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church history


Church History

(As transcribed from handwritten notes of Elaine Whaley and Alva Neil Scott. All information gathered by Francis Stewart.) Mrs. Dorcas Samples started with prayer meetings in her home. Those attending were the Herron family, the Hicks family, the Hampton family, and Maude and Ruby Ferguson. They rotated the meetings which were sometimes held in the Hicks home and sometimes under a tree in the pasture of the Hicks farm. Shortly after Ann Nipper, Viola Wright, Weyman Epperson, Frank Wright and JC Wright started attending the services. Over a span of years they started having service under trees where Samples Memorial Baptist Church now stands.

In March 1940 they began clearing ground for the first little “mission” on this property. It was called Forrest Wood Baptist Mission. The mission had sawdust floors, kerosene lanterns, and pine peeled trees for studs that the women and children peeled themselves. Aunt Mary Hampton donated the timber. Mrs. Samples collected donations for the tin roof and nails. Mr. Cleve Samples and Leonard Herron built the first small, square church building. They heated with wood from Mr. Cleve Samples in a wood heater. In the summer they had to fight the bumble bees and lizards.

On December 17, 1954 Dorcaus Samples agreed to deed one acre to build a new church. They met in conference on this day and voted Leonard Higgins to be the first pastor. Leonard Higgins and Collie Lyles helped organize Samples Memorial Church. On August 13, 1955 the church was reorganized into Samples Memorial Missionary Baptist Church. The reorganization setup the Articles of Faith and also read and accepted the Church Covenant. On May 12, 1956 they voted to build a new church building and was to begin working on it on June 1, 1956. This new building is now the Sunday Schools rooms in the back of the current church. They voted on a building committee that consisted of Alvin Ball, Willie Fowler, and Houston Martin. They started building in the spring of 1956 and finished in September 1956. The building was 30 ft. x 40 ft. They sold the building to Frank Wright (Teresa Fowler’s father) on September 16, 1956.

Dates to remember:

• Ples Millsaps Member – Jan 16, 1954 Deacon – June 21, 1955

• Veran Millsaps Member – Jan 16, 1954

• Sarah Herron Member – 1955

• Linda Eaton Member – Nov 6, 1956

• Mrs. Cannon Member – 1957

• Delmar Stinnett Member – 1957 Deacon – 1958

• Betty Stinnett Member – 1957

• Gene Scott Member – July 8, 1958

• Iva Nell Scott Member – July 8, 1958

• Moses Ballew Member – Feb 15, 1959 Deacon – 1965

• Charlotte Brown Member – 1956

• Virgil Brown Member – 1956

• Maylon Fowler Member – 1955

• Willie Fowler Member – 1956

• Rosene Powell Member – 1961

• Evelyn Fowler Member – 1960

• Edward Swallows Member – 1961

• Judy Fowler Burns Member – 1961

• Pastor Leonard Higgins resigned 1966

• Pastor Gerald Flood elected Oct 5, 1966 – resigned Sept 4, 1968

• Building new auditorium April 27, 1967

• New auditorium completed Easter Sunday 1968

• Pastor Eddie Hooker elected Oct 20, 1968 - resigned June 11, 1972

• Pastor Jerry Patterson elected part-time Aug 20, 1972 – resigned Dec 1974

• New furniture & remodeled auditorium & sound stage Aug 18, 1974 – completed May 7, 1975

• Pastor Jimmy Hutton elected March 25, 1975 – resigned July 24, 1977

• Pastor Charles Bowlin elected Nov 23, 1977 – resigned Nov 1990

• Built fellowship Hall Feb 1, 1978

• Paved parking lot Dec 2, 1981

• Rev. Lawrence Thurmond elected temporary assistant pastor Sept 1, 1982 – resigned July 24, 1983

• Add-on and remodel auditorium 37% increase May 18, 1986 – complete Dec 1986

• Pastor Lee Ingram elected Jan 20, 1991

• Mark Cameron elected assistant pastor July 12, 2006

• Chad Cameron ordained as youth pastor July 16, 2006

• New church building started July 2009 – completed June 20, 2010 (Father's Day)

• Pastor Lee Ingram resigns as pastor Mar 27, 2011

• Pastor Mark Cameron elected pastor Sept 25, 2011 - present

New Sanctuary - Dedicated June 20, 2010


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