Laurel Hill, Florida
Sketch by Mark Curenton
Wiley F. Martin: August 1896
J. W. Wheeler: Early 1900s
C. T. Culpepper: 1911-1913
D. F. Sutley: 1913-1917(?)
Pitt M. Scott: 1917-1921(?)
C. L. Perry: 1921-1922
F. C. Hawke: 1922-1939
Archie Smith: 1940-1948
E. C. Fleming: 1949-1950
C. 0. Stewart: 1950-1957
J. A. Nichols: 1957-1962
Richard Adleman: 1962-1965
Jere Hendrix: 1965-1967
Albert Locke: 1967-1973
H. C. Rutledge: Interim April – Dec. 1973
Jim Boyd: December 1973 November 1975
H. C. Rutledge: Interim Nov. 75 - May 1976
Marvin Taylor: May 1976
Cecil Walker: 1977-1983
Burdette (Bud) Docter: 1983-1986
Ed McDaniel: Interim March - August 1986
Gary Younkers: August 1986 April 1990
Jeff Locke: April 1990 - April 1994
Mark McClard: Supply Preacher only
Jerry Everage: July 1994 - October 6, 1999
Ed Nichols: interim pastor November 26, 1999
Bud Docter: May 7, 2000 - February 25,2001
Ed Nichols: called as interim January 14, 2001
Ed Nichols: Pastor July 22, 2001 – Sept. 30, 2004
: December 26, 2004 - Present
July 26, 1896
Under the Articles of: The Faith of the
Rev. Wiley F. Martin Rev. L.P.
Sarah J. Locke
Faulkner Maggie Givens
named the church:
Church of Laurel Hill
the church was organized in regular conference, Rev. Wiley F. Martin was
elected as Moderator and Maggie M. Givens as church Clerk.
first conference was held August 27, 1896. Rev. Wiley F. Martin was
unanimously called as pastor.
church services were held in the
, which stood on the grounds where the present building is now located.
the early 1900s, the members conceived the idea of erecting a church
building. It was decided the new building should be erected at Almarante;
this was a central location for the greater number of membership. Leaving
building and moving into the new church at Almarante, Rev. J. W. Wheeler
was the first pastor.
those days most of the congregation walked to church. A few came by horse
and buggy. Rev. Wheeler lived in
. He came by train, arriving on Saturday and returning on Monday.
time marched on, the little community grew, church membership increased,
and there was a need for another church building to be built, and this
time within the city. In 1911 the church was erected on the grounds where
the Assembly of God Church now stands.
C. T. Culpepper was called as Pastor. During this time, the Rev. P.M.
Jones preached a revival and 17 candidates were received for baptism.
1913, Rev. D. L. Sutley was called as pastor, and was the first to be
furnished with a home. The church agreed to pay him an annual salary of
$200.00 for the pastoral year.
May 1913, still under Rev. Sutley's leadership, a revival was held and
there were 15 candidates for baptism. Baptismal services were held on May
31, 1913. Among these were Gladys Givens, daughter of Maggie M. Givens,
and Charles Barlow, son of Minnie Barlow, who were charter members of the
1916 the church building was destroyed by a storm. For several weeks
services were held in a vacant building formerly occupied by the Peoples
Bank of Laurel Hill.
a few weeks, the Presbyterians, having services on alternate Sundays,
tendered the use of their church building.
1917 another church was built on the same grounds, with Rev. Pitt M. Scott
as the new pastor. Being a carpenter by occupation, along with deacons and
brethren of the church, they readied a new building for occupancy in just
a short time. He received a generous salary of $8.00 per Sunday, with
services being held twice a month. A verse of scripture sums up Brother
Scott's faithfulness to the Lord:
thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might: for there is no work, nor
device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest."
church, being a recipient of the Home Mission Board, received a gift of
$300.00 to help pay the debt incurred in the new building.
minutes of the September 9, 1923 meeting shows dedication ceremony of the
new church and the mortgage being burned on the alter by Brother Scott.
C. L. Petty, served in 1921 - 22. Also, Brother F. C. Hawk pastored the
church around 1922 to 1939. One thing that really impressed the members
about Brother Hawk was how faithful he was. He held the honor of having
served as pastor for the greatest length of time. He served a total of 17
years, traveling a distance of 75 miles. He was a real missionary. A verse
of scripture to describe Brother Hawk is Matthew 25:21:
done, thy good and faithful servant."
