The Eastern District Association of Primitive Baptists convened in its 144th annual session with Wallen's Creek Church, Duffield, Virginia.
In November, 1941, Elders George Gibson and Hagan Gibson felt a need for a revival. They stopped at the top of Wallen's Ridge and prayed for the leadership of the Holy Spirit. As they drove down the creek road, they saw a log building known as Banners Chapel Church where Wallen's Creek Church now stands. The building was full of tobacco and they learned that it was owned by Charlie Fannon. When they asked if they could use it for a revival, the tobacco was moved out and they were blessed with 4 wonderful weeks of revival, where several souls were saved. They continued having services there until the building was no longer available. They moved to an unused store building belonging to E. R. Livingston, where they decided to organize and build Livingston Chapel Church. They lettered into the association for the first time in 1944 with pastor, Elder George Gibson; clerk, Sister Verna Million and delegates, Brother Jake Lambert and Floyd Burke. We continued at this location until the building was destroyed by fire on Saturday night, January 7, 1984.
Sister Clara Fannon donated the land where the present church now stands. The name was changed to Wallen's Creek at this time. The creek and ridge received their name from the Wallen family. We have been blessed through the years by having many members of this family as members of the church and sister churches where they served as deacons, clerks and laymembers. We started building our church in the spring of 1984. We cried, laughed and labored together to do the work of the Lord. By July we met in the church yard for prayer meetings, and in August we had our union meeting in the partially completed church. We had sub flooring, no windows or doors, our lighting came from a string of lights connected to the service pole, but the Lord blessed us with a wonderful union meeting. The church was dedicated November 3, 1985. A deacon from Davis Chapel Church, Brother Pete Marcum, prayed the dedication prayer and Elders Bryan Moore and Gale Derrick preached the dedication sermon using a portion of the 17th verse of Genesis 28 as a text, “This is none other but the house of God.” The Lord has truly blessed our church over the years. We thank Him for our current pastors, Elders Richard Seiber and George Mendenhall. We pray that He will continue to be with us in all our endeavors and that we will stand firm in the truths of His Word that He may receive all the glory and honor.
As the morning fog lifted, so did the spirits of God's children. He so wonderfully blessed His people as they gathered for the 144th annual session of the association. Sister Zula McCullough led the congregation in several songs of praise as the people gathered inside the tent. It won't be very long until we'll stand with the heavenly host just inside the eastern gate. In the sweet bye and bye we can offer our tribute of praise as we reach that beautiful far away strand of Canaan where the soul of man never dies.
Elder Terry Sizemore welcomed everyone to the association and asked them to obey the Holy Spirit. He led the congregation in singing "Amazing Grace" just before we were blessed with some wonderful songs from the Wallen's Creek Church singers. Just over in the glory land where we'll never grow old, that is where we all want to go.
Elder Sizemore called the association's attention to the fact that the Lord called one of our preaching brethren, Elder Bryan Moore, home during the year. He also mentioned that another minister that had been associated with this association for many years, Elder Rex Winstead, had also passed away this year. Prayer requests were made for the unsaved and the sick, Elder Sizemore's brother, Elders Hobart Hall and Lucian Lane, Elder A.D. Howington's wife, Brote Smith's wife, Elder John Turner's son-in-law, Arthur Brown's sisters, Jim Burke, Sister Doris Burke's mother, and a host of other requests signified by uplifted hands. We were led to the throne of grace in a most humble prayer by Elder Bob Brown.
Elder Sizemore appointed the Committee on Religious Exercises which includes: Paul Wallen (chairman), Myrel Brown and Morris Giles.
