Smith County, Texas

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HISTORY OF FLINT BAPTIST CHURCH

1907-1997

written by D J Clements in 1999-2000

The First Southern Baptist Church in Flint, Texas, was organized in 1907 with Mr. and Mrs. Jim Barner, Mrs. S. C. Dement, and Mrs. Martha Templin as charter members. Rev. Daniels was the County Missionary at that time and he helped with the organization and preached for them until they were able to get a pastor. The church first met in the school house on what is now Burkett Road. Their first building was constructed in 1908 and was located west of the home owned by Dr. U. G.M. Walker. Some of the early pastors were: the Reverends Morris, Rozelle, Morrison, Alred, Kelly, Funderburg, and W. 0. Williams. Rev. Williams led in the building of a new church building in 1928 on land donated by Mr. and Mrs. Grant L. Walburn. It was located north of the Earl Dean home (the space now occupied by Dean Piano Co.). The building was completed during the depression years and the pastor, Raymond Fortner, was paid a salary of $10 per month (preaching just one Sunday a month). Other pastors in those early days were: Reverends W. E. Morgan, Russell Taylor, Bob Baker, Bruce Slayton, and Henry Johnson.

In 1945 under the leadership of Rev. Johnson Sunday School rooms were added to the one-room building by the cashing of $1500 in war bonds owned by the church. During his pastorate the church moved from one-fourth to full-time ministry.

While Rev. C. E. Ashley was pastor, a building fund was begun through the "Dollar-a-Month Club" and all fifth Sunday offerings went to the Building Fund. Rev. Ashley was called to the North Dixie Baptist Church in Tyler in 1951.

Rev. C. H. McClure was the next pastor. In 1952, under the leadership of Rev. McClure, the Thornton home (the Neal Blake place) was purchased for $6,000 with a $1500 down payment. Rev. J. M. Thomas and his family were the first to live in the new parsonage.

In 1953 Rev. Thomas drew the plans and was elected to supervise the building of the Sanctuary and North Wing at its present location. The land was donated by Mrs. G. L. Walburn and Mr. and Mrs. Earl Dean. The ground-breaking service was September 3, 1953, with Mrs. Emma McConnell, Mrs. Walburn, and Mr. S. C. Dement, the oldest members, shoveling the first dirt. The actual building began September 5, 1953. Mr. Raymond Arnold was hired as the contractor. Much of the labor was donated by local people. Many who were unable to work on the new building hired others to work in their place. Each Saturday the ladies of the Church served lunch to all who were working. The work on the building progressed at a rapid pace; During the building campaign, all available cash was used and $15,000 was borrowed from First Federal Savings & Loan Association. When the building was completed, the church had a total indebtedness of $19,800 (including the $15,000 note).

The dedication service for the new building was Sunday, December 6, 1953. This was a great day in the life of the church. The members met at the old building and marched together, all singing "Onward Christian Soldiers," to the new building. Rev. Thomas stopped at the door of the new building and led in prayer before entering the new sanctuary.Former pastors were invited and had an opportunity to speak at the dedication. Revs. Williams, Funderburg, Johnson, Ashley, Fortner, and Morgan were present. Many friends and former members came for the service and lunch. The pulpit furniture for the new sanctuary was donated in memory of the late Lloyd T. Smith, a former member. The pulpit chairs were donated in honor of Mrs. Emma McConnell by her children.

After the old building was vacated, the Sunday School rooms were sold to Friendly Baptist Church in Tyler, the old auditorium to Byford Haynes, and the seats to an Assembly of God Church.

Rev. Thomas served as pastor until July 1955 when he accepted a pastorate in Alto. In January 1956 Rev. and Mrs E. P. Coe came to serve. By then the indebtedness had been reduced to $11,633. In March 1958 Rev. and Mrs. Coe adopted a little six-year old girl, Everelle. On August 5, 1958, Mrs. Coe passed away after a short illness. In lieu of flowers, Brother Coe requested that memorials be made to an organ fund for the church. Some beautiful flowers were sent and more than $60O.00 was received for the Organ Fund. This was used for a down payment on an organ. Under Rev. Coe's leadership, the indebtedness on the church was paid off and gifts to missions increased 108%.

