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Ceres church turning 140
• First Baptist celebrating with weekend events
First Baptist Church ceres
The original First Baptist Church was constructed in 1882 at the corner of Fifth and North streets and burned on Nov. 12, 1889. This is the second church, taken in the 1920's.

First Baptist Church of Ceres, 2735 Fifth Street, will be celebrating its 140th anniversary this weekend with a special Saturday evening concert and time of reflection at Sunday’s worship service.

The church is small, about 50 regular attendees, said Pastor Dick Conners who has presided over the church for 13 years.

The public is welcome to attend a special concert featuring a Christian music concert at 7 p.m. on Saturday night followed by dessert.

A special time of commemoration will be set aside at the 10:30 a.m. Sunday worship service to look back over the 140 years.

Conners said the church has separate services in English and Spanish but they combine for a single service twice or three times a year with the help of a translator. That will happen this Sunday.

The Daniel Whitmore family, the founders of Ceres, used their financial resources to establish the Baptist Church. The first church building in Ceres was erected by the Baptists who organized in 1879 with 12 members. Whitmore donated land at the northwest corner of Fifth and North streets for the church. Built at a cost of $7,000 it was dedicated in 1882. J.M. Helsley served as the first pastor. The grand building burned to the ground on Nov. 12, 1889 after the church allowed the insurance policy to elapse. However, it was rebuilt. The Baptists built a two-story parsonage at the corner of Fourth Street and North Street which stands today.