Sunday, January 03, 2010

High Rock Baptist Church (Caswell County, North Carolina)

High Rock Baptist Church History

"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock." Matthew 7:24-25.

For years, this church has stood as a sentinel pointing men and women, boys and girls to the Heavenly way. In the midst of world turmoil, in the face of strife and war and when world ideas are crumbling, this church has ever held high the banner of Christ who said, "Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16:18). One hundred years ago, God created a desire for spiritual worship and brotherly fellowship in the fore parents of the High Rock Baptist Church. The original worship assembly/church was known as the "Old Field Church" and is believed to have been located on the north end of what is presently the Stephentown Road. Then, just as today, the time came when the worshippers realized the need for improvements; although not forgetting nor failing to thank God for His blessings thus far. These improvements were made in the form of the relocation and building of another church on a tract of land on the Stephens’ property. Accounts by the late Sister Lula Stephens Allen indicated that a site on this property was donated for use as a church site by her late grandfather, Mr. Harrison Stephens, Sr. Since county tax records do not show/record said property as being deeded to High Rock Baptist Church, it is concluded that the site was retained in ownership by the original owner. The site, which borders on the northeast side of what is now the John Miles property, led to the present name for our church.

The "Old Field Church" worshipers changed the name to "High Rock" because the new church was located on a "high" hill beside a big "rock."The first Pastor was the late Rev. Covell Dixion and the first secretary was the late Sis. Mae Jane Hogwood. The second pastor was the late Rev. Fountain Love, with the late Sis. Emma Stephens serving as secretary.On May 1, 1912, the late Preston Stephens, John Long, Joe Brown, and John Poteat, trustees of the High Rock Baptist Church purchased the land at the present location. Nine and thirty-six hundredth (9 36/100) acres were purchased from Julius Johnson (known as the Hudgins or Hughes place) for the sum of one hundred dollars. ($100.00) This property adjoins the land of Mrs. W. W. Blackwell and Mrs. Sallie Lea – "For the colored Black race and their successors."

The first pastor of the new church was the late Rev. Beard and the secretary was Mrs. Mae Jane Hogwood., Other ministers included the Rev. Oscar Springfield, Rev. M. Jeffries, Rev. Wade, Rev. Pender Love, Rev. George Love, Rev. John Love, and Rev. William Long. In the late 1940’s, the church was rebuilt. The sanctuary we use today is based on the "bones" of that church. When the church went to rebuild, due to the circumstances of the time, they were unable to secure a loan. Deacon James "Jim" E. Johnson, (father of our current Deacon Calvin Johnson) went to a local businessman and secured a loan at 3% interest. This was all done on a handshake and Deacon Johnson’s word of honor. Deacon Calvin Johnson recalls going with his father monthly to carry the payment as the church paid off the loan for their new building.

The presiding pastors of the High Rock Baptist Church have been Rev. Beard, Rev. Fountain Love, Rev. Coach, Rev. Currie, Rev. W. Wiley, Rev. Warren., Rev. Harvey Gwynn, Rev. L.A. Brooks, and Rev. Robert S. Broadnax. Our current pastor, Rev. Henry C. Long, has served since 2005. Secretaries, in addition to Mrs. Mae J. Hogwood and Mrs. Emma Stephens, were Mr. Dwight Stephens, Mrs. Eunice Swann, Mrs. Estella Lea and Mrs. Sarah Lea, who has served since July 1982.Mothers of the church were the late Mrs. Ella Long, Mrs. D. Bigelow, Mrs. M. Stanfield, Mrs. Estella Lea, Mrs. Ada Love, and Mrs. Catherine Poteat. Mrs. Matilda Taylor, Mrs. Ella Crutchfield, and Mrs. Warneda Long currently serve in this role.

Throughout the years, High Rock’s organizations and auxiliaries have expanded greatly. In 1989, when this history was originally compiled, there were five auxiliaries. Today, we have fourteen. The most recent additions include: The Deaconess Board (added in 1995); Youth on the Move (1996) and The Calvary Climbers (1997), youth missionary groups under the guidance of the Missionary Circle; the Willing Workers of High Rock Baptist Church (formerly, the Sick Committee) (1999); and the Praise Team (2001). High Rock’s facilities have also changed throughout the years. More recent changes took place from 1984 through 1986 when a major addition was completed. This addition consisted of the front pews, the pulpit, choir stand, baptismal pool, side halls, pastor’s study, office, choir room, and rest rooms. In 1991, the vestibule was added to the front hall and in 2000; this area was renovated to include additional restrooms. Another addition was the renovation and expansion of the fellowship hall that took place in 2000. The renovated vestibule and fellowship hall were dedicated in December of 2000.

Under the direction of God, the leadership of Rev. Robert S. Broadnax, and the assistance of the late Mr. Isaac Long, we were able to purchase the Highrock School Building to form the High Rock Community Outreach Center. This group was organized to fully utilize this building for the High Rock and Caswell County communities for the uplifting of all. Today, the High Rock Baptist Church boasts a membership of approximately 200 members and 14 auxiliaries. Persecution has not crushed the church. Power has not beaten the church. Time has not abated the church’s force. The abuses and treason of enemies have not shaken the church’s stability, for the church is founded on a rock. May this church stand in years to come as it has stood these 100 years, a living monument to a Savior who died that all men might live.

This history was originally compiled in 1989 by Sis. Bobby J. Taylor and Sis. Monnie Glass for a Unity Book sponsored by the Usher Board. Sis. Sarah Lea has added to and expanded this history over the past fourteen years. Deacon Calvin Johnson also added to the information. We give many thanks to them for their hard work and research.


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