FALMOUTH, N.S. – It was hot and muggy inside the Falmouth Baptist Church, but there were also laughs, hugs and prayers as the congregation rang in 175 years.
Reverend Gail Whalen-Dunn, who has been the pastor of the Falmouth Baptist Church for the past four years, said she felt proud to help celebrate the church’s major milestone.
“It’s an amazing opportunity to be a witness to God in a world where we’re seeing a decreasing number of people believing in God in churches all over,” Whalen-Dunn said. “For 175 years this church has stood on this corner and it’s a real witness to the love of God here.”
Whalen-Dunn said the community has been celebrating all weekend long, swapping stories, tours of the historic grounds, sharing food and more.
“It’s a real privilege to be a part of this community,” she said. “It’s not about this building, it’s about the people who have been here and stood here for 175 years.”
Whalen-Dunn made history when she began preaching at Falmouth Baptist, becoming the first ever senior female pastor to lead the church.
On Sunday Aug. 5, 2019, Wayne Merill, the church’s longest-standing pastor from 1993 to 2009, gave a sermon to help celebrate the anniversary.
“It’s an opportunity to reconnect, to come back and celebrate with everybody,” he said. “I was here for the 165, and it’s great to see that it’s still thriving.”
Gary Nelson, a member of the congregation, is working on updating the church history, which hasn’t been updated extensively since 1943.
“The church is not the building, it’s the people, and the fact that we were here for 175 years, is the real celebration,” Nelson said. “When you look at that history, you can see how faithful they were, how committed they were, to maintaining a place of worship.”
Nelson credits the church’s founders and all of those who’ve come since then for keeping the a vibrant centre of the community for so long.