Church celebrates its history with founding pastor

Photo: New Bethlehem Presbyterian Church Pastor Robert Long, as founding pastor Rev. L.C. Taylor, greets parishioners after Sunday’s service.  (Bob Bakken/DeSoto County News)

A special guest speaker took to the pulpit Sunday morning in front of parishioners and friends at New Bethlehem Presbyterian Church, 3961 Church Road West in Nesbit. Preaching to the full house inside the small sanctuary, the speaker offered the simple, yet straightforward message, “Keep the faith.”

The church Sunday celebrated its 172nd anniversary as a congregation, a celebration that was delayed two years as number 170 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In honor of the special day, the church brought back its founding pastor, Rev. L.C. Taylor, to present the message. 

The church’s current leader, Pastor Robert Long, portrayed the man who started the church in 1850. 

Interspersing historical bits and pieces about the times and the past, Long preached the encouragement to, “Come back to church, come back to God. There is a God, I have seen Him,” Long said, as Taylor. 

After the service, Taylor reflected in front of the church cemetery about his message and its application for today.

Sunday’s service included moments of remembrance, fitting for Memorial Day weekend, with reading the names of those who have passed away and are now placed at rest in the New Bethlehem cemetery. At the end of the service, parishioners gathered outside as young Will Erby rang the church bell one time for each of 31 pastors who had served New Bethlehem Presbyterian Church, including Long.  

New Bethlehem church choir sings during the Sunday service. (Bob Bakken/DeSoto County News)
A full house worshipped for the 172nd anniversary observance of New Bethlehem Presbyterian Church, Nesbit. (Bob Bakken/DeSoto County News)

Bob Bakken

Bob Bakken is the most recognized and most trusted name in DeSoto County news and sports reporting, as readers continue to express their appreciation for his accuracy and fairness in the stories he writes. Bob provides content for DeSoto County News and occasionally is heard on the OB Pod podcast talking about area happenings. A former newspaper editor and writer, his award-winning background also includes television news producing, sports media relations, and radio broadcasting.

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