HISTORY

As early as 1845, the Baptist faith was evident and a church was built on East Valley Street.  During the1850's all citizens of the same faith worshiped together. Shortly after the Civil War, the building was given to the black worshipers.  About 1907, some interested people saw a need for another Baptist church in Abingdon. Funds were collected, trustees selected and a building was erected on a lot given by Captain Henley M. Fugate in honor of his son, the Rev. Henley Fugate, a Baptist Minister. 

 

Interested people of Abingdon of all denominations assisted in the erection of this building. The four men who were most active in the organization of the church, and who became charter members were: Dr. N. W. Denton, Mr. O. L. James, Mr. W. B. James, and the Rev. H. W. Bellamy. James Bell gave the stained glass window which was on the front of the church and has since been moved above the baptistery of the present building. The situation was rather unique in that the church building was erected before there was a congregation.

 

The first meeting was held on October 23, 1910, and the Abingdon Baptist Church was organized. In 1911, the first baptismal service was held in a baptistery that was underneath the floor behind the pulpit.  The Woman's Missionary Union was organized with seven members. On June 15, 1913, Rev. J. L. Watts preached the dedicatory sermon on a debt-free church. About 1914, the Sunday School time was changed from 3:00 p.m. to 9:45 a.m.

 

Many changes and renovations to the church building have been made. From 1935 to 1939, a basement was dug by hand and the dirt was hauled away by wheelbarrow. A furnace was installed and new Sunday School rooms were added. Sunday School classes had been held in the auditorium with curtains to divide the classes.

 

In 1947, Rev. E. M. Collier was called as pastor. In 1949, the sanctuary was remodeled inside and the church bricked outside.

 

Dedication of the new rooms built behind the sanctuary was on March 16, 1952. In 1954, a new foyer, belfry, and balcony were constructed to enlarge the sanctuary. The present beautiful stained-glass windows were installed. Other improvements were new pews, wall-to-wall carpet and a speaker system in the spire over which chimes, turn table, or organ music could be played.  Dedicatory services for this were held May 19, 1955.

 

Sunday School enrollment grew until it became necessary to have two Sunday School and church services each Sunday.  After an illness, Rev. E. M. Collier died on April 22,1965.

 

Dr. Lawrence J. Pace, Jr. began his thirty-one year ministry September 1, 1965.  The church purchased the Ford Motor Company building which joined the church property.  Renovations included the chapel, fellowship hall, kitchen, library, choir room, Sunday School and Church Training rooms.  These facilities were dedicated June 21, 1970.  In 1979, the sanctuary was renovated and enlarged.   In 1985, the church celebrated its 75th anniversary with special programs and again a celebration was held in October of 1990 in observance of our 90th anniversary.  Dr. Lawrence Pace, Jr. retired in September 1996.

Twelve pastors and one interim minister have served the church:


                        Rev. H. W. Bellamy (1910 - 1916)


                        Rev. J. Murray Taylor (1916 - 1922)


                        Rev. Grady Nanney (1922 - 1926)


                        Rev. F. M. Huggins (1926 - 1929)


                        Rev. D. E. Bobbitt (1929 - 1932)


                        Rev. J. H. Broome (1934)


                        Rev. C. H. Frith (1935 - 1939)


                        Rev. W. H. Duff (1939 - 1945)


                        Rev. E. M. Collier (1947 - 1965)


                        Rev. Dr. Lawrence J. Pace, Jr. (1965 - 1996)


                        Rev. Dr. Steven W. Pollard (1998 - 2015)


                        Rev. Michael Poole (2016 - 2017)

                                                        Intentional Interim Minister


                        Rev. Dr. William J. Bryan (2018 - Present)


Associate and music ministers have been Rev. Ralph Smith, Rev. Don Moore, Rev. Bobby Jones, Rev. Ronald Luck, Rev. Lynn Blue, Jr.,  Rev. David N. Crowe, Rev. Russell W. Cole. Rev. Parke L. Deans is currently serving as Minister of Music and Worship since 2005. 

 

The church has a history of mission activities.  For many years, the church has led the association in giving to the Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong offerings. The Home Mission Board has recognized this church as a leader in giving to the Annie Armstrong offering.  Three foreign missionaries have been called to service.  Sixteen men and women have served as volunteer missionaries in overseas missions.  Also, many members have served as volunteers in local, state and home missions. At least thirty members have attended seminary. Currently seventeen graduates are serving in various ministries.  Hundreds of the young people have been involved in the Shalom Singers music ministry and mission trips.