The First Baptist Church of West City, Illinois

MEMORIES -- By Geneva Summers

I began coming to West City Church when I was 8 years old. We moved here from Valier, Illinois. That would have been 1930. A wonderful neighbor, who later became my Sunday School teacher, Madge Miller, came over and invited me to church. Having never gone to church before I was really excited. Mom finally said I could go and it was great. I was very shy, but soon came to know the kids. I remember Bro. Tinsley Sanders and his wife, Ruby. We had an Easter program I was put in the "Green and Purple Drill." We had green and purple outfits and marched around cris crossing and waving our flags. It was beautiful and I felt like I was a Sunday Hayward. We did lots of different things for kids. Dad was pretty strict and I never got to go to many things, but when I did it was so exciting. Mom would always take me to revivals. We'd go with Cora MdFarland. I really enjoyed those times.

On January 5, 1938 "our" church (even though not a member) had a revival. I remember the Holy Spirit began to convict me of my sins. I remember going to the altar when asked by my Sunday School Teacher if I wanted to be saved. Yes, my heart was ready and I accepted Him as Lord and Saviour. I can remember Cora Davis, Mrs. Pedersen, Viana Davis and several other saints of God praying with me. It was a wonderful experience and I've never forgotten it. Jesus came in and He's still there today. Some times He feels so far away, but it isn't Him that's far away, it's me. But, when I come back He's always there.

On December 23, 1940, I married Jim and in the next 20 years we had our family. Shirley, Jimmy, Marsha, Brian and Del. Everyone always said we had two families but no really, just distance between. Our church had gone up in flames on the night of January 19, 1940. Not long after I was married. We had services in the gym of the "Big Baptist Church" uptown. Strange! but we kept together and planned for a new church. We got one by God's grace and mercy and by hard work and labor of our faithful members.

God allowed our church to grow and grow. We've built on and added a baptistry and made class rooms in the basement, put on brick veneer, new steeple, and a new gable roof, to name just a few. God has used me for which I'm very thankful. Not that I was good enough, for of myself I can do nothing, but He made the difference. He made me willing to be used by Him. I've taught all ages from college down, I've worked in W.M.U. both church and county. I've made a "joyful noise" in the choir and also sat in the pew and listened to some of the greatest preaching. God has been so great to me and my praise for Him will always be. For only by His mercy and His grace am I here today serving Him and lettin Him use me. Praise the Lord!



The First Baptist Church of West City, Illinois will celebrate our 129th anniversary on Sunday April 25, 2013. Geneva, who is still a member, is unable to attend regular services due to her age and current health. She recently had a 90th birthday party, at the assisted living facility where she resides, which was attended by both family and church members. We miss her presence in the Sunday Congregation -- her prayers are beautiful -- filled with love and compasion. Lots of Love to you Geneva -- from everyone at the Church.

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