CHURCH HISTORYand Timeline
On February 2, 1986 40 persons met in the basement of First Federal Savings and Loan to discuss organizing a new church.
Motion was made by Billy Wynn to proceed in organizing a church, seconded by Bob Edwards, motion carried.
Motion made by George Ballard, and seconded by Billy Wynn to call Brother Earl Van Winkle (who was present) as pastor for 60 days, motion carried.
Motion was made by Eddie Abney, seconded by Bob Edwards, to form an organizing committee of five consisting of: Gene Ballard, Billy Wynn, Darrell Shepherd, Wayne Livesay, and George Ballard. Motion carried.
Motion made by Billy Wynn, seconded by George Ballard for Gail Livesay to serve as church clerk, motion carried.
Motion made by Mary Medlock, seconded by Bob Edwards for Maire Todd to serve as Sunday school secretary and treasurer, motion carried.
Motion made by Ricky Abney to elect a Sunday Schoool superintendent, motion passed.
Motion made by Billy Wynn, seconded by George Ballard that Wayne Livesay serve as Sunday School superintendent.
Motion made by Ricky Abney, seconded by John Gill to choose a name for our church, motion carried.
The name Gethsemane was chosen by the church. 10 names were given, and by process of voting and elimination, Gethsemane was chosen. (Just a side note, second choice was New Haven) Motion made by Bob Edwards, seconded by George Ballard to hold a dedication service on March 9, 1986 for the dedication of the church and it to serve the lord, motion carried. Motion made to adjourn.
From there, things moved quickly and the years flew by.
By March 6, 1986, we had moved temporarily to the Marc Center on Gabbard Town Road, purchased song books, tables, and chairs.
On April 3, 1986, accepted George Ballards offer to meet in a building on his property as a temporary church (it was while there that I attended Sunday School training session offered by Tates Creek Association, they gave lots of suggestions on how to organize our Sunday School rooms. I had to ask, any suggestions if my room was 2 refrigerator boxes taped together for 4 children and myself)
July 23, 1986 Rev. Bob Taylor was voted in as interim pastor.
November 5, 1986 at a business meeting, it was voted that every 5th Sunday be dedicated to building fund, and any amount in general fund over $1,500 be transferred to building fund (we were going to have a church building).
December 7, 1986 ordained 4 new deacons.
April 20, 1987 a special business meeting to discuss buying the property and house on old US 25 N for $90,000. It was voted to do that.
June 10, 1987, church voted for authorized persons to borrow up to an additional $175,000 to build the sanctuary and remodel house for Sunday School rooms.
October 1987, groundbreaking was held.
December 31, 1987 our first service in our new sanctuary was a New Year’s Eve service with lot of rejoicing.
January 23, 1994, Rev. Chuck Slushier called as interim pastor.
August 21, 1994, Rev. Ed Cortez called as full-time pastor (I don’t imagine he could have ever guessed how his world would change by accepting the call to Gethsemane).
3 young men went from Gethsemane to become full time pastors with churches of their own. We’ve seen young adults travel to foreign countries to minister there. One young man bought a one way ticket to China and has made it his home as he spreads God’s word.
Since there have been more changes, the old garage was remodeled into a fellowship hall with a kitchen.
A new Sunday School addition was added, and so it continues through the years.
These are facts as recorded in the minutes of Gethsemane Baptist Church, but they are just that, facts. They can not convey the heart and soul of the members that have passed through these doors.
I can tell you that every time (especially in tough times) when I drive up the hill I would feel like I was coming home, and a peace would be with me (even though I’m sure I did not always show it).
The people that have shared my life in our church through the years are too numerous to mention, but they were, and are in every sense to me, my family.
I can shut my eyes and see Francis, Rella, Marie, Mary, Dorsie, Doris, and others in the kitchen, showing (no telling) me that this is the way it is done. (If you wonder why there are small dessert pieces, ask them.)
I can see Brother Taylor, Eddie, George, Gene, Wayne, Billy, Darrell, serving a candlelight communion.
I can see Ricky, Shirley, Nora trying to coach one more music note, one more song, one more cantata out of us trying to sing (speaking for myself).
But now I just look around and see faces of persons I have grown to love, who still continue on the journey of “service to the Lord” as first voted on in March of 1986, almost 31 years ago.
With these, I have prayed, sung songs, laughed, played, worked, cried, and yes, argued, but family they remain.
These persons are not the facts of Gethsemane, but the heart and soul of Gethsemane. Gethsemane’s purpose is still very much alive and will continue to grow. My family, I love you all.
Written by Donna Hollon – September 2017
- April 6, 1986 – Voted to acept land given by Danny and Mae Thompson to build a church on
- May 15-18, 1986 – By-Laws accepted
- July 23, 1986 – Brother Taylor voted as interim pastor
- July 27, 1986 -Requested admittance to Tates Creek Association
- November 5, 1986 – New deacons elected to serve with Bill Wynn and George Ballard; Darrell Shepherd, Gene Ballard, Eddie Abney, Wayne Livesay
- April 20, 1987 – Voted to buy house and acreage from Danny and Mae Thompson for a price of $90,000
- May 13, 1987 – Voted to give officers of Corporation authorization to borrow up to $175,000 to build
- July 6-10, 1987 – First Bible School held. Average attendance 54.
- October 6, 1987 – Building committee met Roy Gene Todd and gave him contract to build new sanctuary, remodel house
- October 7, 1987 – Construction on church began
- October 11, 1987 – Ground breaking for new church
- December 31, 1987 – New grand Piano was delivered, steeple put up, seats installed, ready for service
- December 31, 1987 – 1st service, New Years Eve and Communion Service held from 9:30pm – 1:00am.
- March 20, 1988 – Dedication Service and reception for new church
- August 1992 – Voted for committee to purchase van
- September 1994 – Brother Ed Cortez called as pastor
- May 3, 1995 – Voted to remodel garage with South Fork Baptist Church coming for a week in July
- July 2, 1995 – Voted to leave garage as is; build on to existing Sunday School rooms
- July 17, 1995 – South Fork Baptist Church came for 1 week to build Sunday School rooms
- March 2000 – Remodeled garage with church volunteers
- Fall 2002 – New kitchen added to fellowship hall
- November 2005 – Deacon Ordination – Mike St. John, David Shehee, Phil Gatliff, Clyde Miller, Darrell Shepherd
- May 2016 – Mission trip to Mexico