On November 13, 1960, the Church was clear of debt. A note-burning service was held. This was homecoming for all former members, the community, and anyone interested in rejoicing with the members in the paying off a ten-year loan in less than seven years. Rev. J. M. Thomas returned to bring the message for that service and lunch was serve at the church. The highlight of the service was the actual burning of the note. Robert H. Allen, Executive Vice-President of First Federal Savings & Loan of Tyler, presented the note to Dewey 0. Williams, Church Treasurer, who struck a match and the congregation watched as the note "went up in smoke."

On November 2, 1964, Rev. Coe left as pastor and the Church called Rev. L. L. Garner. He remained the pastor until September 24, 1967. During his pastorate the church added a large bedroom and bath to the parsonage at the cost of about $1500.

In 1968 the church called Rev. Edwin L. Lewis as pastor and he and his family came on March 3, 1968. The church grew and more space was needed. In 1969 a South Wing was added to the church at a cost of $12,000. In 1974 some land just south of the church was bought from G. L. Dean and a three-bedroom brick parsonage was constructed at the cost of $34,721.65. A lot of labor was donated on both of these buildings. The old parsonage became a Youth Center. Membership of the church had reached 352 and the annual budget was $54,022 with 22% going to the Cooperative Program. In 1976 the church purchased a large bus and a bus ministry was begun.

At this time the Deacon Body consisted of Earl Dean, G. L. Dean, Clyde Griffin, A. C. Snow, Doug Clements, D. J. Clements, Frank Glenn, Bill Coleman, Wifflam Morrow, Guy Brady, Mansfield Morgan, Donald Wagner, Russell Hill, Theodore Williams, George Carter, J. L. Kelly, Carlous Clepper, and Talbert Hensley. Dolores Wagner was Church Clerk, Emory Fielding was Treasurer, and Edwin Lewis was pastor.

On August 14, 1977, Rev Lewis resigned to become pastor of Big Sandy Baptist Church. Rev. Olien Morman was asked to serve as Interim Pastor. Jim Goodwin was called as pastor on October 23, 1977. He was the former pastor of East Tyler Baptist Church. The church voted to buy from G. L. Dean the land directly behind the parsonage for $2500. The budget for 1978-79 was $70,950. Flint Church celebrated its 71st anniversary on September 10, 1978, with special services and "dinner on the ground."

Rev. Jim Goodwin resigned as pastor on April 27, 1980, and Rev. Ronnie D. Coston came as Interim Pastor. The Church called Rev. Olin D. Boles as pastor and he began serving on July 6, 1980.

Again the church needed more space. On March 15, 1981, an 8:30 a.m. worship service was added. Rev. Harry Pesnell of Jacksonville, Texas, was called as the first Associate Pastor. The church elected the following Building Committee: Frank Glenn, Chairman, Celian Loggins, Coy Carlisle, Nancy Landrum, Ken Williams, and James Cummings. On June 28, 1981, the church authorized the issuance of $500,000 bearer bonds to finance the construction of a new multi-purpose building, new parking lot, and a children's wing on the existing building. Ground-breaking for the children's wing was July 26, 1981, with Mrs. Beulah Brady and Elizabeth Neely (oldest and youngest members) shoveling the first dirt.

Mr. A. C. Snow and Mr. Clyde Griffin resigned as Trustees after serving faithfully for more than 45 years. Frank Glenn and Mansfield Morgan were elected to serve as Trustees. In June 1982 Kyle Byrd came to serve as the first full-time Music & Youth Director. Thomas Ray Wagner was licensed to the ministry March 17, 1982.

Ground breaking for the multi-purpose building and dedication of the Children's Wing was on December 13, 1981. Mr. Kenneth Neeley shoveled the first dirt. Construction of the multi-purpose building, named the Christian Life Center, was completed in February 1983. Jim Fancher, a member, was architect for the new building. Again, a lot of labor was done by the members. On February 27, 1983, the Christian Life Center was dedicated and the 75th anniversary was belatedly celebrated.

On March 16, 1983, the Church voted to purchase some property owned by Mrs. Polly McAdams on the west side of the sanctuary building. This was bought with bonds owned by the church which would mature in August 1983 with a value of $12,624.80. A new organ was purchased and given to the church by Miss Lougene Wilson who was the organist for many years.

Kyle Byrd resigned July 31, 1983. Neil Smith came as Interim Music Director on April 27, 1983. Marvin Holcomb came as Music Director on May 2, 1984. Mike Shirley, Jr. was licensed to the ministry on August 4, 1984. Paul Coleman came September 11, 1985, as full-time Youth Director. Others who worked with youth as part-time directors in the past were Mark Gatlie, Kip Ingram, and Kyle Hargrove. On June 12, 1985, the church secured a loan with First National Bank, Whitehouse, to pay off the bonds.

