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Marking time

Paynesville Christian Church
to celebrate 100 years

Congregation plans event in October

By Amy Casebier
Contributing Writer

(September 2007) – An important part of the Saluda Township is turning 100 this year. Paynesville Christian Church will have its 100th anniversary celebration, beginning at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 7, or after services end.

Paynesville Christian Church

Photo by Amy Casebier

Paynesville Christian Church in
Saluda Township has played a
prominent role in the development
of the community and its history.

The non-denominational church and its members have played key roles in both the community and its history.
The church was founded in 1907. Walter Orville Stephen Cliffe led a meeting starting Sept. 15, 1907, to organize a church. By Oct. 11 of the same year, 35 people were named as founding disciples of the church. Cliffe went on to become a nationally known evangelist.
John C. Maddex, one of the first deacons elected in the church, was also involved in a famous historical event. Maddex served as a soldier in the 54th Indiana during the Civil War. Wounded in battle, he was sent to the Confederate Cahawba Prison in Alabama.
After the end of the war, Maddex was one of the passengers aboard the Sultana steamboat, making his way back north. When the extremely overcrowded boat exploded in the Mississippi River due to a leaky steam boiler, Maddex was among the survivors. He was one of three deacons elected as a result of Cliffe’s four-week meeting.
Paynesville Christian Church also had a deep well on its property. The pump that brought the sweet-tasting water to the surface was free to the surrounding community. Many people from the Saluda Township area used the pump all the time, much to the chagrin of churchgoers on Sundays. The congregation was instrumental in getting a water line into the community in the 1970s.
The church building itself was built in the gothic revival style. The yellow pine floors slope gently down to the pulpit, with the original light oak pews that are still used in services today. Topping the room are tin ceiling tiles with an acanthus leaf design.
“The building is the most beautiful building in Saluda Township,” Janice Hard Stanley said. Stanley is the church historian.
The program will include songs and speakers, along with visiting former ministers and members. A CD with photographs of the church will be shown throughout the celebration. A booklet of the written history of Paynesville Christian Church will be handed out to visitors, and dinner will take place later in the day.
“It’s about getting together with friends past and present,” Stanley said.

• For more information, call Janice Stanley at the church at (812) 889-2726.

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