Friendship Baptist Church (1869-Present)


From Ford's History of Moniteau County (1936):


This church is on highway 87 a little more than three miles south of California. The congregation was organized in 1869, its first building being about a quarter of a mile west of the present. The present site was donated by B. F. McCollester about 1888 and the old church was taken down and rebuilt at this place. It. was razed and replaced by the present building in 1916. Early members include the Allen, Hines, Dunham, Houge, Norman, Vernon, Bryan and Murray families.


From History of Concord Baptist Association (Cole, 1973):

Friendship Baptist Church was organized as a church on October 26, 1869 with fifteen members. In January, 1870, the ground was secured on which to build the church building. This was located about one-half mile west of the present building; however, by 1890 a new building was constructed which stood just south of the present building.

The present church building, located four miles south of California, was built in 1916 and was dedicated on July 5th. The pastor, Rev. L. E. Hedrich, drew the plans. He specifically planned the high ceiling of the auditorium because the voice of the speaker would carry much better than in a lower one. The carpenter, Jim Shull, was very particular in bracing the attic which some thought was beyond necessity; however, today we still have a sturdy church building.

The members have continued to improve their place of worship. In 1954, while Rev. Craig was pastor, a basement was begun. The kitchen and restrooms were added in 1957. By October 1960, the classrooms were completed by Rev. Allcorn, pastor. In July 1966, while Rev. Hilligoss was pastor, a new Baldwin piano and a Lowery organ were purchased for the church. In June 1972, the most recent improvement was the installation of air conditioning during the pastorate of Rev. Bartshe.

The church members undertook a major project in the summer of 1971, and that was the construction of a three bedroom parsonage. The building was completed in September of 1971 and is located just north of the church building. This is the first parsonage that the church has had, and it was certainly a much needed addition.

Preaching was only part time when the church was first organized. By 1943, with Rev. Carpenter as pastor, the church could have had full time preaching, but instead, they voted to send fifty per cent of all the offerings to foreign missions. In 1946, during the pastorate of Rev. Norman Williams, it was voted to have full time preaching which still continues. Revivals have been held one or two times each year. The longest revival was held in July of 1916 which lasted five weeks with preaching services both mornings and evenings. There were thirty-five members added to the church during this revival.
New organizations have been added to the church. Vacation Bible School was started in June of 1951, WMS and the Auxiliaries in 1952, and Training Union in 1956. In the last few years Friendship's membership has been about one hundred forty-five with around ninety enrolled in Sunday School.

Friendship church celebrated her Centennial October 26, 1969, with all day services and a basket dinner at noon. The church members were inspired to work for the Lord in the next hundred years as their ancestors had in the past hundred.


From the History of Moniteau County 1980:


Located three miles south of California, Missouri, on Highway 87, the Friendship Baptist Church was organized in October 1869 with fifteen charter members


Twelve Articles of Faith, the Church Covenant and Fifteen Rules of Decorum were listed for the church.


Rev. J. B. Bose was the first Pastor called in November 1869. The first church clerk was T. L. Farris; the first treasurer was W. F, Dunham. The first deacons, ordained in June 1870, were W. F. Hines and T. L. Farris.


In January 1870, the members agreed on the selection of a piece of ground to build a church. The first church was about one-half mile west of the present building. In 1889 plans were made for a new church building. Mr. and Mrs. Frank McCollester donated an acre of land at the present location. This building was dedicated in January of 1890. In 1915 it was decided to remodel the church building in order to have more room. Mr. Joe Ziebold said he would donate $100.00 toward a new building. This started the donations of other faithful members.       \


Rev. L. E. Hedrick, pastor at the time, drew the plans. He specifically planned the high ceiling of the auditorium so the voice of the speaker would carry better than in a lower one. Many donated labor as well as money to complete the new building. The old church was torn down and the lumber used in the new one, which is the present building. Rev. Hedrick preached the dedication sermon in July 1916. By now there were 60 members. In 1954 they voted to add a basement. Rev. George Craig was pastor at that time. He worked diligently on plans for this, but was called home to be with the Lord before completion. The basement work was done by members. The basement was completed in December 1954. The kitchen and restrooms were added on 1957, and in 1960 the basement partitioned for Sunday School rooms. Rev. Don Allcorn pastor at that time did some of the carpenter work, and held the dedication service in October 1960.


Friendship has always been a Singing church. The first musical instrument was a pump organ; in 1916 the church purchased the first piano; in July, 1966, while Rev. Robert Hilligoss was pastor, a Baldwin piano and a Lowery organ were purchased.


Bible School was started in June 1951, while Rev. George Craig was pastor, with an enrollment of 72. In 1952 Women's Missionary Union was organized with Mrs. Craig as president. Royal Ambassadors, Girls Auxiliary and Sunbearns were organized that same year. Training Union was organized in 1956 under the leadership of Rev. James Duell who was pastor at that time.


In May 1971 it was voted to build a parsonage while Rev. Arthur Bartshe was pastor, Mrs. Maude Francis gave the ground for it. It was completed by October 1971. Dedication service was held by Rev. R. V. Wilson, as he was interim pastor' at that time. In April 1974, it was voted to add a library and Pastors Study to the church. It was completed in November 1974. Dedication services were held November 10, 1974 the Rev. R. C. Reichert, Association Missionary, as speaker.


The present (1980) church membership is 140. Acting pastor is Rev. Charles Ahlemann.


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