Archie Smith served as pastor from 1940 to 1948 and Rev. E. C. Fleming
served for a brief period of time in 1949.
was around 1950 when Rev. C. 0. Stewart was called as pastor. He was a
crusader, a builder, a leader, and a devoted servant of the Lord. Under
his leadership, the members of the church looked beyond the walls of the
old building and envisioned a larger and more modern building. Being
encouraged and working together, they put their ideas in motion, and with
the help and guidance of our Heavenly Father, they located a site to erect
a building. In May 1951, the church negotiated with the Laurel Hill
Masonic Lodge to purchase the property were the church is presently
located at a cost of $800.00. The site for the present building is
"your old stomping ground," right where it began in an old
in 1896. "Thank you, Lord, for your guidance and knowledge with which
you endowed these Christians." Members of the church donated trees,
which were carried to a saw mill and cut into material that was used for
the roof. The men did the work and the ladies prepared lunch. It was said
that Brother Stewart commented: "I am a servant and a builder. Where
there is building to be done, the Spirit of the Lord directs me into the
field. When the mission is accomplished, then it is time for me to move on
into another field.
Stewart resigned in 1957.
moves on. Brother J. A. Nichols moved onto the field and pastored the
church following Brother Stewart. It was during his pastorate that the
pastorium was built. Brother Nichols resigned in 1962.
Brother Richard Adleman came on the scene. He was a student from Baptist
Bible institute in
. He was also the first to occupy the pastorium. He resigned in 1965 after
a two-year tenure.
Jerry Hendrix followed Brother Adleman. He ordained a panel of deacons,
Boyette John W.
F. Edenfield Joe Wynn
Clayton Peters came as a deacon from Svea.
was under Brother Hendrix' leadership that remodeling of the church was
undertaken. The first carpet was laid and the old slatted benches were
replaced with new padded pews which added much beauty and comfort to the
sanctuary. Also, the church debt was liquidated, and a bond burning
service was held. Brother Hendrix resigned in 1967.
Brother Albert Locke became the pastor. The church grew tremendously in
membership. Young married couples and youth outnumbered middle aged and
seniors. Again, there was a lot of work done; great improvements were
achieved. It was during his pastorate that the fellowship and activities
building was built. A presentation and dedication ceremony was held with
Brother M.A. Fortune presiding. The challenge lay ahead for new members,
spiritual outreach, and dedicated Christians to carry on the work that had
been placed before them. Brother Locke resigned April 29, 1973.
H. C. Rutledge was our interim pastor for about eight months.
James Boyd, a very fine and faithful servant of the Lord, became the
pastor on December 30, 1973. During his time serving the church, a lot of
work was done, both physically and spiritually. During his time, the front
was extended and the steeple installed. He ordained as deacons, P.P.
Cadenhead, Jr., Rich Epperson, [guy] Steele, and Keith Free.
church continued to grow with a large membership roll. Brother Boyd
resigned November 26, 1975.
Brother H. C. Rutledge was the interim pastor. Brother Rutledge was truly
a man of God.
40:2 explains how his foundation and his walk matched his talk.
brought me up also, out of a horrible pit, out to the
clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings."
He leads, I'll go," was his Christian motto.
church called Brother Marvin Taylor as pastor on May 24, 1976. During his
pastorate he ordained Brother Walter A. Marion as a deacon. He also led
Brother Walter Owens to the Lord and baptized him. He only served for a
1977 the church called Brother Cecil Walker as pastor. Brother Walker was
also a good shepherd. He brought the church to a closer walk and better
understanding of the Lord. During his pastorate he ordained Brother Walter
Owens and Brother Harry Kelley as deacons. He resigned in 1983.
Brother Burdette (Bud) Docter was called to pastor the church. Brother Bud
was a quiet man. He was strong in his faith and a very mission-minded
pastor. It was during his pastorate the building fund for bricking the
church was started. He moved on to a new field in March 1986.
Ed McDaniel served as interim pastor from March 1986 to August 10, 1986.
August 10, 1986, the church called Brother Gary Younkers as pastor. During
his pastorate, much work was done. The church building was bricked and
central heat and air installed.
Younkers resigned April 1, 1990.
Jeffrey Locke came on the scene. Brother Locke was interim until he was
called as pastor on November 11, 1990. Brother Locke was the youngest
pastor ever called. Once again, there was a lot of work that needed to be
done. The pastorium was carpeted, painted inside and out, and central air
installed. New carpet was laid in the sanctuary and new baptistery drapes
hung. This had been a long-awaited pleasure. During his pastorate 15
candidates were baptized. He performed two marriages and recommended two
brothers as Gideons. They were Chester Carter and Bill Ansley.
