The First Baptist Church of West City, Illinois


Church Location

The Church building is located at 706 West Church Street, Benton,Illinois-- just behind the Gray Plaza Motel. If you are entering the city of Benton from the West, or off of interstate 57, you would turn RIGHT at the first stop light and then make another right at the first street you come to. Follow the road and the Church will be on the left one block down. If you are leaving Benton going west away from the court house, you would make a left at this light, which is the only one between the courthouse and interstate 57, and then make a right at the first street. One block down is the Church on the left.


NOTE: Click on the RED Link to take you to the assigned Pastors for each time period.


Condensed Church History

The Church was organized on April 26, 1884 with 14 charter members; Joseph McDonald, William Mooneyham, Daniel Mooneyham, Mary A. Mooneyham, John G. Buchanan, Sarah Jane Buchanan, John Casky, Rachel Casky, Thomas Mooneyham, Fannie Mooneyham, Telitha C. Wilkerson, James J. Miller, Harriet Miller, and Mary Casky; as the SECOND UNITED BAPTIST CHURCH OF BENTON, ILLINOIS.

The frame building, which housed the church, was located on East Church St where the Benton Evening News building now stands. In 1909 the building was cut into two sections and moved, one section at a time by a man named Charley Nance, to its present location at 706 West Church Street, West City, Illinois. The name of the Church was changed to NEW PROSPECT BAPTIST CHURCH.

In 1918, the name of the Church became the FIRST MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH OF WEST CITY -- often called -- THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF WEST CITY, ILLINOIS.

At approximately 9:30 p.m. on the night of January 19, 1940 the original building was destroyed by fire. A revival meeting was in progress, conducted by the Rev. J.R. McDuffy, the newly elected Pastor. About twenty minutes after the crowd had dispersed for the nignt -- the fire was discovered. The building was a total loss -- the believed result of an overheated furnace.

The First Baptist Church of Benton allowed the members to meet in their gymnasium until their new build was completed. On February 6, 1940 the first work of digging a basement was begun and on June 6, 1940 just five months after the church burned, the first meeting was held in the new building.

Rev. Lloyd Frye was Pastor (1942-1944), when the steeple bell was donated to the church by the "Primitive Baptist Church of Marion, Illinois after that church had ceased operations and their building demolished. The bell was placed in the belfry at the First Baptist Church of West City on a Sunday by an oil field worker using a tractor with a long crane. The bell has rang every Sunday for years except for a short period from January 1, 2010 through mid March 2010. The Bell was accidently turned over during a Night Watch Service conducted on December 31, 2009 to bring in the new year.

This accident turned into a blessing for the Church as the man who turned the bell back over discovered that the roof had extensive storm damage and needed replaced. The damage had occured during the May 8, 2009 super storm, which struck Southern Illinois, and repairs were covered by insurance. Installation of the new roof was completed on April 28, 2010.

In the subsequent years, after the new church was built, other improvements were made to the structure; A new gable roof; in 1957 new classrooms in the basement; in 1960 brick veneer and stained glass windows; and in 2001 a new fellowship hall and garage were added. This year, 2010, a utility structure has been added near the garage to provide storage for the lawn equipment and other items. The LORD continues to bless this CHURCH.

As indicated in the above article you will note that the basement bible study classrooms were completed in 1957. Beginning in November, 2010 we began a renovation project of this area with a water barrier along the walls, new carpet, dropped ceiling and lights, classroom doors and furniture and a complete paint job through out. . All work in the basement area was completed on Saturday, Feburary 19, 2011 and the classrooms were returned to the Church and the Sunday School Teachers in a formal Dedication service conducted in that area on Sunday Evening February 20, 2011.

We still have to upgrade the nursery, which is being moved upstairs. That part has not been completed and the nursery is not available for use at this time. A notice will be posted when it is ready.



PASTORS WHO HAVE SERVED THE CHURCH



THE SECOND UNITED BAPTIST CHURCH OF BENTON

PASTOR DATE OF SERVICE
W.L. Rowland April 26, 1884 to May, 1886
James A. Durham May, 1886 to September, 1888
H.P. Belanger October, 1888 to January, 1889
H. Vise February, 1889
J.A. Durham February, 1889 to March, 1889
J.C. Noland April, 1889 to August, 1892
Joseph H. Allen August, 1892 to April 1896
Calvin Richardson May, 1896 to August, 1901
L. Estes September, 1901 to August, 1904
John Sneed September, 1904 to June, 1905
John A. McClintock February, 1906 to August, 1906
O.E. Barnwell September, 1906 to June, 1908
G. W. Sneed November, 1908 to October, 1909



THE NEW PROSPECT CHURCH OF MISSIONARY BAPTIST OF WEST CITY, ILLINOIS"

PASTOR DATE OF SERVICE
John McClintock July, 1911 to August, 1914
Sid Richardson September, 1914 to August, 1917
J.A. Musgrave September, 1917 to August, 1918



THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF WEST CITY, ILLINOIS

PASTOR DATE OF SERVICE
Sid Richardson September, 1918 to August, 1921
H. A. Meyers September, 1921 to July 1922
H. C. Mitchell September, 1922 to July, 1923
J. R. McDuffy August, 1923, to July, 1925
H. C. Mitchell August, 1925 to August, 1927
T. B. Hunt August, 1927 to August, 1928
R. A. McCarvens September, 1929 to December, 1929
Arlie Webb February, 1930 to November 1930
Ezra Bailey January, 1931 to August, 1932
E. J. Cravens September, 1932 to August, 1936
Tinsley J. Sanders September, 1936 to July, 1938
Leon Fox August, 1938 to September, 1939
J. R. McDuffy January, 1940 to August, 1940
Hobert O. Starkey September, 1940 to November, 1940
S. T. Richardson January, 1941 to April, 1942
Lloyd Frye August, 1942 to November, 1944
W. R. Evans December, 1944 to 1945
Charles Holland September, 1945 to August, 1950
Howard Taylor April, 1947 to August, 1950
J. W. Hogg September, 1950 to May, 1952
James Merriman June, 1952 to April, 1953
Robert C. Fuson, Jr August, 1953 to August, 1956
Paul Dann, Sr 1956 to May, 1961
Ron Smith June, 1961 to August, 1962
Theron Arnold November, 1962 to December, 1964
Howard Opperman May, 1965 to April, 1967
Leonard Cole July, 1967 to 1973
Tom Powell July, 1973
Arthur D'Haillecourt August, 1974 to September, 1976
Roy W. Simpson December, 1976 to June, 1987
Carroll Toler October, 1987 to October, 1989
David McAnally March, 1990 to November, 1993
Bert Mitchell March, 1994, to Present Time



More Later!

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