Photo by Beverly Guthrie Lougher

History of the 
Wolffork Baptist Church
taken from the introductory pages
of the pictoral directory of 1997 
by
Edith WhitmireParker
and Linda Garland Page 
used by permission


There are those in our congregation who still remember the old wooden building which once stood where our present pastorium now stands. That building served our community-for both Baptist and Methodist-as a school and church facility. It was known as "The Meeting House". 

The dates on a newer building which were later covered with paint indicated it was built in 1905. Some have said that material from the earlier building was used in its construction. The new building continued to serve the community for both church and school until the thirties when the school consolidated with Dillard. There are still members in our church who went to that school.

In November 1912, the Baptist in this community formally organized with 48 charter members and selected the name "Wolffork Missionary Baptist Church". Terry Dickerson, age 98, is our only surviving charter member. J. T. Swanson was elected as the first pastor for the church and J. P. Coleman, Ed Page, Dock Smith and John Carnes were elected as deacons.


Terry Dickerson age 98
Deceased October 21, 1997

It is interesting that with each year something was added to the loosely organized church that contributed to making it what it is today. Space will only allow us to mention some of the most important events in our church history. 

The first record of an organized Sunday School and an elected superintendent, J.E. Dickerson, is 1919. The first BYPU was organized in 1932. During J. F. Marchman's pastorate a Women's Missionary Union was organized and the first Vacation Bible School was formed. As the church was being repaired in 1941, Sunday School rooms were added and in 1942, electric lights were installed.

In 1948, Sunday School rooms in the rear of the church were added. In 1951, prize money was received for community improvement and was used toward buying new furniture. In 1957, Harry Jones was elected pastor and during his pastorate water and indoor restrooms were installed.

In 1961, a donation and additional offering from members made it possible for the church to purchase its first pastorium and call its first full time pastor, Joe Straner. In 1967, plans were made to sell the old pastorium and build a new one - still being used today. It was dedicated in May 1969, just as Robert Bates came to us to pastor his very first church.

As the church continued to grow, space became inadequate and in 1973, under the pastorate of Roger Saunders, our church voted to build an education building and add a baptistry to the sanctuary.  It was completed in 1975, and the note burning and dedication took place on May 2, 1979, under the pastorate of Judson Hall. In 1975, the cemetery land was enlarged through land trading. In 1977, carpet was installed and in 1980, pews were covered through a memorial fund. In 1983, community worship services were started on each fifth Sunday evening. The Methodist and Baptist churches in the valley joined together for services, each church taking their turn to host the service and fellowship meal. The Presbyterians later joined us.


Before the present sanctuary was built

As the aging sanctuary began to deteriorate and more space was needed, plans were made in 1986, under the pastorate of Jimmy Logan, to build a new sanctuary, which would provide double seating capacity. The old sanctuary was torn down and the present one was started in July 1988. It was completed and the first worship service was held in March 1989. The note burning and dedication service for the new sanctuary took place during Homecoming, October 1992, under the pastorate of Judson Hall.

Under the pastorate of Richard Daley, the new fellowship hall was completed and dedicated July 4, 1995. In August 1995 the WMU started the Memory Garden - a garden of donated plants and garden structures in honor of and in memory of loved ones. Many of the plants came from gardens of the original members of this church. The garden continues to expand.


Memory Garden - August 1995

In recent years, growth and change of times has necessitated the need for some good as well as some not so popular changes for our church. Members recognized needs for stronger organization in some areas and also saw the need for protecting what members throughout the years have dedicated their faith and stewarded their time and money to establish. In 1993, a church council was started and policies for the church cemetery and for using the facilities have been adopted. The unfortunate locking of the church facilities - except for the sanctuary - was a difficult but inevitable decision by members.

With the changes made within the structure of the national Women's Missionary Union have come changes in our own organization. Named Women on Missions - with a greater emphasis on mission outreach - they now provide facilitators for other sub-groups as a means for reaching out to other women in the community. Our church has one of the most active, although one of the smallest WMU organizations in the county.

In 1996 the church voted to place their cemetery fund with the Georgia Baptist Foundation.  In June 1997, the church received a sizable gift which the members voted to tithe ten percent toward missions and made a commitment to use the rest to establish a position for a part time "associate pastor with responsibilities in music and with youth" for a three year period. 

As we celebrate our 85th year we reflect on the words of Edith Parker 1986, "We thank God for those in the past who rendered such dedicated service and we give Him praise and glory for anything that we might accomplish.


Present day Sanctuary
completed in 1989


Graduation Ceremony and social - 1921
 


Addition of Educational Building - 1975


This is a picture of the inside of the Church at
Christmas taken by Carol Dickerson Dunbar 
 in 1996


Photo by Beverly Guthrie Lougher
 

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