Orange Grove Baptist Church, Orange, Virginia
History of Orange Grove Baptist Church
27383 Orange Spring Road
Orange Grove Baptist Church was founded in an area when Afro-Americans were striving to put behind them the last vestiges of a slave heritage. The church was organized in the early 1890’s by a band of determined souls who first assembled, according to traditional lore, in a “Brush Arbor.”
The details of those early years, like much of the documentation for Orange Grove’s history have been lost. The family names of Williams, Daniels, Jackson, Poindexter, and Woolfolk are documented as founders and first members. The original church building stood on land that was deeded in 1895 by Issac Graves and his wife.
Rev. William Jackson was the first pastor. He was followed by Rev. George E. Galloway. During the tenure of Rev. Jackson and Rev. Galloway, a Sunday Service, Prayer Meeting and an Annual Revival were established. The Poor Saints Fund was the only organized church program during this era. Those early pioneers in church building laid the foundation of a church community that would last over a hundred years. They represented an era of self-reliant and self-sufficient church building. They cut trees, sawed the logs, shaped the boards and pegs and white-washed the sideboards. The church, like a beacon, could be seen from a distance gleaming through the dense strand of trees. The church was a religious and social center. It provided for the basic spiritual needs of its communicants.
Rev. F. F. Terrell was pastor following Rev. Galloway. Under Rev. Terrell, the church’s organization and programs expanded. A Sunday School and choir were added. The Poor Saints organized into the Mission Union and ushers were added to the service. Sister Alberta Daniel set up a building fund. Rev. Terrell also maintained close ties to the community organization, fighting for social justice and encouraged the members to support the NAACP. His pastorage lasted from the 1940’s until 1979.
Our current pastor, Rev. Perry Moore was acting pastor when Rev. Terrell retired in 1979. Rev. Moore was officially installed as the pastor in 1980. In approximately 1980, the Junior Youth Choir then called the “Junior Lights” was organized. When Rev. Moore assumed the leadership of Orange Grove, the church retained much of its original country character. The time required vision and decisive actions. New programs and better facilities were necessary. Rev. Moore oversaw the extension of the building fund and the modernization of the church with the addition of indoor plumbing, bathrooms and a new dining facility. Even while this modernization was in progress, plans were being considered for changing, enlarging or eliminating the old church structure.
By August 1989, plans were drafted. It was time to build! In September 1989, the original structure which had served Orange Grove for almost a century was razed. The construction of the new edifice was begun in October 1989.
By May, 1990, the work had reached a stage where the structure was serviceable. The first worship service was held in May, 1990, conducted by our pastor Rev. Perry Moore, Jr. Through the help of God, we have made many accomplishments with Rev. Moore as our pastor.
In August 1996, the church parking lot was paved. The steeple was erected in July 1997. Our Women’s Fellowship was organized in October 1997.
In July 1999, we were able to purchase five acres of land. Our dining facility was expanded to include a computer room in 2002, and the Heavenly Angels Choir was established.
We installed a PA system in 2003, purchased a copy machine, established the Ernest and Nolie Terrell Scholarship Fund, and purchased a baptismal pool.
In 2004, the front of the church refaced to include a wheel chair ramp. During 2004, we changed our worship service from 11:30am to 11:00am and Sunday School from 10:15am to 10:00am. The Children’s Church Curriculum was also implemented in 2004.
In 2005, God blessed us to purchase two heating/air conditioning units.
In 2007, we were able to purchase a 10’ X 12’ storage shed, have a 28’ X 60’ pavilion built and completed in August 2007. In 2010, God is still blessing us. What a might God we serve!!
The congregation pledges to work in order that the church’s pews would never be empty and to make sure that Orange Grove’s light would always shine. In remembrance of those who have gone before, the present church will continue to leave a legacy equal to the legacy from the past on which the new church was built.
*cemetery on church premises Contributed by Mary S. Turner