Elder Richard Seiber, pastor of the host church, came forward to welcome everyone to Wallen's Creek and to thank them for coming. He also thanked the family of Brother Burley Elkins for the donation of the flowers in his memory. Having been chosen to preach the introductory sermon, Elder Seiber read from Ephesians 4:1-16 and used as a thought “What great things God has provided us on our journey here.” Christ paid the sin debt for all of us when he died on the cross, but it didn't end there. He ascended up into glory where He is sitting at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for us. When we do what the Lord has instructed, He is pleased with us. He gives us the tools and the ability to do that which He asked us to do and in so doing, we might grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Elder George Mendenhall was selected to preach the alternate sermon, but was unable to attend because of sickness. Elder Eckel Head followed with another inspiring message from God. We must accept the things of God to claim Him as our Savior. Let us not be ashamed because our crowds are dwindling, but let us praise God for all He has done. We can't perform miracles as some of the apostles did, but we can ring the prayer bells of heaven. Salvation is the answer to everything that may come before us. We should not lie to our children and friends by telling them everything will be fine, when in reality, as they go out into the world they find that old Satan is laying in wait for them. We must encourage them to trust in God for all things and He will supply their every need. We must all follow the path He has supplied for us according to the calling He has placed us in. In our journey toward home, we meet many Christian saints along the way, but we never see anyone coming back. We are all headed home, working and laboring together to do that which the Lord would have us to do. Let us pray that God would send us more laborers for the field. Blessed be the name of Jesus! These men preached heaven down and we thank God for them.
Elder John Henry Sybert came forward to lead the congregation in singing the song that has become our standard, “Brethren We Have Met Again.”
Adjourned for lunch.
After a bountiful lunch served by the host church, the congregation came together with singing led by Sister Zula McCullough and Brother Charlie Johnson. His matchless love is uncomprehendable, but joy unspeakable and full of glory will draw us nearer to the cross. He whispers sweet peace to us in a voice that dispels all fear. We can't understand the depths of His love, for the half has never yet been told, but when we reach the other side we'll understand it all.
Elder Sizemore thanked the host church for the wonderful lunch and welcomed everyone back. He also announced several revivals that are in progress or will begin soon. These include: Ayers Chapel, now in progress, Garden of Hope, October 13th, and Blair Chapel, October 14th.
The Committee on Religious Exercises now reports.
Sister Brenda Neeley thanked God for His mercy and for all He has done for her and for the privilege of being able to attend the association.
Prayer requests were made for Elder Bobby Williams, Sister Lena Blair, Elder Henry Wheeler's wife, all those requests made earlier in the service and for the unsaved everywhere. Elder Bobby Carter took our petitions to the Lord.
Elder Sizemore asked all the ministers, including visiting ministers from other church affiliations, to please sign the minister's book.
Brother Hank Winegar, chairman of the committee on Church Letters, now reports 65 churches which they recommend accepting. The letters from Cox's Chapel, Pondview and Union Hill were not received. It was motioned, seconded and voted to accept the recommendations of the committee and seat those delegates duly elected or appointed by their respective churches as the voting body of the association.
The delegation was seated in order to transact the business.
Elder Sizemore asked for nominations for a Moderator pro-tem to serve during the election of the association officials. Elder John Arnott was nominated. It was motioned, seconded and voted for him to serve during the election.
It was motioned, seconded and voted for Brother Danny Lawson to serve as clerk and treasurer.
It was motioned, seconded and voted for Elder Terry Sizemore to serve as moderator.
Elder Sizemore, speaking for himself and the clerk, thanked the delegation for their prayers and asked that they continue to pray for the association officials that they would do what the Lord would have them to.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to allow the moderator to appoint any and all committees. The moderator then appointed the following committees:
Committee on Newly Constituted Churches: Ministers - Hasco Jenkins (chairman), Silas Carroll, Frank Gilliam; Deacons - David Smith, Ralph Baker; Laymen - H. C. Johnson and Jack Osborne.
Committee on Finance: Bobby Carter (chairman), Carson Johnson and Fred Fletcher.
Committee on Obituaries: Oscar Irvin (chairman), David Jerrell and Aster Banks.
Committee on Arrangements and/or Queries: J. H. Sybert (chairman), Gale Derrick, Roger Trent, Allen Hensley, John Arnott, Lewis Baker and Larry Miller.
The delegation was informed that several requests had been received to enlarge the print used in the minutes. After some discussion it was motioned, seconded and voted for the clerk to enlarge the print used for the ministers and clerks names, addresses and phone numbers. Since it is not possible for the clerk to know how much space this might take up in the minute, it was motioned, seconded and voted for the clerk to use his own discretion in formatting the minutes.
