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Gilfield Baptist celebrates 150 years

Published 1:00pm Saturday, November 30, 2013

Merle Monahan/Contributing Writer
merlemonah@aol.com

Dr. Curtis Harris, former pastor of Gilfield for 33 years. -- Merle Monahan | Tidewater News
Dr. Curtis Harris, former pastor of Gilfield for 33 years. — Merle Monahan | Tidewater News

IVOR—Gilfield Baptist Church concluded a six-month-long celebration of its 150th anniversary last week with a service at the church that drew almost 400 people.

Members, former members and friends from all around the Tidewater area filled the church to capacity to hear Dr. Ivan Harris of First Baptist Church in Denbigh bring the word. The service was held following dinner for everyone in the church fellowship hall.

“It was a wonderful service,” said Shirley Winnegan-Harris, chair of the anniversary committee. “There were as many as seven pastors here, including two of Gilfield’s former pastors, Dr. Curtis Harris and Rev. Eustis Mitchell.

“Dr. Curtis Harris was our pastor for 33 years,” she added.

The church, organized in1863 by descendants of slaves who attended Tucker Swamp Baptist Church, is located on the same parcel of land donated to Gilfield trustees by William and Eliza Diggs 10 years later. It started under a brush harbor with just a handful of members.

Members gradually collected enough money to build a small building and from this, the church has grown to what it is today.

The celebration started in May when a banquet was held at Tabernacle Christian Church in Suffolk, said Harris. “That was leading up to this.”

Several pastors spoke during the three-hour service, which was led by the current pastor of Gilfield, the Rev. Kenneth Ricks. A guest choir provided music.

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