Pickett Rucker United Methodist Church celebrated its 148th anniversary and homecoming Sunday.
Pickett Rucker is the oldest church in Wilson County and the second-oldest church in Tennessee.
It was formed in 1866, one year after the end of the Civil War.
Songs and prayer echoed throughout the church, reflecting the faith and devotion in its members.
Lifelong church member Betty Cantrell, a Sunday school teacher who was president of the usher board for more than 25 years, couldn’t help but smile as she pointed out early photographs and records of the church.
“It really means a lot because I was able to be a part of it,” Cantrell said. “I am at the place now that I can train other children and young adults to be leaders, too.”
“It’s been a blessing, not only to us, but also to the community,” said Phyllis Eddings, another lifetime church member. “It’s helped me to be more involved.”
Although the anniversary brought a special celebration to the day, the members of Pickett Rucker UMC know their praise for Jesus Christ is what truly brings them together.
“What we have to offer the community is Christ,” said Pastor Michael Ruttlen, who has been at Pickett Rucker UMC for nine months. “This church is full of people who have a mind to work,” he said. “My greatest task is for this church to see that no matter how negative the world is, that God is still alive.”
Ruttlen led the 10 a.m. service, and said he sees the future as a promising chance to grow the church both physically and spiritually.
”Where I’m looking in the future is to make sure that one of the topics that we have in our church is inclusiveness,” said Ruttlen. “I’m making sure that we move within other cultures, so that we can grow as we go.”
Since Ruttlen joined the church, the sanctuary was renovated, many church members hope to create a summer program and daycare to continue to serve their community’s needs.
The Rev. Stephen Handy, pastor of McKendree United Methodist Church in Nashville and a former pastor of Pickett Rucker UMC, was a guest speaker at the 3 p.m. service.
For more photos from the event, click here.