The Eastern District Association of Primitive Baptists convened in its 167th annual session hosted by “Southwest Virginia Bible Study” Churches of Blackwater Lick, Cadet, Davis Chapel, Roller’s Chapel and Wallen’s Creek Churches held at the Blackwater Schoolhouse.
Roller’s Chapel Church had its beginning in the year of 1947. There was a man in the community by the name of Charles Roller who felt like he was being called into the ministry. He failed though to answer that call. His little girl got sick and later died. One day, he went out to his barn and fell on his knees and cried out to God. He told the Lord that he would do what He wanted him to do. He raised from his knees and preached all the way from the barn to his house. He told his neighbors that he was called to preach and he was going to start services that very night in his barn. Charles cleaned the barn out and started having services. Word got out among the community, and the crowd soon grew. Brother Roller felt like there was a need for a Primitive Baptist Church in the community. The closest churches were Burkes Union and Peterson Chapel. This was a time when people walked to church, and this created a hardship. He started contacting people in the community and soon found out there was a willingness to help in building a church. J.A. Pearcy, father-in-law of Charles, gave the land for the church to be built. Charles owned a saw mill, and he started to saw the church pattern. Men in the community came together and gave of their time and effort to help build this new church. His wife Pearly Mae and other good women also helped in every way possible. Elder Roller’s dream became a reality in April of 1948 when the church was organized and lettered into the Association that same year.
In the early 1990’s, several changes were made to the church building. These changes included inside bathrooms and Sunday school rooms among other things. These changes and improvements helped make it more comfortable for the people. Several years down the road, we had started noticing changes in the building. The church walls were shifting, and the foundation was giving away. In 2011, we were given the news that something would have to be done if we were to keep having church. It was decided that we would have to tear our old church building down and build a new one. In 2011, we started having fund raisers for this project. Our sister churches and churches in the community and other areas sent us money, as did individuals. In the fall of 2013, we started tearing our building down and were blessed to have a block store building in the community that we were able to use as storage and to have services until we could erect our new building. In the year of 1947 when Elder Roller had a mind to build a new church and the men and women came and helped, it was the same with us. Men from our sister churches came and donated their time and talent. Men from other churches in the area came. The women of the church did as they could to help. Though there was still more work to be done to the church, we were able to have our first church service on Sunday morning September 28, 2014. On Sunday afternoon October 18, 2015, we held the dedication of the church with Elders Terry Sizemore and Oscar Irving bringing the message.
Originally, in 1948, Rollers Chapel received twelve members by letter and nine by experience and baptism. Brother Cecil Bledsoe and Marion Edwards were the first deacons, and Ida Pearcy was the first clerk. We have been blessed over the years to have many wonderful men serve as our deacons, but present day, we do not have deacons. Also over the years, Rollers was blessed with wonderful clerks. Kim Robinette serves as clerk today.
Elders Ben Hill, Charles Roller, and Alex Willis served as the church’s first pastors. Elder Ben Hill brought the first message in the church after it was built. Others who have served as pastors are: Curtis Adams, Logan Willis, Bryan Moore, Corbett Bowen, Walter Pendegrass, Nelson Jones, Gerald Hopkins, J.D. Maggard, Don Woodward, Coy Willis, Odus Caudill, Mark Holder, and Greg Hill. Present day, we do not have a pastor, as the Lord called our good servant and friend Elder Greg Hill to his long home on December 18, 2018.
Elder Charles Roller’s desire in 1947 was to have a church where people could come and worship our creator in spirit and in truth, and we are thankful that, 72 years later, we at Rollers Chapel Primitive Baptist Church still have this desire.
The Cadet Church had its beginning from a group of interested Christians who first gathered in 1919 in an old store building owned by John Lambert. In the spring of 1921, the church was organized, having received an arm from the Ayers' Chapel Church. Elder Hal Laster was the pastor at Ayers' Chapel and was also the first pastor of Cadet Church.
The Cadet Church First lettered to the Eastern District Association of Primitive Baptists in 1922 while convened in its 70th annual session with Swan Creek Church, Sneedville, Tennessee. Cadet has not failed to letter to the Association since it became a member. Cadet hosted the Association in 1935 during its 83rd annual session and again in 1968 during its 116th annual session.
Some of the first members were Minnie Horton, Lillie Horton Akens, Landon R. Trent, William Johnson, Verna Trent, Granny Payne, George Collins, Eliza Collins, John Lambert, Mattie Hobbs, Pearl Sargent Peters, Phillip Carr, and Emmett Collier. As previously stated, Elder Hal Laster served as the first pastor, and George Collins and Landon R. Trent as deacons, and Thenia Lambert as clerk. The first trustees of the church were John Lambert, Phillip Carr, and Emmett Collier. The first song leaders were Brothers Jarvis and Jones.
Regular church services were held in the old store building until 1924. At this time another site was located, a building erected and dedicated to the service of the Lord. This building, with some remodeling, is the present church as we know it today.
Some of the early ministers which helped the church were Elders Hal Laster, Amos Joyner, Jasper King, Bascom Dickenson, Morgan Ferrell, and Sol M. Hopkins.
The Tri-State Singing Convention, which was held annually at Bullitt Park, had its first gathering, or beginning, at Cadet.
As in most of our older churches, much improvement and many changes have been made; however, the same spirit that led and directed the founders of the church still prevails today.
