History of the First Baptist Church of Macclenny

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1 Two Separate Churches The first Baptist Work of which we have any good record within the corporate limits of Macclenny, which was then known as Darbyville, was begun in the spring of 1883 by Rev. Robert F. Rogers, missionary of the Florida Baptist Convention. The following members were present and joined in the Constitution, viz: James Wolfe Mrs. Georgia Wolfe J. W. Bryant Mrs. Lizzie McIver John McIver Mrs. Ida Corbett. The Reverend Rogers was chosen as pastor. Bethel Baptist Church, established near Woodlawn Cemetery, was constituted in The Bethel Church of Macclenny was constituted in 1877 by a presbytery of two, viz: Rev. K. Chambers and Rev. William F. Malphus. This was the first Baptist Church in Baker County of which we have any record. United into one About September 1887, the Bethel Baptist Church dissolved and united with the First Baptist Church of Macclenny. The following members who united with Bethel between 1880 and 1887 were received into the fellowship of the First Baptist church of Macclenny. Edward Rowe Mollie Barber Caroline Laurimore Lizzie Bessent Mrs. L. Sweat Emma Rowe Caroline Tanner Emmy Rowe John O. Thompson Frances Thompson Emma Drawdy B. J. Tanner Rachel Alexander Ada Drawdy I. E. Chambliss Miss Sallie Horne C. F. Barber Mrs. Nicholson Carrie Chambliss Miss Mabel Jones From this time in 1887 until 1917, First Baptist Church of Macclenny was erroneously called Bethel Baptist Church. The following members were present and joined in the Constitution, viz: Mr. W. P. Horn Mrs. Levilla Rowe Mrs. Moses Thompson Mrs. Mary Thompson Mrs. Sally Horn Mrs. E. A. Barber Mrs. V. C. Williams Mrs. E. F. Rowe Mrs. Sarah Alford Mrs. Julia Rowe Miss Georgia Fraser Rev. K. Chambers was chosen as pastor.

2 Building destroyed by a hurricane The church building was destroyed by a hurricane on September 29, Everything was destroyed with the exception of the organ stool. For a time, there were two organ stools in the new church after it was built. The pastor at this time was D. C. Andress. After the church was destroyed, services were held for a short time at the Methodist church. Then, Mrs. Elizabeth Barber, who owned and operated the Hotel, generously offered her dining room to the church to hold its services. A brick sanctuary is built Groundbreaking services for the new church auditorium (presently known as the old sanctuary) were held on Easter Sunday, April 10, The pastor at this time was Ralph C. Moore (November ). The building committee at that time was composed of: H. V. Griffin, Jr. J. R. Rowe Charlton Mobley W. A. Ruis Ralph C. Moore T. M. Dorman The size of the auditorium was 35 x 80 with a seating capacity of 350. The new auditorium and pastor s study were completed and furnished at a cost of $61, The first service was held in this new building on Sunday, March 4, Homecoming services were held with special music from the choir, under the direction of Mrs. N. B. Dorman. Former pastor, O. E. Boals (June 1950 May 1954) was guest speaker for the afternoon service. The new building was dedicated debt-free in a mortgage burning service on Sunday, March 2, The Education Building is built. Later in 1958, construction was begun on a 36 x 60, two-story brick educational building. The construction was supervised by J. A. Rowe, Chairman of the Building Committee. The total cost of the building, including all furnishings and equipment, was approximately $21,000. A Hammond electric organ was purchased and presented to the church on February 10, 1960, in honor of Miss Mae Wolfe who was the pianist for many years. A Growing Church In June 1966 the church voted to designate all offerings on the fourth Sundays of June, July and August for the building fund. Their goal was to reach $20,000 by September 1. Additional financing would be secured through a bond program of $50,000 over a ten-year period. These monies would be used to build a second educational unit directly behind the old one. (This building presently houses the Nursery, AWANA store, and children s Sunday School rooms. Children s Church is also held in this area.) In July 1966 the church approved Martin Maley to be the supervisor of construction for the new addition, at a salary of $3 per hour worked. In October 1966 the church directed the Trustees to begin negotiations for disposal of the old wooden church building and the removal of the old pastorium, to be done as soon as the new educational unit was completed.

