Longview Chapel in Lee’s Summit celebrates 100 years

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LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- Through years of ups and downs, and nearly closing in the 90s, Longview Chapel is celebrating a milestone; it's centennial.

The historic building came into existence in 1915 as part of Longview Farm, and it has a rich history.

"Some of the wives of the farm workers were still here as members when we started attending," said Jerry Elliott, who has been a member of Longview Chapel Christian Church for almost 25 years.

"This church is on the national historic registry, and it`s history is just so rich," added Elliott who says celebrating the church’s 100th year brings back many memories. "It`s just been a part of our life for that long.”

"The bell tower is kind of an icon for the church, in fact, very few churches have functioning bell towers anymore," said Gary Blakeman, who's been the senior pastor for more than 10 years.

This bell tower is still functioning. In the earlier days it was used to call people to the farm, but now they use it as their call to worship.

"R.A. Long built the chapel as part of the farm back in 1915," Blakeman said. "The whole reason for the chapel`s existence is because of Longview Farm."

He says the chapel was originally built for three purposes: the sanctuary for worship, a schoolhouse, and the community center. It was a gathering place for the farm which was more than a community but a family.

"And that spirit is still here today, that sense of community," said Blakeman.

Blakeman says the sanctuary is very intimate; it only holds 125 people. They have 150 families in the congregation nowadays; a big difference to when only 12 families were left at one point in time.

"The church was on a down-cline then, it had been through a depression, it had been through a couple world wars, and it was having a difficult time," said Elliott.

Now they're celebrating 100 years, and hoping for 100 more.

The chapel will be holding many events to celebrate its 100th year, including an ice cream social this Sunday, August 9th at the Chapel from 5 to 7 p.m.

As part of the chapel's 100 by 100 campaign, they are pledging $100 for every year they've been in existence.

They are collecting $10,000 for a Christian hospital in New Delhi, India. So far they've raised $6,900.