It was also brought to the attention of the delegation that the two ledgers used for the minutes of the association were full. The clerk requested guidance from the association as whether to obtain another ledger to continue this work, realizing that this would probably require the rental of another safe deposit box for storing the ledgers. It was motioned, seconded and voted for the clerk to purchase another ledger and rent another safe deposit box as needed.
Elder Oscar Irvin addressed the association to thank everyone for all their prayers and donations to help rebuild Peterson's Chapel Church after it was destroyed by fire earlier in the year. He also thanked the Presbyterian Church of Colonial Heights for all their contributions which will essentially put the church in the dry. Any other donations to help in the rebuilding of the church can be given to Sister June Fannon, clerk of the church. Elder A. D. Howington came forward and asked that we all remember the man who is accused of burning the church in our prayers.
Elder Sizemore announced that copies of the 12 volume set of minutes were still available from Brother Scott Mellons (423) 357-8271.
Elder John H. Sybert came forward to speak to the delegation. He thanked God that he was able to sit back and enjoy the service after serving as moderator for so many years. It was especially good for him that the association was being held so close to where he grew up.
Brother Eugene Stuart thanked all of God's children for the kindness they had shown him during his recent hospital stay. He expressed his thanks for all those that called or came by to see him and especially God for his tender mercy and care.
Brother Hank Winegar called to the attention of the association the fact that Brother Steve Minton came to the service today to do his part on the letter committee, even though he was not physically able to do so. He had to leave shortly after this work was done. Let us remember him in our prayers that the Lord will give him a speedy recovery from his surgery.
With no other business, the delegation was adjourned with a song of praise to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Adjourned until Friday morning, October 4, 1996.
The morning sun warmed the cool air as God warmed the hearts of His children. The second day of the association began with songs of praise for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, led by Sister Zula McCullough. The unseen hand of God leads us through ways we cannot see for heaven holds all to us. While standing on the promises of God we can shout how great thou art. As we journey through this land we must call upon His holy name to proclaim Him King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Elder Terry Sizemore, moderator of the association, welcomed everyone back to the second day of this association. He encouraged each and every one to obey the Holy Spirit that His blessings be showered all around His people. Prayer requests were made for Elder Ron Bledsoe, Loren Parsons, Brother Marion, Bud Matthews, Stella Sybert's sister, all those for which prayer requests had been made earlier and most of all for the unsaved. Many uplifted hands signifying unspoken requests were made as Brother Roller Ferguson led us to the throne of grace. Let us continue to pray that many lost souls would be saved.
Brother Donnie Furches, who was attending the association for the first time, blessed us with some wonderful songs. There came a sound from heaven, as a mighty rushing wind that filled our hearts with gladness as Jesus blessed once again. The river that flows from deep within shall never run dry because there is a vast supply from our Lord.
The delegation was called to order to transact the business.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to adopt the business proceedings of yesterday as read.
Brother Hank Winegar, chairman of the committee on Church Letters, reported that the letters from Pondview and Union Hill had been received. After giving the report, the committee recommended accepting these churches. It was motioned, seconded and voted to accept the recommendations of the committee and seat those delegates duly elected or appointed by these churches as part of the voting body.
Elder Hasco Jenkins, chairman of the committee on Newly Constituted Churches, reported that none had been received.
Elder John Arnott, having been chosen by the committee on Religious Exercises, came forward to take the first part of the service. He used as his thought the 23rd verse of the 6th chapter of Romans, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” We must increase our zeal for serving God if He is to restore the joy of our salvation. No man can separate us from the love of Jesus. His saving grace is the only real need we have. We must not underestimate the power of God today. Elder Oscar Irvin followed with another wonderful message from on high. The testimony in our lives must shine out to a lost and dying world that sinners might be saved. We must live our life according to the gospel or risk dying spiritually. Being a peculiar people is always better than going along with the things of this world. We must put off the things of this world and look to the God of heaven in spirit and truth. The Lord used these men in a miraculous way to bring the Word of God to us. Praise His wonderful name!
The morning service was adjourned for lunch with several songs as shouts of praise and tears of joy flooded the tent.
