Mission Hills Baptist Church will be celebrating 40 years of Christian Ministry in Palmyra with special services and events this weekend.

The public is welcome to attend the celebration which begins Saturday with evening games, fellowship and preaching.

Then, on Sunday, the church will hold its annual Homecoming starting with a continental breakfast at 9 a.m., followed by worship at 10 a.m. with a meal to follow.

Special guests for the Sunday service is Final Authority, a southern Gospel quartet, which has a long association with the church.

Rev. Kent Lewis, the church’s second pastor who has led the congregation for the past 22 years, said it has been “amazing how time has flown” since he came.

That’s because it has been an eventful time for the church having overcome setbacks with major growth.

A church building was damaged by a tornado in 2006 and another was destroyed by fire in 2008.

“The community really came out and helped us after the tornado and fire, and we’ll always be appreciative of the community’s support,” Lewis said.  

And, the church has prospered since then, finishing construction most recently of a new church with sanctuary, classrooms and other facilities.

That followed construction of what is now the Mission Hill Christian Academy facility after the school was started in 1979.

The church was founded in 1978 by Pastor Don Brodhacker and established a home on 20 acres of the former Nelson Farm.

The church has since added 16 acres to enlarge its campus.

Pastor Lewis said more than 200 people now attend service every Sunday after its modest early beginnings.