The Rock Creek Bible Society will meet at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 2, 2009, at the Bethbirei Presbyterian Church, 2025 Bethbirei Road, Lewisburg. This will be the 195th meeting of this historic society.
The service will feature special music by Alva Cavnar of Lewisburg, who has a beautiful voice. Cavnar teaches at Marshall County High School and is known for her work with the Community Theater. She was the director of this month's production of "High School Musical."
The speaker for the occasion will be the Rev. Jeff Eason, new pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Lewisburg.
Bethbirei Presbyterian Church was the first church of any denomination to be established in what is now Marshall County. Bethbirei, which means "House of My Creation" in Hebrew, was organized June 1, 1810, by Rev. Samuel Finley of Kentucky and 26 charter members. In 1814, the church hired their third minister, Rev. Thomas J. Hall, who soon opened the first grammar school in this section of the country. Hall also organized the Rock Creek Bible Society, an interdenominational group, in 1815. The Bible Society was needed "because at that time there were a whole lot of poor people who couldn't afford Bibles and there were also more fire disasters...Bibles were also given to the Indians that were still in the area at the time," explained church historian Roy Cheeves in a 2007 interview.
The Bible Society started 21 years before the founding of Marshall County, when Farmington was a frontier settlement and Lewisburg did not exist. The Society's Bibles were ordered from Philadelphia and made the long trip to Nashville by boat, and on to Farmington by wagon. The Bethbirei Presbyterian Church was housed in a log cabin from its founding in 1810 until the present building was constructed in 1882. The Rock Creek Bible Society is the oldest surviving Bible Society in the nation, and is affiliated with the American Bible Society. It does exactly the same thing today as it did when it was founded 194 years ago: supply Bibles to people who do not have them. If your house is lost through fire, flood, or tornado, Rock Creek Bible Society will give you a new Bible. The sources of their funds are the life members who pay $5 per year, and the offering collected at the annual meeting. Their by-laws prohibit spending money on anything but Bibles.
The by-laws prescribe a meeting every year in May. People come from as far away as Virginia, North Carolina, and Alabama to attend the interdenominational gathering.
Everyone is invited to bring a covered dish and enjoy some Christian fellowship for a good cause, while enjoying the beautiful surroundings of the historic church and its lovely, old cemetery.