After a delicious lunch served by the host church, the congregation gathered back into the tent with singing led by Sister Zula McCullough. The rock of ages will hide us in a firm foundation upheld by His gracious, omnipotent hand. We will not be denied that beautiful home far beyond the skies where His smile drives away all our sorrow. There is coming a day where all is peace and we'll look upon the face of the One that saved us by His grace. On that uncloudy day Heaven holds all to us, for we simply cling to the cross while waiting for that uncloudy day.
Elder Sizemore thanked the host church for the wonderful lunch they had served God's children. He announced that a revival would begin at Kingswood on October 7th and at Valley View on October 26th. He also informed the association about two of our younger preaching brethren, Elders Ronnie Barkley and Jerry Anderson, that had gone to be with the Lord since last year. Prayer requests were made for Elders Walter Willis and J. H. Hurst and for Billy Horne as well as all those made in the past, the unsaved and the unspoken requests signified by many uplifted hands. Elder John Turner took our petitions to the Lord with a most humble prayer.
Elder Roger Trent and his wife Janette, the Belbrook singers and the Bowlin Family blessed us with wonderful testimonies and songs of praise to the Master. God is real in the hearts and lives of His children. Deliverance will come and we shall enter sweet Beulah land where our faith is going to end in sight. While we were saddened to learn of the passing of our dear brother, Chuck Davis, we take joy in knowing that He is at rest with our Savior. God will save those that come to Him relenting, while of their sins repenting. Elder Lucian Lane blessed the congregation with his wonderful testimony and song. He thanked everyone for their prayers and praised God for all He has done in his life, especially when He reached down His hand for him many years ago.
The delegation was called to order to transact the business.
The committee on Religious Exercises now reports:
The moderator read the letter of thanks to the association from Sister Leanore Thacker Stevens. She thanked the association for all their prayers and help they had given to her late parents, Elder Fremon Thacker and Naomi Thacker during their illness.
The Committee on Arrangements and/or Queries reported that none had been received.
Elder Oscar Irvin, chairman of the Committee on Obituaries, reported that 61 had been received at this time. He recommended that while you are preparing thank you notes, that you add the clerk to this list and send him the obituary that you would like printed in the minutes. This will be a tremendous help to the clerk and will ensure that the obituary is not forgotten.
The committee on Finance reported $4413.40 in receipts for the year.
The moderator thanked the committees for all their work and discharged them after their reports were given.
Elder J. H. Sybert was chosen to read the circular letter. It was first printed in 1882 and again in 1897. The committee felt it would be good to print it again this year. While the original version was not signed by the authors, its message is to everyone. We must strive for complete unity of the spirit among all of God's children. It was motioned, seconded and voted to print it in the minutes as read.
The moderator appointed 3 preaching brethren to prepare the circular letter for 1997. They are Elders John Bowlin, Eckel Head and Larry Miller.
Elder Sizemore appointed the Committee on Church Letters for 1997. The committee includes: Steve Minton (chairman), Billy Jack Johnson, Joe Robinette and Burnice Sybert (alternate).
The moderator made the delegation aware of the fact that 2 stoves and 1 refrigerator were purchased for use in the kitchen with the money that was received in a special offering last year. Elder Kenneth Mitchell asked the association to consider adding additional appliances that will help the host church in taking care of the association, such as another cooler.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to have all things which are standard printed in the minutes.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to allow the clerk $700 in appreciation for his services.
The host church will continue to be responsible for the maintenance of the kitchen, with any needed repairs to be paid for by the clerk of the association. Elders Carl Lawson and Howard Sybert and Brothers Scott Mellons, Danny Lawson, Bobby Caudill, Delmer McPherson and Roger Smith will oversee the association electrical and speaker systems.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to allow the clerk to replenish the necessary forms to properly perform his duties.
An offering $1,048.33 was received to help with the purchase of items needed in the kitchen while God's amazing grace was poured out on His children. Sister Irene Harless came forward and blessed us with her beautiful song and testimony. As we fight the daily battles we must hold on a little longer for the best is yet to come.