Beginning in 1922, clerks of the church have been Una Reed, Mattie Hobbs, S. P. Arnold, Claude Hopkins, Unia Hopkins, John Hood, Arthur Fleenor, Ethel Necessary, Glessie Collins, James E. Collier, Jr., Ann Jones, Eula Tignor, Maggie Jones, Roy Jones, and Vicky Jones.
The Association minutes did not list the pastors of churches until 1940. Since that time pastors of the church have been Elders G. W. Short, Corbett Bowen, Claude Taylor, W. C. Adams, Jesse Gilley, Edd Willis, Oscar Woodward, Landon R. Trent, Kelly Lawson, Coy Lawson, Roy Giles, Eugene Todd, Fred Smith, Bryan Moore, Gerald Hopkins, Willie Willis, Fred Fletcher, Arthur Hensley, A. D. Howington, Burnice Sybert, Matthew Stevens, and Greg Hill. Elder Lucian Lane was elected as an Honorary Moderator.
Those who have served as delegates to the Association are Hal Laster, Amos Joyner, Jasper King, George Collins, V. T. Glass, Wheeler Dalton, W. H. Noel, George Short, Mr. and Mrs. John Lambert, Margarette Lawson, Mrs. P. H. Carr, P. M. Wells, Mrs. W. A. Sloan, Grace Hopkins, Susan Payne, Amos Johnson, B. L. Lawson, Ellen Willis, Maude Akens, S. M. Hopkins, H. L. Habum, Mrs. G. W. Akens, Mr. and Mrs. Art Fleenor, Marshall Williams, Sam Willis, Mr. and Mrs. Omer Akens, Matt Reynolds, Mr. and Mrs. Delsie Collins, William Johnson, Morgan Ferrell, Bessie Collins, L. R. Trent, Jeff Thompson, Willie Allen, Lee Trent, H. L. Jones, Venus Stidham, Madge Huff, Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Raines, Herb Short, Mr. and Mrs. Ray Miller, Lillie Horton Akens, Jess Akens, Sr., Mr. and Mrs. Dan Head, John Woods, Gerline Akens, Nath Palmer, Bill Taylor, Maggie Jones, Ann Jones, Pearl Peters, Dewey Jones, Lee Burton, Rudolph Akens, Albert Tignor, Ida Head, Kate Burton, Shirley Akens, Jess Akens, Jr., Lillie Pleasant Akens, Roy Jones, Vicky Jones, James E. Collier, Jr., Lois Collier, Brenda Dorton, Monica Fox, Josh Jones, and Justin Jones.
In 1945, the Association minutes began to show the name of the church where the ministers had their membership. Beginning from there, ministers who have been members of Cadet Church are V. T. Glass, S. M. Hopkins, William Johnson, Landon R. Trent, Oscar Woodward, Phillip Shuler, Ollie Lawson, and Arthur Hensley.
In 1922, the church had 32 members; the membership grew, and in 1957, there was 190. A great split came in the church, and in 1958, it reorganized with 56 members. From that time, the church has many to come and go, as all our churches have. Today, we have 30 members on roll.
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 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 is standing now. The building belonged to Charlie Fannon and was full of tobacco at the time. The tobacco was moved out, and they were blessed with 4 weeks of revival, and several souls were saved. They continued to have services there until they moved into an old store building owned by E.R. Livingston, where they organized and built Livingston Chapel Church. They first lettered into the association in 1944 with pastor, Elder George Gibson; clerk, Sister Verna Million and delegates, brothers Jake Lambert and Floyd Burke. Services continued at this location until January 7, 1984 when the church building was destroyed by fire.
Sister Clara Fannon donated the land where the church now stands. The name was changed to Wallen’s Creek, and 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 only sub floors and no windows or doors. We used 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. Brother Pete Marcum prayed the dedication prayer, and Elders Brian Moore and Gale Derrick preached the sermon using a portion of the 17th verse of Genesis 28. "This is none other than the house of God". Elder Richard Seiber served as pastor for many years until his health failed him in 2017. The Lord has truly blessed us at Wallen’s Creek over the years, and we are thankful for our current pastor Elder Curtis Hale. We pray that He will continue to be with us as we stand firm on the truths of His Word that He may receive all the honor and glory.
Blackwater Lick (Big Door) Church is one of Lee County's and our association's oldest churches. The church was called Blackwater Lick with the “Lick” coming from the old “salt works" located nearby.
It was organized on September 27, 1847, and is proud to have had such stalwart Soldiers of the Cross as Elder G. B. Wallen, who, as far as is known, was the first pastor.
Many faithful members have died, and others have moved away, leaving a small but active congregation to continue the holy mission set forth in 1847.
God has richly blessed the generations of people who have attended here over the years. It has endured from the Spanish American war through Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and many other troubled times, and thanks be to God it remains an organization unmovable. We thank God for those saints who went this way before us, for what they stood for and the guidance they gave us. Most of all, we thank God for meeting here with us and pray that He will continue to do so until time is no more.
In 1839, Isaac S. Robinette was born, and he was converted in 1866 and shortly felt the call to the ministry. At that time, the association was trying to recover from the effects of the Civil War and consisted of only 2 to 4 churches with a total of less than 100 members. He had a deep love for the churches and an intense desire to see the association prosper. Much of the early growth of the association is attributed to his preaching and organizational abilities.