Rev. Boles resigned July 5, 1987, to accept a call to First Baptist Church, Sugarland, Texas, effective July 19, 1987. Rev. Kirby McGuire was called as Interim Pastor July 29, 1987, and began serving August 9, 1987.

The Church called Rev. Paul F. Meadows November 22, 1987, effective December 20, 1987. Ed Rosner was ordained to the ministry April 10, 1988. Paul Coleman resigned March 21, 1990, to return to seminary. Marvin Holcomb resigned as Music Director. The Church then called Phillip Wheelis as Music and Youth Director. Phillip and his family came on May 6, 1990, and served until October 21, 1992. Keith Kniffen was called as part-time Music Director in January 1993 and served until October 15, 1995. Keith Kniffen was licensed to the ministry in February 1994.

Ricky Clements was licensed to the ministry May 5, 1991. Over the years Ricky filled in as Youth Director whenever needed and this was greatly appreciated by the youth and the Church. Phillip Johnson was licensed to the ministry in August 1991.

In September 1992 Flint celebrated the 85th anniversary with an "Old Fashion Day."

Tony Hallmark came as Youth Minister in April 1993 and served about one year. Justin Lookadoo came in early summer of 1994 and served a few months as interim Youth Minister

In July 1995 Jerry Walker purchased the old parsonage from the church for $15,000. The parsonage was moved across the road for rental property.

In October Rev. Meadows resigned effective November 1, 1995. The church called Rev. Thomas Wagner as Interim Pastor on November 15, 1995. Tommy served the church in a very special way until April 21, 1996.

On April 28, 1996, Rev. Sam DeVille came as Pastor of Flint Baptist Church. He is doing a wonderfull job and the church loves Sam, Karen, Andrew, and Aaron. On July 21, 1996, Billy Johnson came to serve the church as part-time Music and Youth Director. The Church ordained Bro. Billy to the ministry on March 23, 1997. We also love Bro. Billy,
Nona, Christopher, and Nathan.

September 1997: Deacons now serving are Frank Breeden, Chairman, Randy Dingier, Vice-Chairman, Perry Allen, Travis Allison, D. J. Clements, Houston Clyburn, Richard (Red) Gaiser, Joe Slaughter, and Donald Wagner.

 Flint Baptist Church has had a total of twenty-six pastors through the years.
Listed below are the names and approximate years of service:
 1908 G. M. Daniel 1935  Russell Taylor
 1910 R. E. Morris 1938 Raymond Fortner
 1913 H. R. Chapman  1941-1943  Bob Baker, Bruce Slayton & others from East Texas Baptist College
 1914 J. L. Morrison 1944  Henry Johnson
 1915 J. R. Rozell 1948  C. E. Ashley
 1917 Elmer Kelly 1951  C. H. McClure
 1918 J. R. Rozell 1952  J. Marvin Thomas
 1919 L. R. Morgan 1955  E. P. Coe
 1920 Kelly Neches 1964  Luther L. Garner
1921  W. E. Alred 1968  Edwin L. Lewis
 1922-1926 Records not available 1977  Jim Goodwin
1927 W. O. Williams 1980  Olin Boles
1929 Raymond Fortner 1987 Paul Meadows
1934 W. E. Morgan 1996 Sam DeVille

 DEACONS WHO HAVE SERVED THROUGH THE YEARS ARE:
 Perry Allen Travis Allison Dale Bledsoe
Guy Brady Frank Breeden Hilbert Caldwell
Coy Carlisle George Carter Luther Carther
Val Carter D. J. Clements Doug Clements
Carlos Clepper Houston Clyburn Bill Coleman
James P. Cummings Jasper Curtis Earl Dean
Randy Dingler Ralph Duval Jim Fancher
Richard Gaiser Edward W. Garner Frank Glenn
Clyde Griffin Rick Haynes Talbert Hensley
Russell Hill Jesse L. Kelly T. W. Kelly
Mansfield Morgan Elonza Morrow William L. Morrow
Lenny Myers Guy Pool Randy Ralson
Mike Shirley Joe Slaughter A. C. Snow
Thurman Stephens Doyle Thresher Donald Wagner
Grant L. Walburn Tim Wilkerson Ken Williams
Theodore Williams    

Submitted by Norma Beddingfield, 12 Feb 2000.

 

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