August 21, 2014

Medina
Cloudy
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1st Baptist in Spencer to celebrate 175 years

Elizabeth Kuhr | The Gazette

On Aug. 25, First Baptist Church of Spencer will rejoice by celebrating its 175th birthday.

“It’s unique that this church has been around that long,” said Jackie Mullet, the ministry’s secretary and pastor’s wife. “We thought we’d do something special.”

Pastor Jeff Mullet has led First Baptist Church of Spencer for six years. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY STEVE MANHEIM)

The seasoned church, which 140 people visit weekly for worship, has been well-kept since being rebuilt after a devastating lightning-caused fire that destroyed the building in 1959.

Although it isn’t clear where most of the financial support came from, the church was rebuilt by October 1960. Only the bell and stained glass from its previous structure were saved.

As well as claiming a role in Spencer’s history, First Baptist holds a sacred place in the lives of Jackie and her pastor-husband, Jeff.

The two describe discovering the church, in downtown Spencer, as divine intervention.

Despite Jeff Mullet’s initial desire not to become a pastor, First Baptist’s previous leader, the Rev. John McCourt, encouraged Mullet’s spiritual journey, starting with requesting small favors from him to help around the church to which they belonged.

After Mullet moved to Steubenville for a low-paying pastoral position, it was McCourt who suggested Mullet apply for a full-time pastor position at First Baptist in 2007.

“The people here are caring, loving and country folk like I am who love the Lord,” said Mullet, who now thinks of his career as “a second chance from God.”

Mullet describes his work with the community at First Baptist as intentional, believing that services should not only make attendees feel happy but also provide them with messages he thinks they should hear.

“We need to not let the world dictate what to believe,” said Mullet, who just spent four consecutive Sunday morning services preaching on his theory that homosexuality is a sin.

“People are getting away from the values of the Bible,” he said.

Mullet describes his relations with the community as close, saying his family and he often socialize with congregants.

The Mullets have recruited a 10-member committee to help plan for the upcoming bash celebrating the church’s anniversary.

The event will include an exhibit of the church’s history, as well as games, food and music.

Contact reporter Elizabeth Kuhr at (440) 329-7126 or ekuhr@chroniclet.com.