Elder Daniel Hurd is our current pastor, who we are so proud of, and we thank God for him.
Other faithful women have been known by untold numbers of people for their kind and gentle lives and their belief in the truth of the doctrine preached in the pulpit of this church. These people entrusted the pastoral care of the church to a number of young ministers whom they nourished and supported until they too came to be considered leaders in the association.
Unfortunately, the records for the first fifty years of Blackwater Lick (Big Door) Church were lost or misplaced; therefore, we had to rely on the information obtained from older people as it was handed down.
This church like all others has had its problems; yet, it has served its purpose well in this community. The light from this church has penetrated the darkness of the perilous times and given hope to a multitude of troubled souls. It would be impossible to estimate the power and scope of influence this church has had. The gospel that has gone forth from this church, at the time may have seemed fruitless, but in later years was gathered up like bread cast upon the waters to be gathered up days hence. Let us pray that this church will continue to grow through the coming years as it has in the past and continue to be a bright shining light to lost souls and a comfort and inspiration to the children of God.
Davis Chapel church began as The Constitution of Lawson’s School House Church located in Wallen’s Creek, VA. The church was organized in 1910 by Elders E. A. Robinette, F. J. Johnson and M. L. Fannon. Services continued there from 1910 - 1913.
Tom Davis purchased the Lawson School House in 1913 and donated it to the church. The name was changed to Davis Chapel Church. Services continued there until 1972.
Having outgrown the small church, the decision was made to build a new house of worship. Land was obtained from the Chandler family in Wallen’s Creek, VA. The new church was completed, and services began there in 1972.
Church pastors include: Elders E. A. Robinette, F. J. Johnson, M. L. Fannon, Richard Johnson, Hampton Osborne, Carl Lawson, Walter Willis, Hobert Hall, Alex Willis, Bryan Moore, John Henry Sybert, Coy Willis and Richard Seiber.
God has blessed our 5 Bible Study churches to come together in fellowship to study His word.
Everyone came together with smiles of joy as they gathered for the 167th session of this grand body. Sister Zula McCullough, Steve Minton, and Marcel Bledsoe led the congregation in singing songs of praise to our precious Lord and Savior. If we are prepared to meet Jesus the King, a wonderful time it will be. If you don’t know Him, let the Savior in for your joy He will restore and take you on to Heaven. When we are cast down in spirit and soul, He whispers sweet peace to His children. Get ready for that day for it won’t be very long till Jesus shall descend, and we’ll meet the Savior up there in the sky. While going through this world of woe, His unseen hand still leads us as we go. It leads through shadows drear so we cannot fear. Some sweet day we’ll reach that strand where we can praise Him for His unseen hand. We will meet in the morning over there. They truly blessed us with their songs of praise.
Our moderator, Elder Terry Sizemore, welcomed everyone to God’s service by thanking everyone for coming this way. Thank God for all He has done for us since our last gathering. Let us give thanks and praise Him for everything and for who we are.
The Moderator asked all of our ministers to sign the minister’s book, including ministers from other associations and church affiliations. He reminded each delegate to get their ribbon for the afternoon service.
The moderator reminded everyone to turn in church letters, obituaries and financial contributions. During this past year, one of our Elders has gone to his reward, Greg Hill, so please remember his family in prayer.
Sister Zula McCullough came forward to lead the congregation in singing the association’s standard song, “Brethren We Have Met Again.” Twelve months have passed since we met the last time, so let us rejoice and praise our blessed Redeemer. Love your blessed Lord and pursue His holy word, for we can shout and never fear as His Holy Manna is showered all around.
The moderator then appointed the Committee on Religious Exercises, which consists of David Horton (chairman), Clifford Bledsoe and Ralph Baker.
Robert and Angie Sloan blessed us with their song of praise and wonderful testimony. Never had One so young spoke with such wisdom. He was the Son of God and the Son of man. He is the King of Kings. Jesus our blessed Redeemer rose and sits today at the right hand of the Father. Let’s keep our thoughts on the Lord.
On behalf of the host churches, Elder Oscar came forward to thank the congregation for sending the association this way. These five churches banded together and put forth a great effort to host this association. The Lord is and has been with us through all of the work and efforts put forth by these churches. Do not let this heritage slip away, but strive to put and keep our Lord first. Please pray for them and all our churches that we will never forget where our help comes from. Get earnest before God and cry out, for He will hear our cry and deliver in due time.
Prayer requests were made for the lost, our churches and association, those serving in the military, police officers and EMS, our country, leaders of our and other nations, H. C. and Pearl Johnson, Jean Wallen, Colon Smith, Ronnie Leonard, Wren Tomlinson, Susan Younce, Tommy Meade, Lewis Baker, Pauline Lawson, Wayne Gibson, Mike Fullington, Eli Stidham, and several others that the clerk could not hear, and many others shown with uplifted hands signifying countless unspoken prayer requests. Elder David Parsons blessed us with his humble prayer as he took us to the throne of grace.
