Rock Creek Bible Society meets for 203rd time

Wednesday, May 3, 2017
The site of today’s Bethbirei Presbyterian Church in Lewisburg was the site of the Rock Creek Bible Society’s first meeting in 1815.
Photo by Jay Langston

The Rock Creek Bible Society held their first meeting in 1815 at the site of today’s Bethbirei Presbyterian Church in Lewisburg, and the group will gather again May 6, 2017, for its 203rd time.

Beginning in a time of world tumult, the Rock Creek Bible Society’s first meeting was sandwiched in time just a few weeks after Major General Andrew Jackson defeated the British at the Battle of New Orleans and Napoleon’s final defeat at the Battle of Waterloo. Rock Creek Bible Society was formed in 1815 as a non-denominational organization, with its only purpose of distributing Bibles to people who do not have one. The American Bible Society has a long-standing mission to provide Bibles to people who have lost their’s owing to fire or natural disaster. Society members celebrate giving Bibles to Native Americans, specifically members of the Cherokee Nation.

One year after its launch, the Rock Creek Bible Society affiliated with the upstart American Bible Society in 1816. Money donated through a freewill offering is collected to purchase Bibles. Aside from being the oldest Bible society in the United States, Rock Creek Bible Society meets each year at the oldest church in Marshall County. The pioneer denomination of Marshall County was Presbyterian, and its first church was Bethbirei. It was organized June 1, 1810, by Rev. Samuel Findley, of Kentucky. The first sermon preached by Findley was themed on the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 16, vs. 18, while he stood poetically atop a limestone outcropping marked today with an iron plaque.

The speaker for this year’s event will be Danny Tate. He was raised in Lincoln County, and moved to Lewisburg when he married Judy more than 30 years ago. The Tates have two children and three granddaughters. They worship at First Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Lewisburg. Tate teaches a young adult class and serves as an Elder on the Session. He is employed at Southern Carton as a manager, and is also a real estate agent with David Jent Realty.

Decoration of the cemetery will precede the Bible Society meeting. Special music will be provided by Linda Horner, and a short meeting will be held afterward. After the meeting’s conclusion, a potluck luncheon will follow. The public is invited to attend.