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Madera church to celebrate 125 years

First Baptist Church of Madera will commemorate its 125th anniversary with a special service on Sunday.

First Baptist Church, which first opened its doors in 1891, is older than Madera County itself. Forced to relocate after a fire in the old church building in 1942, First Baptist finally settled on its current site of 1111 W. Yosemite Ave. in 1952. Over the years, the church has seen generations come and go and be raised here.

“We’ve seen the people we’ve had as young children are now adults and have their children in our children’s ministry, so it’s really rewarding,” said First Baptist secretary Janet Blankenship.

Blankenship herself has worked for 23 years at First Baptist, arriving with, and serving under, former Senior Pastor Mike Ayers. He passed away shortly after his retirement late last year and left leadership of the church in the hands of Senior Pastor Zack Darrah...

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