Having been chosen to preach the introductory sermon, Elder Daniel Hurd came forward thanking God for all His blessings and the wonderful service we had last night. He took the first four verses of the twelfth chapter of Genesis as his text, using the thought, “we’re on a journey”. Abraham went out, not knowing where he was going, but he obeyed God. Our God can do all things. We are on a journey for Him, and He will lead us to Glory Land. God called this special place Heaven, and it is good to know we are His children. He made us a new creature, for He knows His children better than we know ourselves. He shed His blood that we could have everlasting life. He will move in our lives if we will allow Him to have His way in our lives. Bless His holy name. Nothing greater can ever be said than to simply state we are a child of God. We are on a journey to that Heavenly home God has prepared for them that belong to Him. God’s word contains all the instructions we will ever need for this journey. Seek out the old paths, and when you find them, walk therein. He is there to lead us every step of the way. We are blessed to live in America, but we are more blessed to know our blessed Redeemer. The prayers of a righteous man availeth much, so there is no stopping place for us. We must continue to move forward and uplift the name of the Lord. As great as the earth is, there is no comparison with what God has prepared for us in Heaven.
Elder Curtis Hale followed with another wonderful message from our Lord and Savior. A blessed man on a blessed journey for our Savior. We serve a King capable of doing all things. Knowing we have a home on the other side makes it worth every obstacle we encounter on our journey. When we get in His word, we find out just how great it is. If you don’t know this man called Jesus, you are in the right spot to find him precious to your soul, that you might be a partaker with Him in Heaven. Don’t let shame or anything else stand between you and Jesus and your eternal destiny with Christ. It is a personal thing between you and God; take that first step, and He will meet you there. Our journey starts on an old fashioned alter. If you don't know Jesus, then Hell will be your home. It matters not how good we think we are, none are worthy to enter into that Home without salvation. Come see this man that can show you all things. His name is Jesus Christ. Don’t you want to know Him and His plan of eternal life?
We were adjourned for lunch in a song of praise. Some glad morning when this life is over, we’ll fly away to be with Jesus forever.
The host churches served us a magnificent lunch as God’s children rejoiced in this glorious day. The record high temperatures didn’t seem to hinder our faithful delegation. Sister Zula McCullough and Marcel Bledsoe led the congregation in singing several songs of praise as the congregation gathered for the afternoon service. Oh glory to Jesus our soul is redeemed for we are saved, so sweetly saved. On that bright and cloudless morning when the trumpet of the Lord shall sound, the roll will be called up yonder, and all God’s children will be there. What a day of rejoicing that will be when we all get to Heaven and see Jesus. When we all see Jesus we’ll sing and shout the victory.
Elder Sizemore welcomed everyone to the afternoon service as he thanked God for His presence here in the midst of His children.
Further blessings were bestowed upon us with special singing and testimony from Bradley Brown, Null Lawson, Millie and Kala Hale, Copper Creek singers, Terry and Peggy Sizemore, and the Fairview, OH singers. God’s blessed assurance is our story, and it is our song, praising our Savior all the day long. This journey we are on has many great sites to behold, for our steps are led by the Lord. We owe everything to Him, and we have so much to thank Him for. One day we’ll see Heaven’s shore for we have so much to thank Him for. Standing on the banks of life’s troubled sea, if we look, we can see the old ship of Zion. Bent and battered was the ship, but it was still sailing. Get on board now, for it may never pass this way again. There is coming a day when there’ll be no clouds in the sky, for we’ll see sweet Jesus face to face. What a glorious day that will be, for there’ll be no sorrows, no burdens to bare, no sickness, no pain, and no parting over there. Think what joy it will be when we look upon Jesus, face-to-face. Such love for man we can’t understand, but God freely gives it to us. He gave all He had to give on Calvary for each of us. We don’t have to know and understand it all, but God takes care of His children. When Gods calls, we need to move instantly. One day soon we’ll stroll over Heaven with our Lord. When our burdens are over and our work is through, we’ll stroll over Heaven with you. What kind of man reached down His hand and said that we could still go free? We are no longer subject to the law of sin and death.
Prayer requests were made for the unsaved, all those made during the morning service, our churches, Richard Workman, Jerry Scalf, David Moody, Hershel Baker, Ashley Absher, revivals including the one at Beech Grove, and numerous unspoken requests signified with many uplifted hands. Elder Roger VanHoose led us to the throne of grace in a soul stirring prayer.
Brother Steve Hunt, Chairman of the Committee on Church Letters, came forward to give the report of our state and standing. Sloantown has closed the doors due to only having two members. They were in agreement and voted to cease function with land, etc. going back to the heirs. With 34 churches total, 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 association clerk will follow up with the church clerks of the two churches who failed to complete all the information on their church letter.
The delegation was seated in order to conduct the business of the association.
Brother David Horton, chairman of the Religious Exercises Committee, came forward to give the committees report.
Brother Danny Lawson, clerk of the association, came forward to speak to the congregation concerning the election. He told of the countless blessings he has received from serving the association alongside many wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ. Afterwards, he respectfully asked that he not be considered for reelection.
It was with deep regret that the delegation granted the request of Brother Lawson, but an even deeper appreciation was shown as the delegation gave a standing ovation. His thirty-plus years of service were filled with hundreds of hours meticulously recording the proceedings of the annual sessions of our beloved association. Reading his records brings delight to the soul as one is able to either relive or experience the spirit-filled gatherings he so vividly describes. It is understood that words will not be able to fully transfer our feelings of gratitude from our hearts to Brother Lawson. We pray that God will continue to richly bless him and his family.
The moderator asked for nominations to serve as moderator pro-tem during the election of the association officials. Elder Jason Robinette was nominated. No other nominations were made. It was motioned, seconded and voted for nominations to cease. Elder Robinette came forward to serve during the election.