3 In February 1967 the church voted to construct a new pastorium on South Sixth Street (this pastorium is currently being used today). The old pastorium was sold and the old wooden church building was disposed of. The second educational building and the new pastorium were completed in The pastor during this time of growth was J. Thomas Harper (July 1965 October 1968). A Growing Church Staff In March of 1979 Dr. Allen R. Carter began his ministry as our pastor. At that time, the church hired its first full time secretary, Mrs. Virginia Harrell. Virginia had been hired six months earlier on a part time basis. In 1980, Jim McCord began his ministry here as Minister of Music. Also, the church approved and employed its first Educational Secretary, Mrs. Barbara Yawn. In 1981 the church approved a search for an Assistant to the Pastor in the areas of Education/Administration/Youth and Outreach. By the end of this year, Gary L. Johnson was called to fill this position. That year the church approved the most challenging and demanding budget in its history. New Construction. Again! Due to a tremendous increase in the growth of the membership of the church, the Long Range planning committee began making plans to build a new sanctuary. In the fall of 1982, the church invited Northway Contractors to present a plan for building of a new sanctuary. Earlier in the year, the church voted to have two morning worship services on Sunday until the new sanctuary was ready for occupancy. The new facility would consist of a Colonial-style building with a seating capacity of 552 (including the choir) with Colonial-style pews. The pastor and the Long Range Planning Committee met with Northway Contractors and authorized them to erect the building. Financing of the new sanctuary was secured through a bond program. The Building Committee consisted of: John Creamer Elwood Crews Glenn Williamson Main Outlaw Al Smith, Sr. Groundbreaking for the new sanctuary took place in June 1984 and construction began in July In the summer of 1982, Robert L. Lambright, Jr., was employed as a Pastoral Intern. This program was initiated by Dr. Carter as a way of helping a deserving student from our membership prepare for Christian service.

4 On February 3, 1985, the new sanctuary was dedicated with a special afternoon service. On February 10, 1985, the first worship services were held in the new sanctuary. Renovation of the old sanctuary to an educational building was begun and dedicated on September 29, Centennial Celebration In the spring of 1983, Baker County celebrated its 100 th Anniversary. In conjunction with these activities, our church celebrated with a week of Centennial activities and a week-long revival. Our speakers included former pastors Ralph Moore, O. E. Boals, Tom Harper and Howard Olive. Dr. Fred Hubbs, pastor of Arlington Baptist church of Jacksonville, FL 2as also invited to speak. Musical guests were the Brewton Parker College Choir from Mt. Vernon, Georgia. Eugene Hattaway, who was the Minister of Music at First Baptist church in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1983 and a former member of our church, led the music for the week. Staff Changes. In 1986, Jim McCord resigned as Minister of Music and Robert Lambright, Jr., was called to full time Interim Minister of Music and Youth. Later that year, the church called Steve Chastain as Minister of Music and Youth. In 1987, Dr. Allen Carter resigned as pastor and Jack Plew was hired as interim pastor. In March 1988, Steve Fain accepted a call as pastor. He preached his first sermon on Easter Sunday morning. In 1989, Linda Haines was hired as the Minister of Education. In January 1992, Pastor Steve Fain resigned and Ray McKendree was hired as interim pastor. In October 1992, David Hold accepted a call as pastor. In early 1994, Steve Chastain resigned as Minister of Youth but kept the position of Minister of Music. Later in 1994, Steve Chastain resigned as Minister of Music. In 1995, Mike Kwiatkowski accepted a call as Minister of Youth. Charles (Blimp) Davis from the Florida Baptist Convention, Church Music Association, filled in as interim Minister of Music for the remainder of 1994 and during all of In February 1996, Tim Wilder was called to the position of Minister of Music. In the spring of 1997, Mike Kwiatkowski resigned as Minister of Youth. John Trippett filled this position on a part time basis after Mike left. In October of 1997 John accepted a call to full time service as our Minister of Youth. In June 1998, Linda Haines resigned as Minister of Education. In September 1998, David Hold resigned as pastor and accepted a call to the international mission field. Once again, Ray McKendree filled the pulpit for approximately 10 months until a new pastor was called. In August 1999, Dr. Edsel M. Bone accepted the call as pastor to our church. John Trippett, Minister of Youth and AWANA Commander, resigned his position as Minister of Youth. In October of 2002, Matt Altman joined us to fill that position. Matt resigned in March 2006 and in the late

5 spring Syndey Fields filled the position in an intern capacity. Sydney left in August of 2006 and the position is now held by Jeremy Hite. Jeremy leads the youth on Wednesday night and is also a member of the Praise and Worship team which leads worship on Sunday mornings. The Building of the Family Life Center In 1991 the church had a vision to build another facility. Under the leadership of Pastor Steve Fain and the Vision Committee, plans were made to construct a 10,608 sf Family Life Center which would serve our members as well as be an outreach to the community. A new Office Complex In 2002, the home of Bernice Yarborough became available for sale to the church. The church closed the deal on the sale of the home and renovation began later that year. Most of the labor was done by volunteers in the church. After many months of remodeling the new office complex was ready to unveil. The ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Homecoming Sunday in October Construction began in 1997 with the guidance of the Steering Committee. The cost of the building and its furnishings was $595,000. A pledge campaign raised the first $200,000. Funding for the remaining $350,000 was from promissory notes from members, donations and subsequent pledges. Dedication of the new building was on Homecoming Sunday, November 1997 with Pastor David Holt presiding. Guest Speaker at the Homecoming was former pastor Steve Fain. More Renovations. In 2004, renovation of the Educational Building began. The entire two-story structure was gutted and made more structurally sound. The vision for this project included expanding the preschool/nursery area to a more modern, state of the art facility for the babies and toddlers. Currently, this area is used for various children s ministries: Children s Choirs, Children s Sunday School, AWANA ministry as well as a Children s Church ministry. The expanded nursery area is expected to open in early 2007.

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