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Shady Grove Baptist Church, Orange, Virginia


Shady Grove Baptist Church

21024 Piney Woods Road

P.O. Box 707

Orange, Virginia 22060


The Reverend Joseph Moore, Pastor

James Lewis, Deacons Ministry Chair

Albert McGhee, Jr., Trustee Ministry Chair


Shady Grove Baptist Church was established in 1871 by a group of 36 former slaves, who had recognized their freedom in Christ long before that time, left the balconies of two local “white churches” and organized the Shady Grove Baptist Church.


This small band of people built a bush-harbor under the black oak, which in no longer standing in our churchyard, as their first place of worship. This bush-harbor served as our first church for nearly a year. A growing membership soon enabled them to construct a building. This first building faced the road, now Route 677.


The group of founders included the following persons: Deacon William and Mrs. Martha White, Mr. Ben and Mrs. Malinda White, Mr. Henry and Mrs. Margarett Frye, Mrs. Harriet Crutchfield, Mr. Reuben Mansfield, Mr. George and Mrs. Ann Jackson, Mr. Jessie Henderson and Mrs. Henriette Henderson, Mrs. Rachel Jackson, Mr. David White, Mr. Jake and Mrs. Emma White, Mr. Thomas and Mrs. Katherine Richards, Mr. Jake and Mrs. Millie Jackson, Deacon Harrison and Lucy Ellis, Mr. Westly and Mrs. Courtney Coleman and Mrs. Polly Hicks.

Shady Grove has had fifteen pastors throughout its history. The first of whom was the Rev. Coleman Gillum. He was followed by the Reverends C. Johnson, Robert Quarles, Z.D. Lewis, J.H. Prestley, Jessie Paterson, and Edward Lewis. Rev. Prestley, our fifth pastor, was sent on a missionary trip to Africa for several years. Upon his return, he continued his pastorage. Rev. Lee Davis, our eighth pastor, served for thirty-three years. During his years of service, we were able, among other things, to extend the church building and change the lighting from carbon to electricity. Rev. George E. Galloway was our pastor from 1946 until his death on January 1, 1951. Rev. Galloway proved to be a monumental organizer. During his years of leadership, he reorganized the official boards of the church, organized the ushers into a junior and senior board, raised money for the purchase of the school building, bought the cemetery plot and started the installation of memorial windows.


Most of all, he gave the church a sense of unity and fellowship. Our next pastors were Rev. Frank Thompson and Rev. Ronald Hart who served for 20 years. In 1995, the Rev. Edward White was elected pastor of our church. 1995 was a pivotal year for our congregation. We decided, with his leadership, to build another church with the goal of extending the ministry to benefit the whole community. The first two phases of this building project was completed in 1998. First Sunday weekend in September 1998, the dedication service was held and Homecoming was held in this place on that Sunday. Phase three of the building project will be the sanctuary. Under Pastor White’s leadership, other changes occurred. New ministries were established such as the Men’s Fellowship, the Women’s Fellowship now known as the Women’s Ministry, the Men’s Chorus and the Outreach Ministry. Membership increased and the church was growing in numbers and spiritually.


Because of health issues, Pastor White felt that he could no longer serve as pastor and fulfill the duties of a good pastor. We were deeply saddened when he gave his resignation as pastor of this “Branch of Zion”.

New to our worship service in 1997 was the “Children’s Church” held each Sunday.

On October 5, 2002, the church family installed a new pastor, the Reverend Joseph A. Moore. Currently, Pastor Moore wears two hats as our pastor and of our musician. Under Pastor Moore, the Christian Education Department was established. Pastor Moore sees the need to get more members actively involved in church ministries. To this resolve, some members who previously were not actively involved have been placed in leadership positions of these ministries.


In June 2005 husband and wife, Reverend Sammie Yates and the Reverend Annette Yates joined the church family and were associate ministers. Reverend Sammie Yates briefly pastored Bethel Baptist Church, Mitchell, Virginia, before returning to Shady Grove to continue to do God’s will.


God has truly blessed us with paved parking, a nearly completed commercial kitchen, with a sheltered-type pavilion, commercial stove, refrigerator, freezer, and dishwasher; with a screen monitor in the fellowship hall so that the overflow of worshipers can see the service; with new lighting in the parking light which provides safety for our worshippers; and new commercial floor covering for the kitchen hallway.


We have supported foreign missions by financially and prayerfully blessing the Reverend Fred Sales and Minister Benjamin Tyler on their mission trips to South Africa and Peru, respectively.


In 2009, our church family mourned with our associate minister, the Reverend Annette Yates, in the passing in October of her husband, the Reverend Sammie Yates, who also was one of our associate ministers. Earth truly has no sorrow that God cannot heal. “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (2 Corinthians 5:1)


Since our last church anniversary the following has occurred: Pastor Moore celebrated his 8th Anniversary as pastor of Shady Grove in October 2010. New members have joined by baptism and Christian experience. Babies have been dedicated. The position of Christian Education Director has been filled by Deacon James (Eddie) Lewis. Pastor Moore has recently resumed the position of musician for our Sunday Worship Services. Third Sundays in each month have truly become ‘Youth Sunday’ in that the youth do all of the devotional parts of the service and offering as well as provides the music.


Our church consists of the following ministries: Men’s Choir, Women’s Ministry, Ushers Ministry, Mass Choir, Youth Choir, Children’s Church, Flower Club, Happy Hearts, Deacons, Deaconess, Trustees, Sunday School, Outreach, Weekly Prayer Meeting and Bible Study.

There perhaps are other names and deeds which may not have been mentioned that have been crucial in the growth of our church, but those names and deeds will not be forgotten when the Book of Life is opened and the roll is called in glory. We never cease to thank God for the great things that He has done through those who came before us, and we pray that we will allow him to use us in His blessing to future generations. We are confident at Shady Grove that “he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ”.


*cemetery across the road from church


Compiled by Phyllis A. Highland