When the Joplin Church of God celebrates its 90th birthday Sunday, memories will likely come flooding back to Charles Carr, and rightly so.
The 68-year-old Joplin man has not only been part of the congregation since birth, but also brought up three children there with his wife, Sue. In addition to his parents, Carr’s grandparents had an active role in the development of the church.
“Whatever was going on in church, we were always a part of it, whether it was raising funds or holding revivals or whatever,” said Carr, who taught science at North Middle School for 13 years. “There is a picture from 1945 floating around somewhere that shows me being held by my mother in front of the church.”
In a year when Babe Ruth was hitting home runs and Albert Einstein was lecturing on his new theory of relativity, the Joplin Church of God opened its doors for the first time in the Chitwood Community northwest of Joplin. The church was started by the Rev. Roy Cottman on March 21, 1921.
It soon moved to 1316 Main St. and a year after buying property at Third and Kentucky streets, the congregation purchased the property at its current site, 1402 S. Michigan Ave.
Next month Glen and Marilyn Pinkerton will mark their third year as co-pastors. They replaced Larry and Liz Hoyt, who served from 2000 to 2008, the longest of anyone over the pulpit.
A cherished moment for the church came in 1945.
“There were a number of servicemen stationed at Camp Crowder who attended the services,” said Glen Pinkerton. “Several of them were ministers and after the war became pastors and missionaries.”
Camp Crowder was an active Army post during World War II.
“We have a picture showing 30 soldiers who had come up to be part of our services,” Carr said.
The current sanctuary was built in 1964 with a Sunday school annex added five years later.
Carr’s grandfather bought the parsonage at 1332 Michigan Ave. and sold it to the church at his cost.
Carr said his grandmother probably started attending JCC first and then got her husband to go. She was one of the first in his family to lend support to the church, which, back then, was still trying to pay off its debt.
“My grandmother made donuts, which she sold to help make monthly payments on the church,” Carr said.
As far as personal help, Carr said he received valuable training as a teenager in the church youth groups.
“They were instrumental in training me to speak to groups,” he said. “When I was a school teacher, I spoke at state and national education meetings and it was the initiation at the church that allowed me to get the confidence to do that.”
Although the current attendance is between 25 and 30 people each Sunday morning, Carr said there was a time in the early 1970s when attendance peaked at about 200.
Although there is no Sunday school, there is a children’s church that takes place each Sunday and Wednesday. Adult services take place at 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday as well as 7 p.m. Wednesday.