History of the Grassy Creek Baptist Church — 1991

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History of the Grassy Creek Baptist Church

Ashe County, North Carolina

In the early period of this century, many of the churches in Ashe and Grayson counties had a pastor who served the church only one weekend each month. People would attend other churches when there was no preaching in their local building. Baptists and Methodist often met together for preaching and Sunday School. School buildings were, at times, used for church services and Sunday School for both denominations. A number of Grassy Creek residents of the Baptist faith attended preaching services and were members of New River and Pleasant Home Churches. Because of distance and travelling conditions, Grassy Creek Baptists began thinking of a Baptist Church locally. A committee was selected to explore the possibility.

Looking around for leaders for this effort, the committee turned to Rev. Oscar Spencer, who lived in the Grassy Creek community, and to Rev. Jesse Shumate, who frequently preached in the area. These dedicated Christian men accepted the challenge and soon they had very persuasively convinced the people that this was ned that should no longer be delayed. Soon vision became reality when, in 1927, land was obtained on Rt. 725 between Virginia-Carolina High School and the Methodist Church, and construction began on a building, to be known as Grassy Creek Baptist Church. Mr. Mark Blevins, a competent carpenter, was selected to build the church. At first, this was a one-room, white frame structure and contained a home-made lectern and 20 pews which Mr. Blevins also made. This original structure was used until renovation was completed in 1967.

Records reveal the names of the following people as charter members: Mr. and Mrs. R. W. Blackburn, Mattie Baker, Luther Barker, Mrs. M. W. Blevins, Mrs. Annie Haynes, Pollie Lane, Zella Lane, Punie Lane, Edith Livesay, Mrs. Parasade Rutherford, Josie Rutherford, Lester Whitely, Jimmie Wood, Mr. Ruby Wood, and Mrs. Bina DeBord. Early pastors were Rev. J. Oscar Spencer and Rev. Jesse Shumate. Many other residents, some of whom has passed away and others moved, later became members and staunch supporters of the church.

Two years after the completion of the building, Grassy Creek Baptist Church housed the annual session of the Ashe Baptist Association for three days, August 30, 31, and September 1, 1929, and served lunch on the grounds. Rev. S. Coy Blackburn served as Moderator of this associational session and Bryon Oliver served as clerk. Due to insufficient lighting, these sessions were held during the day with no night sessions. Official representatives or delegates of the associational churches and ministers who traveled long distances were guests over night in the homes of the members of the host church. This was an accepted custom in that period and members volunteered to provide lodging for as many people as they could care for.

Later, as attendance and membership grew, the need for Sunday School space was recognized and a basement was added to provide for four classrooms and two bathrooms. A furnace was installed for central heat. Today [1991] the church has six Sunday School rooms and an enrollment of 78.

Recently, a fellowship building was begun and is now completed and is being well used.

A number of fine ministers have served the church as pastors through the years, including J. Oscar Spencer, Jesse Shumate, Gwyn Blackburn, Henry Colvard, Paul Phipps, Reeves Jones, M. D. Hart, Squire Graybeal, Camet Halsey, Phillip Duval, and the present pastor, Rev. Kermit Goodman, who has served the church for the past 12 years.

This article was printed in the 1991 Minutes of the Ashe Baptist Association.