By Lorie Ham
Madera Ave. Bible Church (MABC) celebrates its centennial this year. They had their first service on October 19, 1919 and started with 10 charter members. “The church began in the Dixieland area of Madera County about 10 miles north of the city,” shared Christine Wall, who has been the moderator of the church for 13 years. “Most of the members were farmers who lived in that area.” In 1969, the church built a new facility in southeast Madera and made the big move into town.
“The church started out with no paid staff, leaders were chosen from among the members. Attendance was about 40 people in the Dixieland church. The church now has a full-time pastor, a part-time youth pastor, an administrative assistant, and a janitor. Attendance runs between 60 and 75 people on Sundays.”
Around twelve of the Dixieland Church members still attend MABC. While the programs have changed through the years, corporate prayer time has always been a part of MABC, as has tithing to missions outside the church. They also strive for a strong feeling of family.
For their Centennial Celebration, MABC will begin their festivities on Saturday afternoon October 12 with a tour of the Dixieland area, beginning at their current location of 124 Walnut in Madera. “At the church there will be displays and 3 slide shows going continually with photos from throughout the 100 years,” continued Christine. The dinner that evening will take place at the 4th St. Church of God at 222 North N St. in Madera.
They will be serving traditional German food such as verenika, beerocks, and German sausage and there will be a program afterwards with District Minister Gary Wall speaking.
On Sunday morning, October 13, there will be a service at MABC with former pastor Greg Langley speaking and a BBQ meal will be served. Both programs will feature videos from former pastors and youth leaders and memories shared from the past.
Mennonite Aid Plan’s computer records don’t go back 100 years, but MAP found an application from the church dating back to 1983.