There were a total of 11 churches that asked for the association next year. One of these withdrew before the announcement and two withdrew before the plea process leaving: Blue Springs (Hiltons), Clear Springs, House Chapel, Kingswood, Liberty Chapel, Long Hollow, Oak Grove and Riverside. During the plea process, 2 of these churches withdrew, leaving the vote between Blue Springs (Hiltons), Clear Springs, House Chapel, Kingswood, Oak Grove and Riverside. There was no clear majority for a single church, so another vote was done between the three churches receiving the most votes, which were Blue Springs (Hiltons), Kingswood and Riverside. The results were very close during this vote also, but Kingswood withdrew, leaving the vote between Blue Springs (Hiltons) and Riverside. By a clear majority, the delegation sent the association to Riverside, where the Lord willing we will convene on Thursday morning (October 2) before the first Saturday in October, 1997. Introductory - Elder Roger Trent; Alternate - Elder Terry Sizemore.
Adjourned until Saturday morning, October 5, 1996.
Beautiful sunshine was abundant during the final business session and memorial service. God's Holy Spirit warmed the hearts of His children as they gathered in the tent with songs of praise led by Sister Zula McCullough. It won't be very long till this short life shall end and Jesus shall descend and gather His children home. Many friends will welcome us in that beautiful home of the ransomed beside the crystal sea. We have a few more days to labor and wait, but farther along we'll understand it. On a hill far away stands an old rugged cross that we must cling to and exchange it someday for a crown. The congregation wished Elder John Henry Sybert a happy birthday by singing to him on his special day.
Elder Sizemore welcomed everyone back and thanked God for His blessings. This being our memorial service, we are saddened by the loss of our loved ones, but we rejoice in the Lord for having known them and the assurance that they are at rest with Him.
Sister Kester from Illinois blessed us with her testimony and song. The trials of this life will soon be over and we'll be in the presence of the Lord. Elder Bob and Sister Eileen Brown reminded us that every hope we have in this old sinful world is in the blood of the precious Lamb of God. Brother G. B. Linkous blessed us with his wonderful exhortation. Happy are we when we do the things of the Lord. The West View singers told of the glory that awaits all the great Christian soldiers when we reach that city on the hill.
Prayer requests were made for the unsaved, Jim Burke, many unspoken requests shown with uplifted hands and all those made in previous services. Elder John Bowlin led us to the throne of grace.
Sister Doris Burke urged everyone to lay off the old coat and put on the new coat of the Lord. When God supplies the new coat we don't have to worry about fit, because one size fits all.
Elder Richard Seiber, pastor of the host church, came forward to thank everyone for coming and to thank the community, local businesses, and the many individuals who have contributed so much to help this gathering of the association.
The Committee on Religious Exercises now reports.
The delegation was seated in order to transact the business.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to accept the minutes of yesterday as read.
The clerk read the resolution of thanks he had prepared. It was motioned, seconded and voted to print it in the minutes as read.
The names of those dear saints that have gone on to their reward were read by the moderator as part of the memorial service which has been carried on since 1956. The memories of these departed friends and loved ones will live on in our hearts until we can meet them again on heaven's bright shore.
Elder John Henry Sybert was chosen by the Committee on Religious Exercises to take the first part of the service. He asked everyone to remember in prayer Stella's sister, Coy Johnson's daughter and Elders Bobby Williams and Odus Caudill. He led the congregation in singing an old hymn just before reading from Joshua 4:5-7. Joshua told every man to pick up a stone and these twelve stones will stand as a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever. These stones, or markers, set there as that memorial served to help the children of Israel through all their trials and tribulations. The Lord has raised up many prophets and memorials through time, but none so great as His precious son, Jesus Christ. These departed loved ones have served as markers in our lives, that we might draw from them to help us through our trying times. The Savior never leaves us without help but He always provides a way whereby we can come to Him and receive help. These stones did not just appear, but the Lord placed each and every one of them in our lives to help us. Just as they were a stepping stone for us, they had stepping stones in their lives, too. Elder Terry Sizemore followed with another God sent message from on high. Jesus is that chief cornerstone that we must look to and depend on for our being. Whether you refer to this as a stone, a rock or a marker does not matter, but let us remember how precious they are in our lives. We must honor and preserve them at all costs. God is no different today than He was in the days of Cornelius, for He will honor us as He did them. He is with us through every battle, every trial, even unto the end. He gave us the greatest marker of all when He died on the cross and rose again on the third and appointed morning. We can never see these dear departed saints in this world again, but God made them markers in our lives and we must strive with everything within us to let Him use us as a marker in someone else's life. These saints have gone to be with the Lord and we must thank Him for allowing us our time with them. Brother Hobart Hall was to follow in the service but was not feeling well and had to leave. While we did not get to hear him preach today, he is indeed a wonderful marker in our lives today. Thanks be to God for all of these men. They preached their hearts to us in this message sent from God above. Bless His holy name! Oh what a Savior is He!
