THE HISTORY OF RANDALLSVILLE BAPTIST CHURCH
Thomas Murphy Hennigan, Historian
The story of Randallsville Baptist Church had its beginning in the Fall of 1881. The Free Religious Society of Smith’s Valley, Inc. organized an incorporated. Services had previously been held in the old hotel in Smith’s Valley.
In 1882, the House of Worship was constructed of board and batten. It was originally called Brooks chapel in Honor of the local minister, W.R. Brooks, who, together with some local folks, helped in its construction. The name remained Brooks Chapel until 1945.
Incorporation took place in 1881 with the stipulation that the new church would be available for functions and worship services of four different denominations, Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregational. On July 4, 1883, the church became an extension of and continuing member of Lebanon Baptist Church and reporting once a year. The Reverend W.R. Brooks became its first pastor.
Some Important dates and happenings are as follows:
The first communion was held on Sunday, August 12th, 1883
They had trouble with the chimney from the start!
The Ladies Aid, constantly mentioned as they made purchases, redecorated, etc., were a faithful, constant, and supportive group, always at hand and ready to help.
Our first pastor, Reverend Brooks, was stricken in the pulpit with apoplexy in February 1888 and died in the church two days later.
In 1895, it was noted that the hand of fellowship was withdrawn from two members for improper conduct. No names were listed.
On July 28, 1935, Reverend Powell performed the first marriage ceremony, joining Marcello Whitford and Sera Williams (sic).
The Reverend Harry Stone was ordained a minister in this church on July 6, 1948, and served until 1963.
In March of 1951, 26 candidates were baptized in the church. Thirty one new members received the hand of fellowship on Ester Sunday of the same year. This was the largest group ever, to date.
In 1945, our church was known as “The Little Brown Church in the Vale.”
In 1963, the church voted to yoke with the Earlville Baptist Church. This yoke arrangement lasted 18 years.
In 1978, the Constitution, By-Laws, and duties of all officers was drawn and formally typed under the direction of the Reverend Douglas Hargis and committee.
In 1981, they voted to break the yoke with the Earlville Baptist Church and our current pastor, Reverend Gerald Saliba was called to serve.
New Life Christian School was founded in 1983 with 13 students. Debbie Hunt was administrator until 1996.
In 1984, the first addition to the church was started.
Work began on the second addition to our church, a new sanctuary and classrooms in 1995. Jim Smith was the original general contractor and builder. His Dedication, talent, and craftsmanship can only be described as outstanding as he did his work “as unto the Lord.” The entire project was funded by members and friends of the church and a number of volunteers helped the contractors.
Additional contractors who gave of their great talents and workmanship are as follows:
Our heartfelt gratitude goes to all of them, and to anyone we may have inadvertently missed for an exceptional job. We also want to give a very special thank you for all those who worked behind the scenes to make this da possible. You are a great bundh of faithful people!
In 1996, Frederick P. French was appointed the Principal of the New Life Christian School, following the resignation of Debbie Hunt.
On September 20th, 1997, we had the dedication of our new sanctuary in honor of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Dozens of friends, members and former members gathered a one to say, “I love you, Lord.”
We wish to acknowledge and give our gratitude to previous historians of the Randallsville Baptist Church; Doris Fleming, Doris Briggs and Genevieve Warren.
Respectfully submitted by
Thomas M. Hennigan, Historian
September 20, 1997
HAPPENINGS AND EVENTS
1882 Church built. Pews installed at a cost of $259.20
1883 Roof lined with tarpaper. Cost: $9.50. Cloakroom installed in basement and chimney raised.
1884 Room finished in basement. Cost $130.44
1886 Roof reshingled.
1888 Horse shed built behind church.
1893 Brick foundation placed under furnace. Cost: $.40
1903 Free Religious Society of Smith Valley turned church over to the Baptist Society.
1908 Twenty-Fifth Anniversary. Church painted. Cost: $101.29
1909 A baptistry installed. Gift of Mr. Brooks’ widow at cost of $88.12
1914 Church was raised two feet higher to permit enlargement of basement. Cost: $633.65
1916 Electric Lighting installed.
1927 New floor laid. Cost $312.92
Ladies Aid paid for shingling south side of church. Cost: $44.00
1952 First oil furnace installed.
1957 75th Anniversary celebrated.
1969 Sunday School rooms added.
1971 Dedication of the painting of Christ by Richard Merkt.
New carpets given in memory of Deacon Charles Rodman
1971 New candles given in memory of Mr. & Mrs. Frank Rodman
Ladies Aid replaced windows in the sanctuary, painted the interior of the church and tiled the ceiling of the vestibule.
1976 Organ donated by Mrs. Harris, assistant organist.
1978 Furnace replaced.
1980 Legally became known as the Randallsville Baptist Church.
1983 New Life Christian School was founded.
1984 Work began on our first addition.
1995 Work began on our new sanctuary. General contractor and builder was Jim Smith
1997 September 20. Dedication of our new sanctuary. It was a great celebration of dozens of friends and communicants of Randallsville gathering as one to say, “I love you, Lord.”
1882-1888 Reverend W.R. Brooks
1888-1896 Reverend S.B. Leary
1914-1916 Reverend James Gifford
1916-1917 Reverend David Griffiths
1925-1932 Reverend Grace Smith
1933-1935 Mr. Strauss
1935- Reverend Linus Powell
1941 Reverend Guyer
1941-1943 Reverend Harry Stone, Interim Pastor
1943-1963 Reverend Harry Stone
1963-1967 Reverend Jack James
1968-1973 Reverend Harry Kemp
1973-1975 Reverend Norman Evans
1975-1976 Reverend Martin Alcott
1976- Reverend Douglas Hargis
Reverend Bisso, Interim Pastor
1981- 2005 Reverend Gerald Saliba
2005 - 2022 Reverend Alan Chandler (12/31/22)
6/1/2023 - Pastor Nic Knapp