Condensed History of Jones Chapel Baptist Church
Condensed from the history of the church as written by the late A. E. Ownby, Carol Ownby, and Grace Martin.
Jones Chapel Baptist Church was formerly known as Hatcher Baptist Church. At a service in May 1912, Hatcher Baptist Church was reorganized with those who had secured their church letters. Hatcher Baptist Church belonged to the James River Association as early as July 30, 1912. During the early 1930s, Hatcher Baptist Church, the Methodists and Presbyterians worshipped together, alternating preachers. Then, during the Depression, many families from North Carolina and Tennessee moved into the area, needing a church home. This called for more regular services and Hatcher Baptist Church decided to hold Sunday School and preaching each Sunday as a Southern Baptist Church.
As the church continued to grow, more space was needed and the church voted to begin a building fund to build a new church. The Trustees were instructed to buy the land adjacent to the cemetery on which the new church would be built.
In March 1942 the church voted to rename the new church. Jones Chapel Baptist Church was chosen by unanimous vote, and the name was probably chosen in honor of P. R. Jones, oldest deacon and a member from August 1915 until his death in July 1961.
In 1942 during World War II, most of the young men of the church and community were called or volunteered for military service. A service flag was sewn by the ladies of the church and placed on the front wall of the church with a star to represent each member in the Armed Services. There was a deep concern for the servicemen by the Church. Prayers were lifted and each person represented by a star on the flag, returned from the war. (The flag is currently displayed on the wall as you go down the steps into the basement of the church.)
In 1944, the Building Committee was given authority to begin work on the new church and in 1945 the well was dug at a cost of $160. Construction began in 1947 and a resolution was passed to rock veneer the new church, 60×40 feet. At the groundbreaking service, the message from Edd Watson taken from Nehemiah 4:5 was, “The People Had a Mind to Work.”
From the time the church voted to start a building fund until the congregation moved into the new church was a period of about 9 years. During these years, the members gave a lot of money, time and labor such as cutting, hauling and sawing the timber for much of the framing; hauling stones from Cumberland and Buckingham Counties; and hauling sand for the cement foundation and basement floor from a nearby creek in Cumberland State Forest and Willis River near CaIra Mill. The corner stones and the two mill wheels in front of the building were brought in from Tennessee.
In 1950, electric power was turned off at the old church building and the first service was held in the new building. On July 2, 1950, 24 people were baptized and 11 were added by letter. In 1951, a service was held in dedication of the new building. The church was built on a pay-as-you go plan and was completed without any debt.
In 1951, the church voted to buy a house and 3 acres of land for a parsonage and the inside of the church was renovated to raise the floor and install a new ceiling. In 1964 the church voted to rock- finish the back of the church. Stairways behind the baptistery leading to the basement were removed and stairs were constructed to the front left side of the building, and bathrooms were also added.
In 1965, the parsonage was sold and a new parsonage was built beside the church. A small parcel of land was accepted from Ernest Lipscomb in exchange for another small parcel of land on which to
The 1960s and 1970s was a time of steady growth. Deacons were ordained, a church constitution was approved, a Cemetery Committee was elected, a young adult choir was organized and mission projects and other ministries continued.
Here is an excerpt from history written by A. E. Ownby:
“………The church building has been called beautiful, a work of art, but it is and was, to those with the vision to build and carry it through, more like an expression of Thanksgiving to Our Lord and Savior for His gift of eternal life and love to us. And, as a picture to the community of the place our Savior should have in all our lives, a place for future generations to worship and serve the Lord.”
Supplement by Carol Ownby, 1987:
During the 1980s, several people were added to the Deacon Board and various building projects were completed, including carpeting and sidewalks. The Church celebrated its 75th anniversary on September 13, 1987. Carol wrote, “This is a day of praise and thanksgiving to God who has given us and past generations the privilege of serving Him. Also, it is a time to be with our families and friends and renew old friendships with fellow believers.”
Supplements added in 2007 and 2012 by Grace Martin:
From 1987 to 2007, the Church participated in many mission projects, including the World Mission Conference. In 1989 a fiberglass steeple replaced the steeple which was damaged during a storm, drop ceilings were installed in the downstairs classrooms, and a new ceiling was installed in the sanctuary.
In September 2005, Jim Lamb was called for the second time to Pastor the church and in 2006, a handicap ramp was built, new vinyl flooring was purchased for the downstairs and a cemetery sign was installed. In 2007 the upper parking lot was paved and in 2009 the kitchen was renovated with new cabinets, new appliances and new flooring. In 2010 our lower parking lot was paved and in 2011, the nursery was remodeled and our new sound booth was built and dedicated. Church members have participated in many mission projects led by the Adults on Mission, including distribution of food to those in need throughout our community and surrounding area, out of our new food storage building which was erected in 2009. Also, in 2009 five ladies went on a mission trip to Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota. Some have gone each year since, including this
In May 2010, the first idea for the fellowship hall started with a recommendation for a pavilion as we needed extra space for larger events and our church fellowships. After many meetings, discussion and much prayer seeking God’s will, the idea of a pavilion evolved into a fellowship hall. The Church voted to construct a fellowship hall (40 x 48 with a connector to the existing building) and on May 15, 2011, a Groundbreaking Service for the new Fellowship Hall was held. In August 2011, construction began and work continued through July 2012. In February the Church voted to hold a Dedication service on August 5, 2012. “To God Be the Glory.”