As our pulpit committee is searching diligently for our new pastor, let's look back at the very first pastor of our Church, then named Crainville Freewill Baptist Church.
Reverend James F. Kirk began preaching in 1890 when the Church was first organized. He was the son of Ulissus and Martha Kirk. He was born in Benton County, Tennessee on January 15, 1843. He professed faith in Christ in 1873, joined the Freewill Baptist Church in Williamson County, IL., was ordained in 1881 and thereafter did pastoral work regularly. He was also a farmer. In the early years, pastors worked other jobs while being a pastor.
History doesn't tell us how often Rev. Kirk preached in Crainville. We found some records of pastors preaching two Sundays a month, including Saturday and Sunday evenings. Some pastors preached only once a month. Since Rev. Kirk was a native of Crainville he may have preached here more often or we may have shared him with other Churches.
Rev. Kirk's first wife was Nancy Spirs. After her death he married, Martha Jones in 1880. Martha was with him during his pastorate at Crainville. Agnes Alexander Bruce's records stated that Rev. Kirk was tall and slim and was known for his good works. His wife was remembered for her singing, her prayers and her personal testimony.
We are not sure how long Rev. Kirk preached at Crainville but J.C. Chamness' name appears in our records before Charles Stalker's name is recorded as pastor in 1900. Times have changed since 1890 but our beliefs remain the same. We believe in and serve the same God and are thankful for our forefathers who worked and built our first Church building, for our first pastor, the Rev. James Kirk, and all those who have followed until 2017. (Sue Ridley)