Oak Grove Baptist retires half-million debt

Published 12:12 pm Saturday, November 10, 2018

by Merle Monahan/Contributing Writer

Last month, members of Oak Grove Baptist Church on Rocky Hock Road in Wakefield, celebrated a very special event — the church’s 118th anniversary. But what makes this birthday so special is the fact that as of this date, this spacious, modern brick structure, with a sanctuary that seats more than 300 people is completely debt-free.

“We’ve worked hard to get here,” said church pastor, the Rev. Leslie Holloway, as he, Deacon Tony Johnson and Deacon Marshall King, burned the mortgage totaling more than a half million dollars.

“God has blessed us.”

Oak Grove was organized in September 1900 as a Sunday School with a few members at the home of  Levi Hargrave. Shortly after, the meetings were moved to Truereformer’s Hall on Route 604 where the Rev. Bowe of Petersburg became the church pastor.

As years passed, attendance continued to grow and, despite numerous renovations to the building, talk of a new larger building was taking place. The church had already purchased more land on Route 617, and in 2003-04, the current church was built.

“I became pastor at Oak Grove in 1999,” said Holloway. “Although church members had always been generous in raising money for things the church needed, they realized they’d need a building fund to build a new church. That’s when we started our Phase Program, where our very first phase raised more than $10,000.”

Under the pastor’s guidance, the church has prospered. He has converted and baptized more members than anyone since the church’s beginning.

The service, which lasted from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., began with a message from Pastor Willie Dixon of Mars Hill A.M.E. Zion Church. Several musical selections by the Mars Hill choir were offered during day, while the note-burning took place at the conclusion of the service

Following the celebration, dinner was served by members of Oak Grove in its dining hall.