The service was adjourned until Sunday morning, October 6, 1996 with several songs as His children basked in His wonderful love.
God's children gathered for the last service in the cool brisk air, still rejoicing from the blessings of the Lord. God truly smiled on His children during this association. We're sad to see the association come to a close, but we rejoice in the many blessings of the Lord.
Elder Richard Seiber, pastor of the host church, welcomed everyone to today's service. Elder Bob Brown led the congregation in singing several songs in honor and praise to our Lord. He will strengthen thee and cause thee to stand and fill our way with love. One day soon He will lift us up above the shadows to stand on the mountain tops of glory to dwell in Beulah land. Let us walk blessed Lord in the way thou hast gone while we proclaim glory to His name.
Prayer requests were made for the unsaved, Elder George Mendenhall, all the previous requests and many unspoken requests signified by uplifted hands. Brother Burnice Sybert lead us to the throne of grace in a most humble prayer.
We were further blessed with special singing from the Copper Creek Church singers, Elder Bob and Sister Eileen Brown, Sisters Priscilla Irvin, Aubra Hill and Brenda Head. When we are shackled by the heaviest of burdens, He will touch us and make us whole. It is because He lives that we can face tomorrow. We have done nothing to deserve His love that defies all understanding. The blood of Christ will withstand all the storms of life. It does indeed get better farther on, and we must thank the Lord for His blessings on us. An offering of $310 was taken up for Elder George Mendenhall, while sister Doris Burke led the congregation in song and rejoicing that He is God of the mountain as well as God of the valley.
The Committee on Religious Exercises chose Elders Bob Brown, Wayne Morgan and Greg Hill to take part in the service today. Elder Brown took the first part of the service followed by Elders Morgan and Hill. He read from St. John 3:14-18 for his thought. He urged everyone to lay aside everything that might hinder the Holy Spirit. While this old body is earthly and filled with sin, the saved of God is spiritual and heaven bound. He that knew no sin was made sin for us and He will stand with us before God. Christ won't turn anyone away that comes to Him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Jesus willingly gave his life that we might have eternal life. As we walk through the valley that is filled with troubles and trials, we don't have to fear because He walks with us each step of the way.
The service was adjourned until next year with a song and fellowship among His people. The testimonies of His children telling of the wonderful things God has done for them will strengthen us in the days to come. Only the blood of Jesus can wash away our sins and make us whole.
While we must leave this wonderful place and go our separate ways, we rejoice in the many wonderful blessings of the Lord over the past few days. There are heavenly places here on this earth where the Lord truly blesses His people when they come in one mind and one accord to worship Him in truth and spirit. I know of nothing any where that can even come close to what we have been a part of here at Wallen's Creek. Miracles do happen when Jesus is in the arrangements, and while we did not see anyone come to know the Lord in the free pardon of sin at the association, I firmly believe that the Lord is working on some that will be saved later. I appreciate the love you all have shown throughout this blessed event. May we continue to pray for one another and help each other along this way. Remember we are the body of Christ, and when one hurts we all hurt. I wish I knew how to put the wonderful spirit that has been among us in these few words. I cannot express my true feelings of love for this group of God's people that He has blessed me to be a part of. I love and appreciate each and every one of you from the depths of my heart. I pray that the Lord will continue to bless here at Wallen's Creek and among all our other churches as well. Until we meet again, may the good Lord bless and keep each one of you.