Seventh Day Adventist Church of Clovis celebrating centennial

Courtesy photo Roy Benton, left, was the founder and first pastor of the Seventh Day Adventist Church of Clovis. He is pictured here in 1910 with his wife Margaret.

Thomas Garcia

The 100th anniversary of a local church is viewed as a historical and spiritual milestone said church parishioners.

“This is very important to the members of our church,” said Seventh Day Adventist Church of Clovis pastor Nehemias Basit.

The Seventh Day Adventist Church was founded March 22, 1911. At the time, Clovis’ population was 3,255, which made it one of 10 cities in New Mexico with a population over 3,000.

Church Elder Harry Stone said the church’s beginning was a series of tents set up by Harmon Andrew Scantlin and W.A. Theodore Miller.

Stone said Miller and Scantlin lived in two smaller tents, while church organist Grace Wagner and parishioner Elsie Alle lived in another.

“They had an Evangelism series which lasted two months in those tents,” Stone said.

Stone said the desire for a church building over the tents came when the winds blew the main tent down three times during the series.

“We have documents from that time describing how the wind snapped the ropes completely,” Stone said.

Stone said when the church was recognized by the Seventh Day Adventist Church Union as an organized church it had 12 members.

In 1915, the church was based out of a residence located on Wallace Street, Stone said. The church was moved to a building, which still stands today at the corner of Fifth Street and Rencher Street.

“The church was moved to its current home on Llano Estacado Boulevard in 1970,” Stone said.

Stone said the church held a successful series last July which drew in 50 people.

Basit said the parishioners of the church are a melting pot of cultures.

“50 percent of our parish is transient,” Basit said. “Much of them are military families who are stationed here at Cannon Air Force Base.”

Stone said many members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church are overseas and abroad. He said for a church in the area to reach a milestone such as this is a huge event.

“This anniversary is significant to those whose mission is to spread the gospel around the globe,” Stone said.

Stone said events celebrating the church’s 100th anniversary will be held Friday and Saturday.