The history of Blountsville Baptist Church

This structure was built on Church Street in 1901. It was replaced by the brick building on College Street which was dedicated Feb. 5, 1967.

This structure was built on Church Street in 1901. It was replaced by the brick building on College Street which was dedicated Feb. 5, 1967.

Billie Ann Standridge collected the following information about the history of Blountsville Baptist Church in 1988. She wrote:

The earliest known record of the Blountsville Baptist Church is a deed, dated July 26, 1859, made by the executors of the estate of John Fowler. This deed grants “right and title to the lot of land whereon the meetinghouse of the aforesaid Baptist Church in said town now stands.” The deed states that this land and building were given by John Fowler in his lifetime to the Baptist Church to occupy the basement floor and the Masonic lodge to occupy the upper floor. John Fowler died in 1849, so it is assumed this church was meeting prior to 1849. The property is where the Masonic lodge now stands. It was deeded to the lodge in 1903.

Minutes from the Warrior River Baptist Association in 1893 and 1894 show that the pastor at Blountsville was H.W. Head and the church clerk was C. Turner. The Warrior River Baptist Association was organized about 1858, and in 1906 the name was changed to Blount County Baptist Association. Minutes from 1900 show W.H. Absher as pastor with R.B. Sims as church clerk. The church had 89 members.

Sometime between 1903 and 1905 the church was moved to the opposite corner of the property where the building was built that had double front stairs. The stairs caused problems because it was very difficult to carry a casket up those stairs. Another problem was the fact that water rose in the basement; however, the church remained on that location for about 50 years.

During that time many important things occurred in the life of the church. The first annual session of the Blount County Women’s Missionary Union was held at Blountsville Baptist Church in 1912. Blountsville appeared to have begun having two preaching Sunday’s per month about 1912. Sometime after 1940, the church employed a full-time minister. In 1927 the church adopted BYPU and the cooperative program. In November 1922, a committee was appointed to have electric lights installed in the building.

In March 1950, a building committee was appointed to make plans for a new building. By 1952 the church had begun a building fund by “membership canvass,” raising, picking and selling cotton, programs, and dinners. The Church moved into the new building April 22, 1956. It had been constructed at a cost of $70,000, but only $20,000 was owed at the time of completion. Much volunteer labor was used in the actual construction.

In 1956, the Blount County Baptist Association split and the Friendship Association was formed. Blountsville Baptist Church was an active participant in the new association. Indeed the first annual meeting of the Friendship Association was held at the Blountsville Baptist Church in September 1956. The organizational meeting had been held at Cleveland Baptist Church on Nov. 29, 1955.

By 1988 no major renovations had been made on the building. The church had a resident membership of 325 and operated on an annual budget of $84,000. The church staff consists of a pastor, a minister of music and minister of youth, a secretary, and a janitor.

Additional information obtained by Billie Ann Standridge and Jane Wright

On Sept. 28, 1991, the church broke ground for a new addition to the building, including a kitchen, dining room, restrooms, and a Sunday school space upstairs. This portion was completed at a cost of $175,000, and the church remained debt free. Many members of the church gave generously of their time and money to make this possible. Volunteers did a great amount of the labor and various members and friends of the church donated the furniture and appliances in the kitchen and dining room. The building was completed in May 1992.

In the summer of 1993 shrubbery was donated and volunteers again did major yard work. At that same time the front and back parking lots were paved. For this, the church borrowed $15,000.

The Crumbley property, adjoining the church south of the new fellowship addition, was offered to the church for $42,000. On June 9, 1996, the church voted to purchase the property, which in 1992 became a fenced playground area for the children.

On Oct. 14, 2001, the congregation voted to make the church more visible by putting a lighted letter sign on the back of the church with a message sign at the front of the church.

The church started a $110,000 sanctuary renovation on June 8, 2009. New lighting, carpet, pew renovation, extension of pulpit, paint, and new updated electronics were installed. This was a debt-free renovation thanks to loyal church members.

In 2009, the church had 276 resident members and an annual budget of approximately $133,000. The deacons at this time were Bobby Adcock, Darrell Bateman, Paul Dial, Kelly Dunn, Greg Hamrick, Steve Lowrey, Donald Nation, Roy Posey, Ed Reaves, R.J. Smith, and Kenneth Wright.

The church purchased the Hudson property in 2010. This allowed an additional parking area, a children’s playground, and an additional storage area.

After the Apr. 27, 2011 tornado, the church served as a relief headquarters and distribution center. Recent years have seen church programs grow. Currently the TeamKids program is held on Wednesday nights, with children’s church on Sunday mornings and Sunday nights. The youth also have programs on Wednesday and Sunday nights.

On Sunday, Oct. 28, Blountsville Baptist Church will recognize the history of the church. There will be old pictures for viewing. A group picture will be taken after church, followed by afternoon activities.

Randall Edmondson serves as pastor and Mark Southwell is the minister of music. The youth director is Daniel Allison, the pianist is Bari Reaves, and Frankie Neel is the church organist.