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History--Full Abstract

Church History

Six score and three years ago (1873), a band of Black Christians came together to start a Christian church, somewhere near the remote town of Lumberton, North Carolina. The earlier tradition was that Blacks could worship in the “white” churches. Therefore, upon request from the Black worshipers of the First Baptist Church, Walnut Street, permission was granted to organize their own church.

A plot of land was purchased about 1.5 miles south of the Lumber River, which later became the present site of Sandy Grove Baptist Church. Some of the known founders were Sandy and Rachel Smith, Eric and Florence Cobb, Pierce Powell and Emanuel Fulmore. It is believed that the Smiths, especially Sandy, and Pierce Powell were in early leadership roles of the church. The church was named Sandy Grove Baptist Church and has continued to maintain its identity. The members claim the motherhood of Black Baptists in Robeson County, North Carolina. All of the existing churches of the same faith, in the city, later grew from our church, Sandy Grove Baptist Church.

Through the 135 years of Christian struggle, eighteen pastors have led this great church as a team effort toward a better religious experience and enterprise. Our former pastors were: Rev. A.A. Thompson, Rev. E.M. Thompson, Rev. W.C. Pope, Rev. Simeon Dockery, Rev. W.D.L. Pope, Rev. J.D. Harrell, Rev. H.D. Moore, Rev. H.O. Rhoe, Rev. H.A. Smith, Rev. J.H. Clanton, Rev. W.D. Burton, Rev. P.H. Warren, Rev. O.K. Lawson, Rev. R. L. Davis, Rev. S.A. Locks, Rev. J.F. Kelly, and Rev. O.E. Pelham. Our current pastor is Rev. T. Shedrick Byrd.

In 1895, a wooden frame building was erected, under the leadership of Rev. E.M. Thompson. Another wooden structure was built in the 1940’s, and later it was brick veneered. Later, Brother W.H. Spearman designed and spearheaded a two-story church educational addition, with a basement and renovated the church sanctuary with a balcony. In 1949, Rev. J.H. Clanton and the membership dedicated these buildings.

Rev. Burton reorganized the Baptist Training Union. This included youth, young adults and older adults. This put all to work from six to seven every Sunday evening. His hope was to always have a Training Union.

Rev. Warren’s greatest contribution was the organization of the Ballard Choir. Our first organ (a Baldwin) was purchased under his leadership. Preaching was his love. He always, if asked, “How are you doing?” answered, “I’m just pressing.”

The Day Care Center, founded by Rev. O.K. Lawson, provided much-needed early childhood instruction and child care for working mothers. Rev. Lawson was also responsible for a beautiful renovation of the church sanctuary.

Rev. Sidney A. Locks pastored Sandy Grove Baptist Church for fifteen years. He guided the church through several renovations; three parcels of land were purchased, the surrounding church grounds were landscaped, the parking area was paved, and a bus ministry was developed.

In July 1990, Rev. James F. Kelly accepted the challenge as the new pastor of Sandy Grove. Under his tenure as the pastor of the church, the church parsonage was renovated and painted, the ladies restrooms and lounge area were remodeled; padded pews were bought for the sanctuary, the floors were re-carpeted throughout the church, and the parking areas were resealed.

In June 1994, Rev. Dr. Otis E. Pelham accepted the call to lead Sandy Grove. His accomplishments were the following: parking areas were resurfaced and marked for proper parking; a new church van was purchased; a prison ministry started; noon prayer service on Wednesdays started; a nursery ministry for the children was established; a prison ministry, and, a prayer band for the sick and shut-in in the rest homes and in the community was established. When relieved of his pastorship at Sandy Grove, he took part of the congregation with him.

In June 2000, the Sandy Grove Church membership began construction on a 6,000 sq. ft. brick-veneered fellowship and dining facility. The new fellowship center was completed and the dedication ceremony was held on August 29, 2001.

Sandy Grove Baptist Church is an affiliate of the following organizations: Robeson County Missionary Union, Woman’s Baptist Home and Foreign Missionary Union, Lumber River Baptist Association, General Baptist State Convention, Woman’s Baptist Home & Foreign Missionary Convention of NC, the Progressive National Convention, Inc., and the Lott Carey Convention.

Sandy Grove is a part of the universal struggle of all Christian Churches. With a steadily growing membership our church seeks to address the needs of its members, its community, and the needs of the state in the light of God’s word.

In 2001, Rev. T. Shedrick Byrd accepted the challenge and call to pastor Sandy Grove Missionary Baptist Church. Under his leadership greater unity and truer fellowship among the members and congregation flourished. Our church’s reflection in the community and surrounding area has grown in relationship, membership, and finance. During the six-year tenure of Rev. Byrd, financial contributions has increased over 80 percent, worship attendance has increased over 75 percent, and we enjoy the birth of new members regularly.

We are tremendously blessed. His ideas about church growth, spiritual maturity and property expansion are excellent. An Assistant to the Pastor position was established to oversee our Youth Ministry and work wherever needed. Our music staff has increased. The Ballard/Stephens Choir has been reorganized to form the Praise Team. Under his administration, the Women of Devotion Choir was organized, as was a new members’ class, an additional young adult Sunday school class, a Seasoned Saints Ministry and the Sandy Grove Singles Ministry. The parking lot has been restored with new sealing, black topping, additional curbing and walkway extensions. A new and vibrant sound system has been installed in the sanctuary. A new fluorescent marquee has been inserted within the old marquee structure in front of the church which allows us to witness it both day and night!

Additional properties have been purchased: Sinclair Property, McNair and Williams Property were purchased in 2010.

The old church steeple has been removed and a new one installed.

Under the Scholarship Ministry, Knuckles Elementary School and Lumberton Junior High School were adopted as our community schools. We built “Principals Row” across the street, and the names of former principals appear in stone under a sculptured eagle. We also provide school supplies for these schools throughout the year.

With a steady growing membership, our church seeks to address the needs of its members and the community.

Motto: Exalting, equipping, empowering and evangelizing.

We look and live in awe and expectation, as we are this very day experiencing tremendous growth in discipleship and evangelism under our present pastor!

We continue to experience tremendous growth through our Early Morning Experience with the addition of various local gospel musicians and groups providing heavenly praise!


Last Published: June 20, 2011 10:25 AM

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