The moderator asked for nominations to serve as clerk and treasurer of the association. Brother Kevin Hale was nominated to serve as clerk and treasurer. It was motioned and seconded for nominations to cease. Through the vote, he will serve for the ensuing year.
The moderator asked for nominations to serve as moderator of the association. Elder Terry Sizemore was nominated and it was seconded for him to serve as moderator of the association. It was motioned and seconded for nominations to cease. Through the vote, Elder Sizemore will serve as moderator for the ensuing year.
Elder Sizemore thanked Elder Robinette for standing as moderator pro-tem during the election of the association officials. The moderator thanked the delegation for their vote of confidence. There is a great responsibility attached to the offices of the association. We solicit the prayers of its members that the Lord’s will be done in our every action.
The moderator asked for a motion and second to allow him to appoint all committees necessary to carry on the business of the association. It was motioned, seconded and voted to allow the moderator to appoint any and all such committees.
The moderator then appointed the following committees:
Committee on Electrical and PA System: Delmer McPherson (chairman), Scott Mellons, Eric McPherson, Clifford Bledsoe, Danny Lawson, and Adam Lawson.
Committee on Newly Constituted Churches: Ministers: Burnice Sybert (chairman), Scott Tipton, and Mike Fullington; Deacons: Earl Dotson and Roy Jones; Laymen: Tony Smith, and Null Lawson.
Committee on Finance: Tyler Stapleton (chairman), Mark Newkirk and Eddie Malone.
Committee on Obituaries: Sammy VanHoose (chairman), Jim Emery, and Carter Hager.
Committee on Arrangements and/or Queries: Ministers: Roger VanHoose (chairman), Oscar Irvin, Jason Robinette, John Banks, Porter Carroll, Harmon Willis, and Charles Bernard.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to discontinue use of ribbons for members of committees, but continue use of delegate ribbons.
The moderator reminded the delegation that Excused Absence forms are available at the clerk’s desk, as well as a Community Service form.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to allow the clerk to replenish the necessary forms to properly perform his duties.
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 $2,000 in appreciation for his services.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to allow the moderator $1,000 in appreciation for his services.
Brother Delmer McPherson, chairman of the Electrical and PA System Committee, came forward to give the report, stating it was a pleasure to be here. Brother McPherson stated the new sound system was working well, being in its 3rd year. Brother McPherson’s service is greatly appreciated, and the fruits are thoroughly enjoyed by the delegation.
The clerk reported all financial transactions of the year to the delegation.
Elder Oscar Irvin, chair of the committee to purchase new chairs, reported that the new chairs had been purchased and were currently in use.
Brother Sammy VanHoose asked that the congregation gather together to lay hands on and pray for the moderator and clerk of the association. The business being concluded, the delegation was dismissed in prayer in the manner requested, led by brother Sammy VanHoose, until Friday morning, October 4, 2019.
The Lord blessed His people as they gathered for the second day of this 167th association. Sister Zula McCullough and Brother Marcel Bledsoe led the congregation in singing several songs of Zion. The redeemed will sing the redemption story when they gather together in that blessed home on high. It is a joy unspeakable to be saved from that awful gulf of sin. I am so glad that Jesus loves me! There’s a country to which we are going, and Heaven holds joy without measure.
Elder Sizemore welcomed everyone to today’s service. Thank God for His leadership and all those that came this way. May God continue to bless in our services.
We were blessed with special singing from the five host churches. Shouts of rejoicing came from all directions, from the stand to the back row. The Spirit came down on several preachers in the midst of the singing. More people were standing and worshipping God than remained sitting. The preaching and shouting were even louder than the singing. Peace, peace, wonderful peace comes down from the Father. Through His everlasting promises, He will let the path shine. Without God’s Amazing Grace, we wouldn’t have those wonderful promises. How sweet they sound. There’s a crimson river flowing from the cross of Calvary; it is redemption, it is salvation, and it is our Savior’s precious blood. I know that Jesus saved me, and that’s enough for me.
The Spirit was moving mightily, and Elder Sizemore begged any unsaved among us to step forward for the Lord. Prior to salvation, we weren’t looking for Jesus, but He was looking for us, just as He left the ninety and nine to go after that one lost sheep. He was looking for us to save us from that awful place called Hell.
It’s an honor to be a part of this grand old body. There are many elders that have gone on to be with the Lord, and the best way to honor them is to be obedient to the Spirit, as we have done this morning.
Prayer requests were made for the unsaved, as they are lost and don’t understand, all the requests from the previous day, those serving our country in the military, our association, our country, revivals, our young people, our churches, Jim Emery’s daughter, H.C. and Pearl Johnson, Colon Smith, Ronnie Leonard, Jean Wallen, Kay Short, Bill Spurlock, Suzie Yount, Tommy Meade, Daniel Hurd, Frank Gilliam, and our new clerk. Many gathered around the alter to lay hands on Brother Ronnie Leonard. Prayer gave way to the Lord preaching through Elder Scott Tipton. Jesus died for you and became the propitiation for our sins, all because He loved us.
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 with the change noted by the clerk. (There were 2 members at Sloantown instead of only one.)
Elder Sizemore called for the ministers to meet on the steps after lunch for the annual picture.
