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CREEDMOOR — During a special Nov. 10 worship service at Pine Grove Missionary Baptist Church, a bronze marker was revealed acknowledging the church’s 149 years of being established in the Hester community.
A written history of the church tells of how in 1870, five years after slavery was abolished, a group of persons meeting each Wednesday night for prayer service in a brush harbor, “across the creek” near the old Winston Schoolhouse at Hester, was led by the Holy Spirit to organize a church.
The brush harbor was replaced with a log building before moving to the church’s present site on Highway 56 and constructing a simple frame building.
Rev. George Washington Thomas led the congregation from 1932-1954, the longest of any of the pastors, until Rev. Larry McElroy, who led church for 20 years until his untimely death, in May 2017. McElroy’s death ushered in a little more history as the first ever female pastor, Dorothy Evans, was installed.
Washington began God’s Acre Plan for building funds. Farmers dedicated an acre of tobacco and gave total profits to the church. Others gave a special percentage of other products. In 1950, the frame building was replaced with a brick structure, only to be destroyed when fire struck in 1964.
The present brick building was constructed in 1965. During the following years, debts were paid off, more land was purchased and services increased along with membership. The members established a scholarship fund, children and youth programs, bible study groups, missionary departments, choirs, drama department, and has given assistance for other beginning churches. Proclamations acknowledging the church’s historical significance have been presented.
Pine Grove Baptist Church continues to build on its foundation of serving members and the community while serving the Lord. The bronze marker, purchased partially with funds received through a grant from Walmart applied for by John Mayo, is a reminder of this church’s history to all who enter.