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Emanuel Baptist Church, Orange, Virginia

History of Emanuel Baptist Church

100 East Church Street

Orange, Virginia

On January 8, 1908, 38 persons were given letters of dismissal from the Nazareth Baptist Church, Orange, Virginia, for the purpose of organizing a Baptist church. They met in the Pythians Hall on Mill Street and were organized.

The first pastor was the Reverend J. T. Stran. The Land was purchased from the Late Horace Scott and John Hughes. The lot was 44 X 100 square feet, costing $150.00, and paid for in cash. The church was built in May 1910 and paid for in eight years. The deed was drawn up on the 22nd day of May 1910 in the County Clerk’s office.

The first trustees were Willie Ware, Harrison Nixon, and Oregon Conway. The first deacons were Willie Ware, Willie East, Oregon Conway, Frank Ellis, Price Diggs, George Sheppard, and Harrison Nixon. The first church clerk was Mrs. Sarah Reid; Treasurer, Mrs. Jane Wharton; Sexton, Mrs. Annie Scott, and Organist, Mrs. Lizzy Galloway. The bondholders were Mrs. Sarah Reid, Mr. and Mrs. Willie Ware, Mrs. Mary Jackson, and Miss Lula Jackson. At this time, membership had grown to 45 members.

During the years between 1927 and 1943 while Reverend George E. Galloway was pastor, an extension was added to the church and paid for. This included a room, restroom for ladies, and a baptismal pool.

During the years 1955-1964, while Reverend Albert Ward was the pastor, the lower auditorium was converted into a dining area and kitchen. A new pulpit set, communion table, chair stand for the juniors, and an electric bulletin board for the outside were purchased, and fluorescent lights were installed in the basement.

Reverend Charles Dunbar Davenport was installed as pastor of Emanuel Baptist Church on December 12, 1965, and remained until January 26, 1997. During those 31 years of service, he accomplished many things for the good of this church. To name a few: two new hymn boards, new hardwood floors, carpet for the floors, additional toilet facilities, a new organ, and piano were purchased. Electricity was upgraded in the main auditorium, new lights in the ceiling, cabinets for the kitchen, public address system, 24 new oak pews with cushions, two new deacon chairs, two flower stands, and a podium all were purchased and installed. The air conditioner was upgraded with an extra unit and a new roof was put on after 85 years of service from the old one. After 40 years of service, the furnace was replaced.

On August 24, 1997, Reverend Anthony Holland was voted unanimously as the 12th pastor of Emanuel Baptist Church. Reverend Holland was installed on July 12, 1998 and served until November 18, 1998. In the short time Reverend Holland was with us, he made upgrades to the Sunday school and started Bible study. Two new deacons, Brothers Keith and Stanley Nixon were ordained, Mrs. Clara Nixon and Mrs. Molly Turner were made deaconesses. Tape Ministry was installed and telephone service was added, all under Reverend Holland’s leadership.

While without a pastor, a new stove was purchased, new tile was installed in the kitchen, and new windows in the dining area. The church was led by Deacon Gurvis Bailey who served as moderator of all meetings and business.

Reverend Tommie Lee Bailey was voted pastor-elect in December 2000. Reverend Bailey preached his first sermon on January 14, 2001. A new piano, a computer with color printer, blinds and curtains, a new double sink, and refrigerator have been purchased under the leadership of Reverend Bailey. The driveway has been repaved and new entrance doors have been installed. New carpet was installed in the vestibule and pastor’s study. Most recently, a new handicap ramp and handicap bathroom have been added, the tile on the kitchen and bathroom floors have been replaced, as has the steeple and cross on top of the church. Under Reverend Bailey’s leadership, the church also named the mother of the church, Mrs. Margaret Ware, as a deaconess.

We pray that with God’s blessing and leadership through the shepherd He has sent to us, we will remain the church that sits on the side of the road as a lighthouse to all people. [We are] still striving for the same purpose as those 38 persons who started this church 100 years ago, to tell men, women, boys and girls that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is still eternal life.

Taken from the Centennial Anniversary Celebration for Emanuel Baptist Church, 2010


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