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Article updated: 7/15/2013 7:20 AM

Canton church celebrates 180 years

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By Associated Press

CANTON, Ill. -- A church in west-central Illinois that's survived fires and a tornado is celebrating a big birthday with special events later this year.

The First Baptist Church of Canton is 180 years old.

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The (Canton) Daily Ledger reports that the church was founded in June 1833 under a different name when a handful of members gathered in a home near Canton. Over the years it changed names, locations and was remodeled several times.

The church also faced hardships. It survived multiple fires. An outbreak of influenza in 1918 caused the church to close for six weeks. In 1975 a tornado severely damaged the roof and stained glass windows.

The celebratory events include a community sing along on Sept. 8. Later in the month, the church will hold a birthday banquet.

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