Pontoon Beach Central Baptist Church 50th Anniversary Celebration and Worship

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Pontoon Beach Central Baptist Church has served the community for 50 years. To celebrate this milestone, the church will host a Reunion Celebration Banquet on Saturday, August 20 at 6 p.m. in the new Fellowship Hall across from the church. Several personalities will be honored during the event.

Everyone who has attended Central Baptist Church or Central Baptist School, past or present, is invited to the event. To RSVP, call the church office at 618-931-0964 and leave a message or send a private message to the church’s Facebook page.

On August 21, there will be a Sunday morning service at 10:30 a.m. where former pastor Wayne Musatics will deliver the message.

Pastor Michael Palmani, who pastored Central Baptist Church for nearly six years, said he was trying to spread the word to welcome back as many former CBC students and members as possible.

“The church has been a beacon here for many years,” Palmani said. “Even in the community, when you talk to people, they remember it because either they went to school, or their parents or their children went to school here, graduated, moved on. .

“The school had a lot of influence, there was a lot of success here when the school was open,” Palmani said.

Radio-Canada has undergone several changes over the past 50 years. For one, the school closed around 2014, according to Palmani. The building, which was built in the 1980s, served as a church from the beginning. However, CBC owned the building across the street that now houses the Impact365 family worship center. This building once served as the Pontoon Beach Police Department, according to Palmani.

Recently, CBC purchased what was once the Pontoon Beach Senior Center and turned it into the new Fellowship Hall. Palmani said many people in the community use the center and the church uses it for outreach.

In the past 50 years, Palmani is the third pastor to serve CBC. He was predeceased by Musatics who served as the pastor for 38 years from 1978 to 2016. John Lamb was CBC’s first pastor who served from 1972 to 1978.

Looking ahead, Palmani said he was “excited” about what the next half-century holds for the church.

“I think, at least in our community, they are slowly going back to church. I think attendance is a bit higher,” Palmani said. “So what I’m looking forward to is people coming back, going back to the norm, going back to going out and going to church and even though they’re still suspicious, I think that’s not not as bad as before.”

Palmani said COVID-19 had slowed CBC down, especially in terms of community outreach, but they were starting to get back to normal.

“We’re just trying to get back to the rhythm of things, just trying to get back to normal and do important things,” Palmani said.

Among outreach plans, the church hopes to add more of its buses in the coming years.

“The church is known for buses,” Palmani said. “There were several buses here that were going around the community. Granite City, Wood River, even sometimes St. Louis.

“During Covid we didn’t run it so we’re doing it again,” Palmani said. “Kids can go out again and go to church, and maybe their parents can’t take them to church, but at least we can give them a ride, some type of transportation for them, c so that’s the point of it.”

With extra buses, New Fellowship Hall and the slow return to normalcy, Palman is looking forward to CBC’s future.

“We look forward to what God has in store for us and are excited for what the future holds,” Palmani said. “And we’re looking forward to reaching out to the community and reaching out to the area here and getting to know the people and sharing the gospel.”

Palmani believes that despite the setbacks COVID-19 has caused the church and all members of the community, the basics of the Central Baptist Church have not changed.

“It seems to me that everything is the same,” Palmani said. “Obviously there are more people who don’t go to church like before, but I think the younger generation likes to know more about the Lord and wants to know spiritual things. I think the major change is that people didn’t grow up going to church but now they want to go back to church.

Palmani said last Sunday he saw several people who hadn’t been to church in a while.

“I think people want to come to church, but they don’t really know how to go about it, so they look online or watch from afar. They want answers, but when you talk about spiritual things, they have scared,” Palmani said. said. “But they know the Lord is there and the Lord can help them, it’s a blessing for them and they realize, man I should have done this before, you know?”

Palmani thinks distrust of spirituality and religion can stem from bad experiences people or their parents have had in the past.

“They don’t want to give it another chance, or they don’t want to deal with other religious things,” Palmani said. “But religion is basically just a type of belief and you know you come to church and you get to know the Lord, you learn there’s good people, there’s a lot of good people. people. We are not perfect, but there are good people. And they need it, especially in this community, they need support, love, caring people. We all need each other.”

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