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Moriah Primitive Baptist to host homecoming

Organized in 1830, Moriah Primitive Baptist Church has a longstanding place in the Searcy Community.

The humble, wooden-frame building sits quietly on four acres of land on Pat Patterson Road in Searcy, just off Wagon Wheel Road. A small cemetery lies nearby.

The church will hold its annual Homecoming services this Sunday, Sept. 17, beginning at 2:30 p.m. Last year was the church's first homecoming services.

&#8220This year, we will have Col. Eric O. Cates to do a welcome address and Barbara Middleton to give a brief review of the church's first pastor,” Idonia Porterfield, a Moriah Church committee member, said. &#8220We will also have remembrances from those with family connections and special memories of the church, as well as Primitive Baptist singing from the Lloyd Hymnal.”

Some of the songs for this Sunday will include &#8220Amazing Grace” and &#8220How Firm a Foundation.”

Light refreshments will be served after the services.

According to Porterfield, the church building, which has undergone many renovations, has been in use even though the church body had become inactive after the death of its last pastor, Elder Sam H. Dean, in 1991.

Many renovations were needed after Hurricane Ivan came through in 2004.

&#8220Parts of the roof and the front part of the ceiling had to be replaced,” Porterfield said.

The committee has also worked hard to maintain the upkeep on the church's cemetery.

&#8220We are still taking donations for the cemetery fund,” she added. &#8220We always need volunteers to help with the upkeep of this church, this treasure in our community, and with the cemetery.”

There has also been a church maintenance and repair fund set up for anyone who wishes to contribute.

&#8220I've received donations from people who live in other states because they have relatives buried here, or they attended this church as a child,” Porterfield said. &#8220People I don't even know will send money because this church has such a precious place in their hearts.”

Last year, the little country church had standing-room only for the homecoming services.

&#8220This year, we'll have two window air conditioner units because we all remember how hot it got during the afternoon last year,” she said.

Porterfield said that the next building project for Moriah Church would include the electrical wiring in the building.

&#8220We want to be able to run a generator up here whenever it might be needed,” she said.

The Gibson Family Reunion will be held on Sat., Sept. 16. Porterfield urges people in the community to use the church for just such occasions.

&#8220Just within the past year, we have received notes and contributions from people who have now passed away,” she said. &#8220They lived out of the state, and they couldn't get back to visit the churchŠ.they seemed to be very comforted in knowing that the church was being cared for.”