The History of Palestine Baptist Church
Palestine Baptist Church began in 1850 when Staunton Baptist Church (or Moody’s Meeting House as it was known then)”…consented to extend an arm of this church to Meadow Ridge School House…” The first meeting was held on October 2, 1850. The Meadow Ridge School House was located just east of the present church.
In 1852 the church became self-supporting. According to the minutes of Staunton Church, on July 23, 1852 “a list of members belonging to the Meadow Ridge Church was taken from Moody’s Church.” There were 20 members, two of whom were Negro boys. The church was constituted on May 21, 1853 into a church. Rev. Abner Anthony was the first pastor. In 1855 the land on which the church now stands was purchased from John H. and Lucy C. Turner for $20.00. The next year a frame building was begun. It was built with hand-hewn and hand-dressed lumber and was “32 by 40 feet in the clear and 12 feet high.” The name was changed from Meadow Ridge to Palestine Baptist Church at a meeting on Saturday, July 4, 1857.
Palestine is said to have had one of the most elaborate horse blocks around. The horse block was necessary for women, children and old men to mount and dismount their horses. Most churches had one in those days.
Work began on a new church building in 1935 but it was not until April 3, 1938 when the first service was held in the present building. The dedication service was May 29, 1938.
On May 17, 1953 Palestine Church celebrated its 100th anniversary with a Homecoming Day Service.
Palestine and Mentow Baptist Churches shared the same pastor until November 21, 1965 when this field was dissolved and each church went full time. Rev. Joseph Stirman, Jr. was the first full-time pastor of Palestine.
Eight men from Palestine have been ordained for the ministry, They are G. G.Turner, Jesse V. Ashwell, Grover M. Turner, Leo Kendrick, Nolan Crowder, Melvin Harris, Luther Lemon, and Vernon DeLong.
In 1976, as our country celebrated a bicentennial, Palestine had a Homecoming in which everyone dressed in early American clothing.
In 1990 Palestine Church welcomed Rev. Chris Fowler and that same year celebrated with a Homecoming.
It became evident during the early 1990’s that our church was growing and there was a need for more classrooms, a larger fellowship hall, and a more modern kitchen. It was voted in 1993 to pursue these additions and in 1995 a new “wing” consisting of six additional classrooms, a choir room, two restrooms, a pastor’s office, a church office, storage space, and a new fellowship hall and kitchen were dedicated.
Palestine Church welcomed our first Minister of Music in February 1999. Don Clark, along with his wife Jeanne, led the congregation in worship with praise music and choir specials. This was the first time in the history of Palestine Church that a music director was a paid position.
In the summer of 2002 with the growth of various ministries within the church such as AWANA, and our men’s and women’s ministries, we again realized Palestine Church needed more room to meet our needs. The sanctuary was out dated and small and more classrooms were needed. It was voted to contact a local architect and investigate our options. The church was given the opportunity to purchase much needed land. It was approved by the members to purchase land from the W. Thereon Howell family and the William Snow Turner family. With the immediate need the church had for a more modern sanctuary it was voted to remodel the existing sanctuary and place the plans for a new sanctuary in a near future plan.
Renovations to our sanctuary were complete during the spring of 2003. A special called informative meeting was called in March 2003 to educate members about Family Life Centers. It was decided to investigate the possibility of such a center being built to facilitate the needs of our church. We opened the doors to our Family Life Center in 2004. To facilitate our growth, we offered two services. One service in the Sanctuary and the other in the Family Life Center.
Author Unknown–Taken from 1981 Palestine Baptist Church Directory–Resent history Author Robyn Tuck and Margaret Adams