Elder David VanHoose, having been chosen by the Committee on Religious Exercises, came forward to take the first part of the service. Elder VanHoose read from the 15th chapter of St. John, taking the 16th verse as his text, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” God chose those that started our churches. As an association, we all stand for the same thing. He put us together to spread the Truth, and that is our heritage. If we don’t walk together and love and forgive each other, how are we to show Jesus? Storms will come, but the Lord will provide the increase. His pruning will yield a better fruit. Let’s walk together as His Children and as Primitive Baptists.
Elder Scott Tipton followed with another wonderful message from the Lord. He stated his delight to see the Power of the Holy Spirit on the people. Joshua led the Children of Israel across Jordan and set up twelve stones as a memorial to show that the hand of the Lord is mighty and that future generations might remember that the Israelites walked across Jordon on dry ground. That memorial was part of their heritage. The Association is part of our heritage. Elijah cried out to God, and the fire came down to consume, and to bless, and to show that the God of Israel is the One True God. And He’s our One True Friend.
We give God all the praise, honor, and glory for the Spirit that came down as a mighty rushing wind, yet still whispered sweet peace to our souls.
We were dismissed for lunch with a song. Some day, some happy day, we’ll live with Christ forever.
The congregation assembled in the school after a superb lunch served by the host churches. The Lord blessed us with cooler weather. There were fewer fans waving, as the school house was a little cooler than the prior day.
Sister Zula McCullough and Brother Marcel Bledsoe led the congregation in singing several songs of Zion. In the sweet by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore. We’ll live in Glory forever. We’ll be saved from wrath and be ever pure with the Rock of Ages. How firm a foundation is that Rock. He is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. No greater King could we serve. Everybody will be happy over there, but we don’t have to wait until Heaven experience joy through and by Jesus Christ.
We were further blessed with special singing and testimony from Walker Bales, Tony Smith, Kala Hale, Amy Bledsoe, and Looking Beyond, a group consisting of Dennis and Karen Stewart alongside Roger and Sammy VanHoose. How great thou art, oh God, who didn’t just make the earth; he even hung the stars and decorated the whole universe. That same God sent His only Son to carry our burden of sin to the Cross. He was the Mediator of a better covenant with God. Soon I shall anchor on Heaven’s bright shore with that same Jesus. There will be no trouble or death over there. God’s been good already. My chains are gone, and I’ve been set free. My Savior has ransomed me from an unpayable sin debt, through His unending love and amazing grace. He saved me, and a new life He gave me. He’s alive today, just like He was on the third day. I’m looking for that happy time when He beckons me Home to stay. What a joy to know the Way to Heaven where I’ll get to see Jesus face to face.
Elder Sizemore thanked the churches for the bountiful and delicious lunch.
Prayer requests were made, along with many wonderful testimonies. Always remember the unsaved, all those serving our country in the military and their families, Clifton Horne’s brothers, especially Mike, who is lost, Eddie Malone’s grandsons, Betty Sizemore, Carl and Dennis Osborne, Paul Surcey’s sister, stepfather and his family. Elder John Banks blessed us with his humble prayer as he took our petitions to the Lord and asked God to continue to pour out His Spirit upon us.
The delegation was seated in order to transact the business.
Brother Steve Hunt, chairman of the Letter Committee, came forward to give his report. The letter committee reviewed and now recommends that we accept the two incomplete letters from Irondale and Gardener’s Memorial if they answer affirmative the question on the Church letter that affirms they believe and agree to teach and practice according to the Articles of Faith, Rules of Decorum, and Church Covenant. No reason was brought forth suggesting the omission was anything but an inadvertent error. The moderator and clerk will check into this. It was motioned, seconded and voted to accept their letter at a later date and seat the delegates as part of the voting body.
The moderator appointed the Church Letter Committee for 2020 which includes: Steve Minton (chairman), Robert Brown, Gary Hall, and Danny Lawson.
Brother David Horton read the report from the Committee on Religious Exercises.
Brother Danny Lawson, the past clerk, read the Resolution of Thanks that he had prepared. It was motioned, seconded and voted to print it in the minutes as read.
Elder Terry Sizemore, on behalf of the Committee on Newly Constituted Churches reported that none had been received.
Elder Eddie Malone reported on the behalf of the Committee on Finance reported $5740 in receipts for the year. The chairman thanked each church and individual for their contributions.
The Committee on Arrangements and/or Queries reported that no queries had been received.
The Committee on Obituaries reported that 31 have been received at this time. The committee recommended that obituaries be sent through the church clerk. The deadline is one week from now to have obituaries printed in the 2019 minutes. It was motioned, seconded and voted to follow our original standard that was developed in the 1990’s and print these in the minutes.
The men chosen to write the circular letter for 2019 were Elder Terry Sizemore and deacons Ronnie Leonard and Clifton Horne. All came forward as Elder Sizemore read their letter. Its message to each of us was, “Do you know the Spiritual voice of the Lord?” It was motioned, seconded and voted to print the letter in our minutes as it was read.
The moderator noted that all committees are dismissed upon delivering their final report.
The moderator appointed the Committee on Circular Letters for 2020 which includes: Elders Mike Fullington, Keith Holt, and Chris Salley.
Brother Clifton Horne brought forth the proposal for the association purchasing a 24 ft. enclosed trailer for $4250 to store and haul the equipment of the association, chairs, tent, etc., from one host church to the next. It was motioned, seconded and voted to purchase this trailer.