Locke resigned April 19, 1994. He, his wife Debbi, and their two
daughters, Mandl and Becca, moved on to another church field.
Mark McClard supplied the pulpit until July 17, 1994 when Brother Jerry
Everage accepted a call to serve the church. He had envisioned and helped
carry on a lot of things in the church and association. There was also
some repair work done. The church and pastorium were damaged on October 4,
1995, when Hurricane Opal swept through
and played havoc on the little town and surrounding community of Laurel
Hill. Brother Jerry baptized three candidates and
performed three weddings. He also became a student at the
, on January 15, 1996. He was very excited about being our pastor when we
celebrated our 100th birthday. Brother Jerry and his wife Joyce were able
to mark this celebration down in their church diary as a reminder of the
great joy they had as the pastor of First Baptist Church of Laurel Hill.
the second hundred years dawned, we saw the need to establish a youth
director. Brother Gerald Ward was the first to accept
this position from June 1997 until his resignation in January 1999.
Brother Harold King was ordained as deacon in July 1997.
A period of upgrades were accomplished from December 1997 to
February 1998, which included a new lighted sign in front of the church,
repair of the steeple, and the completion of the Pastorium storage shed
and a lawn mower shed at the activity building. Brother
Jerry Everage resigned as Pastor October 6, 1999.
26, 1999 Dr. Ed Nichols was called as interim Pastor until Bro. Burdette
(Bud) Docter was called into the Pastoral position May 7, 2000.
ordination service for Shelley Reeves, Earl Jernigan and RJ Brown was held
in September of 2000. The process of installing
metal roofs on the church buildings was started in October of 2000 and was
finally completed in April of 2002. Tommy Ward, a
previously ordained deacon, was made a Deacon of
Hill Church February 7, 2001. February 25, 2001 Bro.
Bud Docter resigned as Pastor so that he and his wife Becky could become
“House Parents” at the Florida Baptist Children’s Home in
Ed Nichols was again called to interim on January 14, 2001 until he
accepted the call to Pastor on July 22, 2001. As the
was in need of a new polling place, the Supervisor of Elections was
granted the use of the Fellowship Hall as needed in July of 2001.
All the rooms located in the east wing underwent major renovation
in June and July of 2002, producing a great environment for education and
office space. Throughout 2001 until December of 2002 a Food Pantry was
operated, providing nearly 500 pounds of food per month to over 25
families in the Laurel Hill community. While a great
good of feeding those in need was being accomplished, the greater good of
feeding souls was waning and the Pantry was closed. In January 2003 the
sound system of the church was relocated and upgraded. By April of 2004
central heat and air was installed in the Fellowship hall and an A/C
upgrade was finished in the Sanctuary.
30, 2004 Dr. Ed Nichols resigned.
was called to Pastor on December 26, 2004. A short time
later we started a Youth/Recreation night every Friday at 6pm.
The program quickly expanded to include the whole community of
Laurel Hill offering recreation, food, and Bible study. In
the spring of 2006 we were given the opportunity to computerize our record
keeping systems into the 21st century. Four
used computer systems were bought and networked together, with
capabilities of file interaction and internet. The
Ola Richbourg property was purchased in February of 2006, and later in May
the two 100’ by 100’ lots located on the NE corner of First Ave. and
First St. were donated to the church anonymously. In
June of 2006 we saw the purchase of a new professional Allen organ for the
Sanctuary. A 1991 15 passenger Dodge Van was donated to the church in
October of 2006. While it does get used regularly by
the youth, there have been a few outings where adults have put it to good
use. We believe the Lord is the author of the recent
growth and for this reason we have initiated a search committee for a full
time Youth Pastor which is expected to be filled soon.
has seen major renovations with the completion of the addition and
remodeling of the front of the church to include a new foyer, restrooms,
covered drive thru and a concrete circle driveway.
Pastor Mike’s arrival almost 3 years ago, we have seen tremendous growth
in activity, people, and property. He has tirelessly
traveled long distances to visit the sick, grown and harvested crops to
feed the hungry, and earnestly sought the souls of the lost in every
venue. While the leadership of Pastor Mike has been
instrumental in our growth, he will be the first to remind everyone that
it is God who gives the increase. May God continue to
give him the strength.
the years, several men have been ordained as ministers of the gospel.
Many others have accepted the call to serve the Lord as dedicated
teachers, directors, and workers in the field. All are saints in the
ministry, for through these doors have passed some of the best and most
consecrated Christian people in the world.
we prayerfully move forward to reach another soul, may the Spirit of the
Lord richly bless you in this church family.