Lafayette's Progressive Baptist Church celebrated its 95th anniversary today.
The church, located on East Simcoe, has weathered many storms, including the pandemic. That health crisis meant a little different celebration this year.
The church held a celebration in the church parking lot, led by Pastor Lloyd Joiner Jr. We spoke with deacons Bob Sellman and Charles Young about the celebration.
"This is a great opportunity to celebrate 95 years of service to the Lafayette area," said Deacon Young. "Certainly the Lord has blessed us. A long time ago, a group of spiritual individuals came together to create and develop and pray about establishing a church, and here we are 95 years later."
Progressive has a beautiful church, a community center and an education center. Joiner has been with the church for 41 years, he said.
"We've been blessed to have Pastor Joiner as our leader, as the shepherd for our flock," Young said. "We're just blessed to be here to be able to celebrate, not just the now and the future, but the past. We had a small memorial service this week to remember those who came before us."
The past months have been a challenge, Sellman said.
"The virus has really kept us out of the sanctuary since March, but it's been wonderful to see how our congregation has pulled together in spite of adversity," Sellman said. "Actually, we've prospered, and we continue to grow and we can only thank the Lord for that."
Since March, the church has held worship services outside in the parking lot. That didn't stop anybody from coming to church, Young said.
"Our congregation has been faithful. We fellowship one way or another, and we're grateful," Young said. "In spite of what's going on, you can still have fellowship."
"We ask people to keep the faith," Sellman added. "This has been a very trying year. We all need to work together to show love for our fellow man, and work through this period, because this will not last forever. But what we do will last forever, and we need to work together."
The church also offers virtual services on YouTube and Facebook.