A century ago, Dr. William Forrest – then pastor of Gilboa Christian Church – conceived the idea of holding an annual springtime festival for his congregation; one that would commemorate the integral role that the church had played in the nation, community and life of locals.
While Forrest and members of the inaugural celebration may be long gone, the sense of pride, tradition and respect they helped forge lives on. The church will celebrate what has come to be known as “Country Church Day” for the one-hundredth time come Sunday, May 4.
“It’s just a fantastic celebration of rural life and how churches are interwoven in this wonderful fabric of rural society,” Gilboa deacon Christian Goodwin said. “It’s a great event.”
Now in its 180th year of holding services, Gilboa Christian Church has long been a mainstay in the community, a source of pride that has been frequently mentioned and applauded in previous Country Church Day ceremonies.
The Sunday will begin as any other, with a traditional 11 a.m. service at the church, and will then be followed by a lunch from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. Complete with delectable Southern dishes and games on the grounds, Goodwin said the activities serve as the church’s extended invitation to every resident of Louisa.
“This is a celebration for the community,” Goodwin said. “This is a wonderful chance to get to know a church that has played a valuable role in the community since 1834. Come meet us, and come join us.”
Each year, a guest musician and inspirational speaker are invited to share their talents as well as their thoughts on the role religion plays in the modern world. Celebrated baritone artist Derrick L. Thompson, a 2008 graduate of Lynchburg College, will give a performance during the morning worship service. Since graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Music Education, Thompson has gone on to earn his master’s in Vocal Performance from Morgan State University, and has toured in operatic symphonies that have taken him across the country.
To read the entire story, see the April 17 edition of The Central Virginian.