Special to the Tribune-Star
TERRE HAUTE —
On Sunday mornings, the congregation of the Lost Creek Baptist Church sings a hymn about their little white church on the hill. The church, located in a serene rural setting at 4440 Creal Road, has a remarkable 164-year history. The original structure, built in 1850, ministered to the descendants of the first free African American settlers who came to Lost Creek from North Carolina in the 1820s. It also served as a school. It was heated by a pot-bellied stove and lit by kerosene lamps. Its toilet was outside.
Fire destroyed the original building, and a new one replaced it in 1869. Despite its long history, the church is not eligible to be on the National Registry of Historic Places because of all the improvements made over the years. The changes include adding a bell tower, replacing gas lights with electric, installing new carpeting and stained glass windows and building social rooms and restrooms.
Proud of their church’s history, the members say they serve only the Lord and do not hold raffles or have dinners to pay for things. A portion of their Sunday offering goes to missionary causes, to help those in need, and to maintain the building.
Just as they honor their history, the congregation also honors its older members. In 2012, Lost Creek Baptist hosted a gathering of members who were 90 to 103 years old. As Pastor Dexter Jordan told the honorees, “You are living history.” The church has a membership of approximately 100, and it continues to add new members. The church’s story will be kept alive.
Information about Lost Creek Baptist Church and a photo of its churchyard full of smiling members, taken at the church’s 100th anniversary on June 18, 1950, are on display in the Vigo County Historical Museum’s special exhibit, “That Old Time Religion: A Retrospect of Early Church History in Vigo County.” Located on the first floor, the exhibit of memorabilia and photographs explores the rich history of Lost Creek and other community houses of worship.