Wakefield Baptist celebrates 125th

Published 11:50 pm Friday, August 26, 2011

Fay Savedge from the Village at Woods Edge in Franklin and author of “Wakefield Baptist Church’s Stained Glass Windows” and her son, Buddy, of Wakefield, look over some of the church’s history. -- MERLE MONAHAN | TIDEWATER NEWS


WAKEFIELD—The little Baptist Church that started with seven members in August 1886 in Wakefield celebrated 125 years this month.

About 180 members, former members and friends attended the daylong celebration at Wakefield Baptist Church on Church Street. The church stands where the original 32- by 50-foot house of worship stood in the beginning.

“This is a wonderful day,” the Rev. Jim Kerr told guests.

The pastor of the 200-member congregation asked families and former out-of-town members to stand to be recognized.

Three of the five surviving former pastors attended the service. The Rev. Larry Grizzard delivered the morning sermon, while the Rev. Ron Carlberg spoke during the afternoon service.

Other surviving pastors are the Revs. Ed Griffin and David Irving.

And as he has done for years, B.F. Ellis Jr., 91, the oldest member, took his seat near the back of the church. A deacon, Ellis has also been a trustee and treasurer.

“We were so pleased with the turnout,” said member Gayle Lanier, noting that members worked for more than a year to prepare for the event.

Small repairs were made, parts of the church were painted and redecorated, and new window treatments were provided by church members for the fellowship hall. For the occasion, members provided flower arrangements in memory of deceased members; they were placed in each room of the church.

A double-frame with pictures of almost all the former pastors was hung on the wall of the front hall. Member Hannah Bain funded this project.

“Of the 37 pastors, we only had pictures of five in our files,” Lanier said. “We found the others by going online and writing to other churches in the area. I think we ended up will all but six.”

During the morning service, artist Ivan Perkinson presented a painting of the church commissioned by J.T. Morriss Funeral Home in Wakefield.

For those touring the church between services, there was a display of records, books, pictures and other documentation pertaining to the church, including a history written by May Sue Reese Glasco. She is a former resident of Wakefield who grew up in the church.

Following a catered luncheon, the afternoon service entitled “Thanks for the Memories” included stories about weddings, gatherings and humorous incidents.