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Members of Beechridge Baptist Church have seen a lot of changes in its 200 years, including moving indoors and a name change.
This Bagdad-area church, located on Benson Pike about 3 miles east of the intersection with KY 395, started nearby its current location when parishioners would gather in the woods on log benches with lanterns hanging in the trees.
But it persevered, and by 1888 what was then the Baptist Church of Jesus Christ at Beech Ridge had its own building.
Now, in its third building and on its second patch of land, nearly 100 churchgoers gathered Sunday to celebrate Beechridge Baptist Church’s 200th anniversary.
“The first service, I understand, was right across the road,” pastor Chuck Umholtz told the membership on Sunday morning. “There were no pews, just split logs for seats in the woods. About fourteen to sixteen people were there. My, what’s changed in 200 years? That’s 200 years of doing the Lord’s work.”
Umholtz invited former pastor Elbert Elliott, who is now a teacher at the Trinity Seminary and College, who led this flock from 1962-64.
Elliott told a story about how he was working and going to school fulltime while he was preaching at Beechridge and how he tried to get to every member’s house on Sunday nights – making a point to have dinner and learn more about his constituents.
“Somebody asked me what I remember most about this church,” he said. “The people! These are some of the best people I ever met.
“What else? The food! My goodness, some of the best cooks in the country live around here.”
Elliott went on to describe his time and deliver his sermon, but he summed it all up with a final description of his time at Beechridge.
“I don’t have a single bad memory from this place,” he said. “I’ve carried all of those memories and you around with us for all these years, and that has helped us to be effective everywhere we have been.”