Nearly 101 years after the founding of Central Baptist Church, members gathered Sunday morning, Oct. 13, to celebrate the unveiling of a Texas Historical Marker recognizing the church's history and service to the city of Port Arthur.
"For a church to have its doors open for a hundred years requires a lot of faith and a lot of work," said Port Arthur mayor Bobbie Prince. "Evidently the founding fathers of this church and the current members have exhibited both."
Les McMahen, marker committee chairman of the Jefferson County Historical Commission, said the history of the church in the community and in Texas as well as the age of the church were factors in the decision by the Texas Historical Commission in Austin to award the marker to Central Baptist Church. He added that the application was for the church as a body rather than for the church as a building. Although founded in 1912, the church didn't relocate to its current location, the fourth site of the congregation, until 1976.
One of the members leading the initiative to apply for the marker, Dr. John Storey — a member of the church for more than 40 years and distinguished regents professor emeritus of history at Lamar University — said that an elder member of the congregation suggested the idea of applying for the marker.
Rev. Dr. Phillip Sigman, pastor of the church since 1998, said the marker shows a commitment to the community and the power of the Gospel.
"We're just blessed and privileged to be able to be here for so long and to have a ministry with so many people," he said.
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