Brother Clifton Horne brought forth the proposal for the association to purchase and install an awning on the cook house (mobile kitchen). It would be used when the serving doors are down to cover the food in case of rain. Elder Sizemore appointed Clifton Horne, Danny Lawson, and Scott Tipton to serve as the committee to look into the awning and report back at our next session.
Marcel Bledsoe led as everyone sang praises to the Lord as they fellowshipped and took up an offering to help pay for the trailer and for other expenses. A generous donation of $1400 was received.
The moderator reminded the delegation that only those chosen or appointed by their respective churches as delegates were allowed to vote, and the maximum number of votes per church was 4, if all delegates are present. Likewise, if only one delegate was present, then the church would only have one vote. There was one church and one group of churches that asked for the association to meet with them next year. These are Fairview (Bellbrook) and Copper Creek together with Willow Chapel. Elders Scott Tipton and Harmon Willis delivered the plea for Willow Chapel and Copper Creek. Bobby Graham and Elder Jason Robinette delivered the plea for Fairview.
By a clear majority, the delegation sent the association to Copper Creek and Willow Chapel, to be held at Copper Creek (Addington Frame), where, the Good Lord willing, we will convene on Thursday morning (October 1, 2020) before the first Saturday in October, 2020 for the 168th gathering. The introductory and alternate sermons will be preached by Elders Harmon Willis and Scott Tipton, respectively.
Elder Terry Sizemore dismissed us as we were adjourned until Saturday morning, October 5, 2019.
God blessed His children once again as they gathered for our memorial service. Sister Zula McCullough and Brother Marcel Bledsoe led us in songs of praise to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is sweet to know that the Way of the cross leads home. I’d rather be an old-time Christian than anything I know, and that means to tell about Him everywhere I go. Keep your lamp stem trimmed to be a light for Jesus every day. His Light will guide us, and Jesus holds our hand to keep us all the way. He whispers sweet peace to me along the way.
Elder Terry Sizemore welcomed everyone to our Saturday morning memorial service, thanking God for our wonderful services thus far. He asked that we each obey the Lord, and if there are any lost in the midst, that now the is perfect time to be saved.
We were further blessed with special singing and testimony from Dustin Lawson, Elder Jason Robinette, Jonathan and Peggy Shaw-McBee, and Elder Terry Sizemore. God is faithful and true. Don’t doubt it or deny Him, for He really cares about you. When I thank Him for what He had done, I must look back to the Crucified One. We’re wayfaring strangers in this world, but we’re going to a new home over Jordon. Jesus gave us peace like a Heavenly dove, because the cross covers our sins. It’s such a blessing to be set free.
Remember in prayer the lost, all the requests made in previous services, our young people and their parents, Wanda Malone, HC and Pearl Johnson, Jean Wallen, Kay Short, Bill Spurlock, Suzie Yount, a man who lost his son and mother, Tommy Meade, Jenny Goode’s son, the young man injured in a football game, Wren and Bill Tomlinson and family, Eugene and Darsulla Sullivan, and many unspoken requests signified by uplifted hands. Elder Kevin Cross humbly led us to the throne of grace with a fervent prayer.
The delegation was seated in order to transact the business.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to adopt the business proceedings of yesterday as read.
Brother David Horton provided the final report of the Religious Exercises Committee. There were no changes from yesterday.
It was motioned, seconded and voted to print Sister Eileen Brown’s contact information in the minutes as she continues sending out revival and special service notices. Please let her know by the 20th of the month for the notice to be included in next month’s announcements. Individuals and churches should send a donation to help Sister Eileen with postage and handling. Her contact information is as follows: Please report to her via email.
For many years, the Saturday morning service has been dedicated as a memorial service for those saints who have passed from among us. The moderator read the names of those that have moved on to that fair city since we last met. Please remember their families in your prayers, and we thank God for their friendship.
Having been chosen by the Committee on Religious Exercises, Elder Burnice Sybert took the lead in our memorial service. This is the 64th time the Saturday morning service has been held in memorial to those gone on their reward, which is to be present with the Lord. The memorial service originally remembered the departed elders, but within a few years, was dedicated to all members of the association that have gone Home in the last year. Many have gone on to Heaven since our association began.
Elder Sybert read from the fifth chapter of 2 Corinthians, verses 1-10, using as a thought, “the assurance and comfort of a believer.” Paul preached the Resurrection to the Gentiles. “For we know” that this earthly tabernacle will be dissolved, as it is appointed unto man once to die. Dissolved means to break into parts; the outward man returns to the earth, but the inward man, which is the soul, goes back to God who created it. Earthly death is not the end. There remaineth a rest in the presence of the Lord. In the day of the resurrection, the dead in Christ will rise first. A new and glorified body will rise, likened unto the Son of God, and so shall we ever be with the Lord. That new Heavenly house was created for us in Heaven when we were saved, and we’ll move into that new house on the Resurrection Day. That will be the beginning of true happiness that lasts forever. Christ took the keys to death, Hell, and the grave, and He also took away the fear of death.
As Elder Sybert stepped down from the stand, he leaned upon Elder Curtis Hale, who is much younger. We thank Elder Sybert for allowing us to spiritually lean upon him for so many years.
