|Updated: 9/27/2012 9:27 am
||Published: 9/26/2012 9:44 pm
145 years later, members of the Mount Olive Baptist church, in Vian are still singing praises.
This October, the church will celebrate 145 years of existence.
The rotted slabs of wood that hold up the church have endured segregation, two world wars, the Great Depression and the civil rights movement.
"I've seen a lot of history come to pass," said Pastor Thomas Drew.
Through it all, church pews remained full.
"See this church is older than Vian," said Drew.
It’s been around since 1867. Drew became Mount Olive’s pastor 13 years ago. He grew up in the church.
“A lot of white churches wouldn't allow black members,” said Drew. "I can remember as a little boy we couldn't go through the front door of stores"
The doors of the church were always open. Mount Olive is one of the oldest African American churches in Oklahoma.
"We want to for as long as possible keep the original structure," said Drew.
The church doesn’t sit in its original location. That was a few miles east, in a place called Sandtown Bottoms. Flood waters threatened to destroy the building.
"They disassembled the church loaded it onto wagons and moved it with horses," said Drew.
They've added on here and there over the years. Right now, members are building a new fellowship hall. They don't have much money, so they usually do everything themselves.
“We still have a lot of work to do,” said Drew.
Plenty has changed over the years, but not the core of this church: the message delivered each Sunday, the people who support it and the book that has given timeless inspiration is still the same.
Mount Olive Baptist Church will celebrate its 145th anniversary October 14.