the Sunday closest to the formal organization of the church on March 26 (1922). A Heritage Task Force was formed of church members and staff to organize this yearly celebration. I took on the task of general organization of information and Linda Crowder took on the task of photographic and artifact displays bulletin boards, and photography at church events. Together Linda and I began a search through all the cabinets and closets throughout the building and asked the staff to look through their closets and files for information about the church’s history. At some point, Linda and I assumed the titles of co-archivists (an archivist is a person who assembles, catalogs, preserves, and manages collections of historical information).
With all the newly discovered information, a larger space was needed. The Heritage Room was relocated to an unused adult Sunday School room on the first floor underneath the Sanctuary. After the move to the lower level, all the collected information needed to be organized. A plan was devised to sort these materials by date, placing the information for each decade in a separate notebook. Information about various church events and other information, such as newspaper clippings, which pertained to individual staff members were put into a separate binder for church staff. A separate binder was also put together for pictures and other ephemera related to the church building which has been added to and remodeled at various times through the years. There were also documents that were put in separate file folders by decade, including Leadership Reports, Youth Directories, WMU directories, church surveys, and remodeling program plans.
The old books containing conference and deacon minutes and membership information, old WMU records (meeting minutes and yearbooks) and the oldest church bulletins and bound copies of the Family News were put in fireproof cabinets.
At the same time, Linda Crowder was documenting and putting together yearbooks for Women of the Church yearly events as well as Heritage Sundays. She has also organized various photographs into albums. Linda, along with daughter Whitney have continued to document events in the life of St. John’s through photography. Linda has continued to make sure programs of events are kept. Nina Phillips has put together a binder documenting the church’s relationship with our Sudanese friends, the Lost Boys.
The Heritage Room moved again in early 2022 to a more spacious room on the Chapel Hall next to the Parlor.
Many thanks to all those who have helped organize and document the 100 Year History of St. John’s Baptist Church. Special thanks to the late Rev. Roberts (Bob) Lasater for beginning the process, to Ken Sanford for his writings as Church Historian, and to Sally Young’s late father Richard Young, a charter member of the church who kept the minutes of the meetings in the early days of the formation of St. John’s Baptist Church.
Thank you to all those who have donated items, time, and funds and those who have helped in the creation of the Heritage Room—among them being Kim Allen, Teri Franklin, Nancy Fuller, Betty Harkey, Bobbie Hinson, Ashley and Wanny Hogewood, Ken Hungate, Ruth Jackson, Joy Jarrett, James Laney, Melissa Millette, Carl and Nina Phillips, Betty Thompson, and Laura Sorrell. Special thanks to those who have contributed to the 100th Anniversary book (which hopefully will be published later this year) — Bill Claytor, David Erdman, Dr. Dennis Foust, Teri Franklin, Dr. Thomas Graves, Wanny Hogewood, Ashley Maready, Ken Hungate, the family of Tom Peacock, Nina Phillips, Ken Sanford, Betty Thompson, and current and past staff members. Special thanks to Sally Young for taking on the challenging and time-consuming work of authoring the main portions of the Anniversary book as well as other assistance in the Heritage Room. Thank you to the following staff members for their enthusiastic interest and support of the creation of the Heritage Room and Heritage Sunday Celebrations—Dr. Dennis Foust, Kevin Gray, and Rev. Lee Gray. Also, thanks to Peggy Harrison and Jerry Stephens, former Church Secretaries, and the more recent Administrative Staff, Jacquelyn McAbee and Mallory Brown, for their valuable assistance.
Linda and I continue our efforts to organize information, add resources, and make accessible the story of the Heritage of St. John’s and to accept donations of any items related to the history of St. John’s Baptist Church. We are looking forward to new ideas for displaying and sharing our history as we enter upon our Second Century.