Pea Ridge Baptist Church celebrates 100th anniversary

Published 10:00 pm Sunday, May 11, 2014


The following history of Pea Ridge Baptist Church, located on Highway 108 E. past Mill Spring, is being recalled as the church celebrates its 100th anniversary.  Members, former members and the community are invited to come celebrate with Pea Ridge Baptist on Sunday, May 18 beginning at 10 a.m. with the Atkins Family singers.
Then the 11a.m. annual Homecoming and Celebration of the 100th Anniversary, a group photo on the lawn and a covered dish luncheon will take place.  Attendees are invited to dress in vintage clothes, if desired, such as long dresses, overalls, hats, suspenders, aprons, and ole time attire.
Pea Ridge Baptist Church
State of North Carolina, County of Polk… To the Pastor, Deacons and Brethren of Pleasant Hill Church of Rutherford County, North Carolina, Greetings: “It is with the greatest pleasure and in the name and for the glory of our Saviour and the salvation of sinners, that the pastor, deacons, and brethren of the Baptist Church of Mills Springs, North Carolina, in the County of Polk, most cordially, sincerely and fraternally invite you all to be present and assist in the organization of a new Baptist Church at Pea Ridge in Polk County, on the third Sunday of June, 1914, at 3:00 o’clock.  Trusting to have your presence, assistance and prayers and that HIS blessing may be upon us all upon that occasion, we are yours in the faith.”
The above is an exact copy of a letter found among the papers of a founder of the Pea Ridge Baptist Church and gives us the exact date of its organization.  Until that time, families attended Manus Methodist Church or traveled four miles to Mill Spring Baptist Church, either on foot or by buggy.
Clarence Justice donated land. Men of the community gave their time and completed the church in 1915. Riley Williams and George Fowler were carpenters, along with Romney and Cal Phillips, John and Collette Fowler, Esper and Terrell Carswell, Vance Newman, Birch Davis and Val Hyder.
The church belonged to the Green River Baptist Association until 1960 when it joined Polk Baptist Association.  During the years many of the leading citizens of Pea Ridge have served as deacons.
Under their leadership the church has continued to grow and expand from that first small building in 1915. Land was acquired through purchase and donation from Clarence Justice, Sill Edwards, Mary Taylor, the Esper Carswell family, Broadus Fowler, and Jim Thomason.  The building has been bricked over, electricity and plumbing installed, Sunday School rooms built, along with a kitchen, office, and nursery, and a parsonage was purchased.
Other important dates include:  In 1993, a Family Center was built. A new sound system was  installed in 1996. A baby grand piano and media equipment were purchased in 1998.  In June 2000 the addition of several classrooms and restrooms were dedicated.  In 2005 the Family Center basement was finished providing room for youth activities and recreation along with two restrooms and an outdoor playground area.  Since then several other updates and improvements have taken place.  We rejoice in our progress and thank God for His many blessings. A time capsule will be planted on Sunday, June 15, 2014 to be opened in 25 years (2039) marking our 125th anniversary.
On November 24, 2013, Rev. Joshua A. Lathan became our Church Pastor.  His family (wife Nicolette and young daughters, Mila and Coraleigh) came to us from Lincolnton, N.C.  (Portions taken from the PCHA Polk County History 1983)

– article submitted
by Ann Carswell

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