Church of God to celebrate 60th anniversary

| October 12, 2014

COSHOCTON – The Church of God has grown a lot in the past 60 years.

It started in 1954 with a Thursday evening prayer meeting at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Marion Grubb in Roscoe and within a few weeks moved to a small store room on Main Street in Roscoe.

“The founding pastor was (the late) Wilbur McKnight and his wife Nadine is 96 and still lives in Coshocton,” said Senior Pastor James Childers

In 1955, a new building was completed at 703 S. Second Street, in the 70s a fellowship hall was added, in the 80s an education wing was built, and this spring a new kitchen was finished.

Childers has served the church for three and a half years and is proud to have been part of the kitchen update.

“The ladies had squeezed themselves into a tiny kitchen for years and they deserved this,” he said. “We had a gentleman who had never been married, had no kids and no extended family, remember us in his trust. He gifted us a nice sum of money that we were able to use to accomplish this project and have zero debt from.”

Childers hopes to eventually be able to use the kitchen to offer more programs to the community.

“The biggest change since I’ve been here is that we are trying to become more a part of the community,” he said. “We want to let the community know that we are here to minister to their needs. We don’t have a food pantry or anything like that, but we do finically support the pantry at New Life Ministries and can direct people to them.”

The Church of God also is trying to reach more families with young children.

“When we first came here they hadn’t done Vacation Bible School for 10 to 12 years,” Childers said. “We reinstituted it as another way to reach out to the community.”

Vacation Bible School is open to the community and has been held for the past three years. This summer it was held in July and about 30 children attended.

“It was the largest since I’ve been here, but it’s grown a little every year,” Childers said.

Jared Mitchell, who joined the church in August as the youth and children’s pastor, also was happy about the turnout and is hoping to reach more area youth at a young age.

“We want them to know that church is a safe place,” he said. “There are people at church that love them no matter what and God also loves them no matter what. They can be themselves here.”

While both Mitchell and Childers would love to see the church grow, they also are very appreciative of the core group of members who have helped it thrive over the years.

“There are people that have been here 20, 25, 30 and even 35 years,” Childers said. “They’ve poured themselves into the ministry physically, mentally and financially. They are givers in all aspects.”

The church recently held a work day to clean and Childers said about 20 people showed up to help and one of them was 86-years-old.

“That generation is the core and the glue that has held us together,” he said.

The community is welcome to come learn more about the church and help celebrate its 60th anniversary during a Family Fun Day scheduled for 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18. There will be free food from 12 to 1:30 p.m., a bounce house, tractor train, emergency vehicles on display, a demonstration from the K9 unit, an inflatable obstacle course, face painting, balloons and prizes for the kids.  The church also is having a revival meeting at 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 19 and 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 20, with the Rev. Richard Bradley of Oak Hill, W.Va.

There are currently about 40-50 people in The Church of God’s congregation and Childers describes them as a more traditional church.

“We don’t have a praise and worship band,” he said. “We still sing out of the old hymn books. Those songs are still relevant and have messages.”

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About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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