PITTSFIELD -- The Cornerstone Baptist Church on West Street hosted a double anniversary Sunday morning.
In addition to the 30-year anniversary of the founding of the church in Pittsfield, Sunday was also the 100-year anniversary of the construction of the building itself in Pittsfield.
"We're really blessed to have congregations like this throughout the city," said Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi, who attended the celebration. "This is a wonderful congregation, very close to each other. I'm honored to be invited here today.
According to Eagle files, the structure at 1123 West Street was originally opened in 1914 as a neighborhood center and nondenominational church.
In 1935, the building became a Grange Hall.
The Cornerstone Church began holding services at the Pittsfield YMCA in 1984.
In 1988, the church began renting space from the Grange for services on West Street. In July 2005, the Grange donated the building to the church.
That year, the congregation began renovating the building. Pastor Douglas B. Neiner, who founded the Pittsfield church 30 years ago, estimated that the final price tag for the work, including grants and volunteer efforts, was almost $200,000.
The renovations included adding a steeple, replacing the old facade, upgrading the electrical system, insulating the windows, installing a new boiler, repainting the structure inside and out and making other improvements.
The church has grown over the years, according to Deacon James Hamilton. Presently, there are about 60 members.
On Sunday, a good portion of that 60 were in attendance for the dual celebrations. The parking lot overflowed and many worshippers had to leave their cars on West Street.
Music is a cornerstone of Baptist services and the West Street church was no exception.
Neiner sang one of the vocal solos, appropriately titled "Our Faithful Cornerstone." The Cornerstone Children's Choir also participated, leading the congregation in "Speak, Lord."
Preacher Alton Beal was another soloist and the congregation also sang other selections from the hymn book.
About midway through the service, Bianchi read a proclamation from the city.
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