St. Elmo First Baptist closes its doors

After nearly a century of ministry the doors of the First Baptist Church of St. Elmo have closed, according to the Rev. Mike Hall, former pastor of St. Elmo First Baptist (1998-2002) and current director of missions for the Kaskaskia Baptist Association.  
"During the life of St. Elmo First Baptist, literally thousands of people’s lives were touched and challenged with the gospel of Jesus Christ," Hall said.
Seven people founded the church on Sunday, Aug. 3, 1917. The new congregation rented the Old Opera House in downtown St. Elmo as its official meeting place for a time.
By the 1930s, the church had moved to its final location at 801 N. Walnut St. The current building was constructed in 1942, when the community was experiencing the oil boom. Many Southern Baptist oil workers came to the area from Oklahoma and the church grew very rapidly.
As the economy changed over the following decades, so did the church’s membership.
The eight remaining members of the church came to the difficult decision to close the doors of First Baptist almost 100 years later, on April 26, 2017.
The church doors may have closed, but the ministry of First Baptist St. Elmo will live on through their legacy. God’s graciousness after nearly a century of First Baptist’s history will not only be preserved, but also established in such a way that ministry and mission causes will be supported in the church’s name indefinitely.
The St. Elmo First Baptist Legacy Fund, administered by the Baptist Foundation of Illinois, will honor the church’s past, recognize the reality of the present and ensure a positive future for God’s Kingdom work through this endowment fund.
This very small congregation has designated interest income from the legacy fund to aid in the work of three Southern Baptist ministries and also for the St. Elmo community.
 

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