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"History of First Baptist Church, South Boston, Virginia".

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Page 2 - History

During the pastorate of Mr. Wildman the old building was remodelled and a beautiful auditorium was built. During Mr. Doan's pastorate the old building was torn down and a new Sunday School building erected. Also, during his pastorate the old parsonage on Traver Avenue was sold and a parsonage built next door to the church. This was made possible largely by a gift of $6000.00 from Mr. A. B. Willingham. During Dr. Sanford's pastorate a new sanctuary was built and dedicated in 1924. Dr. Riley served the church as pastor for 20 years. in 1934 the name of the church was changed from South Boston Baptist Church to First Baptist Church. In 1936 the Sunday School building was destroyed by fire and the sanctuary damaged. Dr. Riley arose to the occasion and in 1937 a beautiful and adequate educational building had replaced the one that burned. Also, due largely to Dr. Riley's leadership an Estey organ was installed in 1936 The Lacy Bible Class installed chimes in 1948.

When the Rev. H. Walton Connelly, Jr. became pastor in 1951 the church staff consisted of a part-time secretary, a part-time financial secretary, a part-time janitor, and an organist. Under his leadership the church soon had a full-time secretary, a Minister of music, a director of church activities, an organist, a full-time janitor, and a church hostess. It was also during this period that summer workers were employed.

In 1951 there were 151 additions to the church, 58 by baptism; in 1952 there were 108 additions, 48 by baptisms.

In 1952, under the leadership of Mr. E. J. Wyatt and his committee, Faith Baptist Church (now Ash Avenue) was organized as a daughter church of First Baptist Church. It was also at this time that the parsonage was taken over for additional educational space and a parsonage was rented on Vaughan. Street.

In 1953 a lot was purchased at Eagle Eyrie, Virginia Baptist's assembly grounds. In 1956 a lodge had been built on the lot and dedicated that year. This lodge was the first lodge built at Eagle Eyrie.

In 1956 a very successful Christian Home Week was held, with over 200 in attendance. In 1957 a parsonage was purchased on Irish Street.

In November, 1957 Dr. W. Franklin Cale became pastor. In 1958 the garage back of the annex was converted into an R. A. room. In 1962 the first Leadership Training Class was held - the first in the state. To date 86 people have completed this course.

In 1964 ground was broken for a new educational building, and it was ready for occupancy in July of 1965. in 966 the Kindergarten, which had been held in the church, but was a private enterprise, was taken over by the church. With classes today for 3, 4, and 5 year olds it has been a real blessing to our church and community.

The library was re-activated in 1967, under the able leadership of Mrs. Fred Powell. That same year the sanctuary was air-conditioned.

The church has had two very dedicated associate pastors: The Rev. Johnny Hendricks, Jr., and the Rev. Ronnie Davis. Under Mr. Hendricks' leadership the Downtown Friendship Mission was started and Junior Church was begun. Mr. Davis enlarged the Youth Program, began Children's Church, and worked meaningfully with Senior Citizens. The R. A.'s, who had not been active for several years, were re-organized under Mr. Davis.