Our History

The Beginning

White Oak Hill Free Will Baptist Church was first organized in September of 1887. Prior to organizing, services were held under a brush arbor and some meetings were held in an old school building. Rev. T. H. Matthews was elected as the first pastor.

In 1905 the first building committee was formed and a one room plank building was built and used until 1925. This building, which was never painted, was sufficient for the charter membership of about 25.

The Early Years

In 1925 another one room building was constructed with a seating capacity of approximately 150 people and used as the sanctuary until September 1953. Sunday School services were held in the summer months and church was closed during the winter months. Sunday School was discontinued during the depression years due to a lack of funds required to purchase literature. Later, year round services were made possible through the purchase of a wood heater.

Church Buildings Begin To Take Shape

In September 1953 a new one room cinderblock building with seating capacity of 300 was constructed. In 1963 the building was modified by adding bathroom facilities and nursery. In 1971, the current educational building was built and new stained glass windows were added to the sanctuary. The exterior of the sanctuary was modified by bricking. In June 1963 the church went to full time service and built a parsonage in 1966. Rev. Henry Hughes and his family were the first occupants of the parsonage.

In 1978, under the leadership of Rev. Darrell Pickle, the church voted to build a Family Life Center which was completed in December 1979. This building continues to be a blessing to the church family today as it is used for a number of activities.

Recent Church Growth

In early 1999 plans to build a new sanctuary began and in December 2000, the church voted to build. In June 2001 the church approved architects’ plans for the new building and in November 2001 construction on the new building began.

On November 4, 2001 Rev. Tim Stout held the last Homecoming in the building that was constructed in 1953 with 394 attending and the offering was $32,196.00. On June 30, 2002 the last service was held in the building that was built in 1953 with 201 in attendance for the morning service. On July 7, 2002 the first service was held in the new building, with Rev. Tim Riggs preaching the first sermon. His message was from 2 Chronicles, chapter 5. There were 304 people in attendance.

Our Church Pastors, Past and Present

White Oak Hill has had many capable pastors filling the pulpit since it was first organized in 1887. They are, T. H. Matthews, J. L Eason, B. H. Boykin, B. T. Dixon, J. L. Strickland, B. W. Tippett, J. K. Ruffin, L. H. Worthington, B. B. Deans, J. H. Whitley, J. W. Valentine, R. N. Hinnant, L. T. Phillips, G. C. Joyner, M. E. Godwin, James A. Evans, Arthur Hales, J. W. Alford, L. E. Ballard, M. L. Johnson, W. E. Renfrow, W. L. Poythress, Ralph E. Clegg, Paul Lee, Billy G. McClintock, Carey Watkins, Henry Hagans, Henry Hughes, Darrell Pickle, Eddie Maupin, Jim Marcum, Percy Cunningham, Tim Stout, Tim Riggs, and at the present time, Reuben Cason, who has been pastor since April 2007.

 

INTERESTING FACTS

We have a few things that were used in the early churches: Bible (donated in 1910 by Peatie Thompson), Pulpit and Table (made by Robert Batchelor in the early 1900’s).

 

White Oak Hill Church was named after White Oak Hill Swamp and was built on a hill.

 

During the late 1930’s, the preacher’s salary was $5.00 a month. In 1937, it was increased to $10.00 a month. By 1956, it had increased to an annual salary of $1,050.00.

 

The new sanctuary has 10,734 square feet and is 74 feet wide, and 145 feet long. The stained glass windows are 44 inches wide and 72 inches tall with an 18 x 24 inch “Life of Christ” scene in each one.

 

The cross in the front window, pulpit and communion table was made with wood saved from an old oak tree that was removed from the yard before the new sanctuary construction began. The tree was 116 years old which indicated it was on the property when the first church was built.

Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”