I have the privilege of serving as the pastor of two Methodist churches; both congregations are great people who love God, their church, and their communities.
We recently celebrated the 145th anniversary of Mt. Lebanon United Methodist Church, a rural fellowship whose building has sat on the same plot of ground since 1867. The land was deeded to the church in August of 1867.
I am the 65th person to have had the privilege of serving as the pastor of Mt. Lebanon. Rev. William B. Crichlow led the congregation in 1867.
In 1867, America was in the process of recovering from a war that divided it as a nation and tore families and communities apart all over the South, and Tennessee was in the midst of Reconstruction.
In 1867, William G. Brownlow, a former Methodist circuit riding preacher, was the governor of Tennessee.
A Tennessee boy, Andrew Johnson of Greeneville, was serving as the 17th president of the United States in 1867.
Also in 1867, Jesse James and his gang were robbing banks throughout the South and the Midwest.
African American men were allowed to vote for the first time in a state election in Tennessee, and received the right to vote for the first time in Tuscumbia, Ala., and Washington, D.C. in 1867.
That same year, Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest was elected as the first Grand Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan at a meeting in downtown Nashville.
In 1867, "Little House on the Prairie" author Laura Ingalls Wilder, baseball great Cy Young, and Wilbur Wright, co-inventor of the airplane, were all born.
In 1867, the United States bought Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million dollars, or roughly two cents an acre. The purchase was arranged between U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward and Alexander II of Russia. The U.S. news media referred to this as "Seward's Folly."
That year, Chattanooga experienced the worst flooding in the city's history, with flood waters rising to more than 58 feet.
The Methodist Mission sent out its first missionaries to Central China in 1867.
The Methodist Church established the Tennessee College for Freedmen in Nashville in 1867.
And in 1867, Methodist missionary Thomas Baker and eight of his associates were cooked and eaten by tribespeople in Fiji.
Barbed wire, reinforced concrete, ready mix paint and dynamite were all patented in 1867.
The first dental school in the United States was established in Boston, Mass., in 1867, the Harvard School of Dental Medicine.
In 1867, the U.S. Congress created the Department of Education and approved the building of the Lincoln Memorial.
And again, it was in 1867 that Mt. Lebanon Methodist Church was established.
When we look back upon a significant year in history, we will be amazed at all that took place during that time.
What are the history books going to say for 2012? And where do we go from here?
None of us were around in 1867, but records show that a small group of Christians, who called themselves Methodists, received a parcel of land out in rural Bedford County on which a church was built.
And 145 years later the Good News of Jesus Christ is still being proclaimed from that same spot, and lives are being transformed.
-- Doug Dezotell is the pastor of Mt. Lebanon UMC and Cannon UMC. He is a former staff writer for the Times-Gazette, and he is a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a friend to many. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org