Elder Oscar Irvin took the next part of our memorial service from the same scripture. Jesus said, “I am the Door.” We all died in Adam, because when sin is conceived, it bringeth forth death. But in Christ, we are made alive. Death is not the end; it is the beginning. Life comes through believing on the lonely death, burial, and resurrection of God’s only Son, Jesus Christ, whose cause was to settle the unrepayable sin debt. He’ll go all the way with us. From the deepest depths of the valley to the top of the mountain, “Thou art there”. Our God provided us a new house; we’ll shed this body of clay that’s been marred by sin. We have a lively hope of an inheritance that’s incorruptible, undefiled, and fadeth not away, eternal in the Heavens. Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions.” We’ll get a new spiritual house fashioned like unto Jesus Christ. Enter in to the joys of the Lord, which were prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Elder Terry Sizemore came forward with another wonderful message from God. He used the fifth verse, and his thought was “the earnest of the Spirit.” The Lord provided that earnest of the Spirit as an assurance to show it’s more than just a hope. As many that are led by God, they are the sons of God. We have a promise of a country. We’ve been assured that we’ll stand before the Lord, and He will be looking for the witness of the Blood. Our hope is in Jesus. “For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from Heaven.” We can’t comprehend, but we have a great confidence through the earnest of the Spirit. Open up our eyes to see the angels and chariots camped around about. This life is temporal, but what God has done is eternal. We’ll be clothed upon with a new house, not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens. We have the earnest of the spirit that we’ll receive the rest of our inheritance.
Thank God for these men and their willingness to stand firm and preach the truth of His word.
Elder Curtis Hale came to extend thanks to the Lord for his bountiful blessing over this session and over the last year as the five Southwest Virginia Bible Study Churches prepared to host the association. Many more than the five churches were represented in the work that was done to make the association happen. Elder Oscar and Priscilla Irvin stepped in to lend their experience to fill the void of experience left by the passing of Elder Greg Hill. Elder Hale thanked all for the love that was shown. The ladies in the kitchen had a beautiful, spiritual desire to serve. There was more service than could be recorded, as many parked cars, took out the trash, carried food, helped the elders, prayed for the association, and for some of the most wonderful preaching we’ve ever heard. The reunion in the sky is the only one that could be better.
We were dismissed in songs of praise led by Sister Zula McCullough. I know I have another building not made with hands. Such wonderful praises were made as we were adjourned until Sunday morning, October 6, 2019.
The Lord blessed us to gather out for our last service of the 167th annual session.
Congregational singing opened with He Whispers Sweet Peace to Me, led by Brother Tee Osborne. He speaks with a small voice, and He dispels all fear. Look above and trust His matchless grace. We have the best friend there is in Jesus Christ. He is a Wondrous Sovereign; Jesus Savior, pilot me. Get ready for that day, as it won’t be very long. The rapture will come, and the redeemed will be gathering in. The saints will sing the redemption story. We will meet in the morning of the endless day, where we’ll need no sun, as our light will be the Son.
Elder Daniel Hurd welcomed everyone and thanked God for the Liberty that has allowed us to worship the Lord and feel at home during this association gathering.
Prayer requests were expressed for the lost, each other, and our churches. Remember those that have no desire to come to church and that the Lord will extend His drawing power to them. Also, the family of Wren Tomlinson, who was carried into Abraham’s bosom last night, Daniel Hurd and his family, Jack Huff, Joe Horton’s sister, Virgie Grace’s family, Hunter Hensley’s dad and papaw, those men that will write the circular letter for next year, and many unspoken requests demonstrated by the uplifting of hands.
Our petitions were taken to the Lord as Brother Harold Vance humbly bowed in the middle of the isle.
We were blessed with special singing from Gerald Moore. My sin not in part but it whole was nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more. Praise the Lord, it is well with my soul!
Elder Hunter Hensley came forth using John 3:16 as his text and preached using the thought that the first 12 words of the verse are about God, and the last 12 words are about man, but in the middle is Jesus, connecting man to God. Through Adam, our inheritance was to perish. God showed His great love, just as He did to the children of Israel, to Noah and his family, to Daniel in the lion’s den, and to the three Hebrew children. But their sacrifices weren’t good enough for eternal life. God sent His only begotten Son to be that perfect sacrifice, to suffer in the flesh, and to die on the cross. He stood in the midst of man and God. He conquered death, Hell, and the grave. He makes intercession for us to God. Jesus’s blood is the covering of our sin, so that God may look upon us. But those who don’t believe will receive pain for eternity. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
Elder David Parsons then spoke following the same thought. God will never leave you and never forsake you, but He’ll go with you. Some of us may forget our promises, but Jesus never will. Elder Parsons spoke about how the building used to be a school house, but it’s now a Holy place. When the temple was built, there was a veil that separated us from God. Only a high priest could take the sacrifices to the Holy of Holies to put sin off for another year, but when Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice, the veil was rent in twain, from top to bottom. Jesus became the High Priest that sits on the right hand of the Father and makes intercession for us. Now it makes no difference where we are; we can be on Holy ground. Jesus came to fulfil the Law that we might have eternal life through Him. In Heaven are our treasures laid up.
During fellowship and handshake, we were blessed by singing from Kim Robinette. I’m so glad that I’ve got a better place to go.
The service ended with many testimonies and thanksgiving. The congregation was dismissed in prayer by Elder Chris Salley, and lunch was served.
I pray God will continue to bless each and every one of you for the ensuing year, and we look forward to the gathering of our beloved association next year.