A Chesterfield church is celebrating its beginnings with the unveiling of a state historical highway marker.
First Baptist Church in Centralia was founded by former slaves in 1867. Back then, it was called Salem African Baptist Church and the members met in a brush arbor. Their legacy, as well as the architectural significance of the newer church building, is being honored 148 years later.
Church members were proud of how far they've come. "We are walking in their footsteps. We are standing on their shoulders, and carrying the legacy forward for generations after us," history committee chair Dr. Jane Baskerville said.
"Chesterfield County often says it is the land of the giants. They do things in a big way. Here we are being recognized in such a way statewide. It says a lot about the church and the institution it represents. It says that the values are to continue on in our community if we're going to survive and be strong," pastor Dr. Wilson E. B. Shannon said.
The church will celebrate and dedicate the marker this Saturday at 11 a.m. at the historic site, located at 4412 Centralia Road. Everyone is invited to attend.
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