Pleasant Ridge to celebrate milestone

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By Molly Haines

On a typical Sunday morning, the pews at Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church are filled with about 200 people, some who are descendants of those who founded the church in 1836.
This Sunday, the church will relive 175 years worth of memories through stories, pictures and videos.
Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church Pastor David “Milkweed” Wotier said a Sunday morning service will be held at 9 a.m. Following the service, Sunday school will begin at 10 a.m. Former Pleasant Ridge Baptist Reverend Morris Trayner will preach the second service beginning at 11 a.m. And at 2 p.m., a 175th anniversary service will be held in the church’s sanctuary.
Wotier said the church currently has about 600 members, some who now live out of the county or in nursing homes.
The church is designed to hold about 150 people, but Wotier said that’s packing it tight.
“We have quite a few members who are family to founding members,” Wotier said. “Mayme Dunavent is our oldest member. She’s about 95.”
Wotier said the grandfather of Dunavent’s husband traveled to Sparta by wagon in the 1800s to gather lumber to begin building the church.
“We’ve got a picture of that we’re going to show,” Wotier said.
The sanctuary portion of the church that is seen today was built in 1905 and 1906, with additions built in later years.
“There’s a lot of history and so many great people right here in Owen County that have had connections directly or indirectly to this church,” Wotier sad. “So many of our residents have a past that is reflected in the church, and for 175 years they’ve been teaching, preaching and sharing the love of Christ and that’s our mission for 175 more.”
Wotier became pastor at the church 23 years ago and said he sees a bright future at Pleasant Ridge.
“I think the history of the church speaks for itself,” Wotier said. “There are people that have been touched in their own personal lives by the ministry at Pleasant Ridge and that has bled over into the lives of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. That’s what the church should be doing and we want to advance that cause.”