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History of England Grove Baptist Church
(Formerly Century Baptist & Sonora Baptist Churches)
Graciously Transcribed and Submitted by Twila Scroggins

Century Baptist Church was organized in the year of 1903 by Reverend H. T. Money, who was at that time, Hunt County Missionary.

Charter Members:

 
J. F. Adams
Mrs. J. F. Adams
W. F. Apperson
Mrs. W. F. Apperson
H. L. Battle
Mrs. H. L. Battle
C. L. Jones
Mrs. B. F. King
M. C. Patrick
D. Speaks
George Thomas
W. C. Thurman
Mrs. W. C. Thurman
J. A. Thurman
Mrs. J. A. Thurman
C. L. Thurman
Mrs. Cl. L. Thurman
Mrs. J. C. Woodard
 
 

Pastors:

1903 – 1906 Rev. A. P. Berry First pastor of Century Baptist Church
1906 – 1907 Rev. J. A. Carraway
1907 – 1908 Rev. Richardson
1908 – 1910 Rev. Dunn
1910 – 1912 Rev. J. A. Dismuke

In the year of 1913, it was decided to consolidate the Century Baptist Church and the old Sonora Baptist Church.  It was given the name of England Grove Baptist Church.  England Grove Baptist Church was named in honor of Robert Lee England and wife, Jessie Arvella Hanes England, who donated the ground for the building site.  The first meeting was held in the midst of Bro. R. L. England’s pecan tree grove, a corner of which he had donated for the building of the church and tabernacle.

1913 – 1916 Bro. J. A. Dismuke First pastor of England Grove Baptist Church
1916 – 1917 Bro. Howell
1917 – 1922 Bro. W. J. Humphreys
1922 – 1923  Bro. J. C. Purser
1923 – 1925 Bro. M. G. Nelson
1925 – 1926 Bro. Cliff Alexander
1926 – 1928 Bro. W. J. Humphreys
1928 – 1929 (no pastor)
1929 – 1932 Bro. Joe Lassiter
1932 – 1933 Bro. B. D. Rollin
1933 – 1934 Bro. T. M. McClain
1934 – 1936 Bro. W. J. Humphreys
1936 – 1937 Bro. B. D. Rollin
1937 – 1938 Bro. Pearson
1939 – 1941 Bro. B. D. Rollin
1941 – 1943 Bro. D. L. Payne
1944 – 1945 Bro. Floyd Cates
1946 – 1949 Bro. Paul Leber
1950 – 1954 Bro. Gideon B. Bush
1955 – 1956 Bro. Gene Edwards
1957 – 1958 Bro. N. D. Vandergriff
1959 – 1980 Bro. Charles M. Simmons

 Bro. Hollis Preas
 - 1999 Bro. Ben C. Smith
2000 -  Bro. Ray Crumpton
 

History of England Grove Baptist Church

England Grove Baptist Church was organized in the summer of 1913 as a result of two small congregations, totaling 54 people, totaling together.  The Sonora church, located at Sonora cemetery near Fairlie, disbanded with the majority of the members joining the Fairlie church but a few joined the congregation which was meeting in the Century School building.  In the summer of 1912 the two groups decided to hold a joint revival in a central location.  Mr. R. L. “Bob” England offered a site for the revival in his pasture, three and one-half miles north of Commerce and a brush arbor was built in a grove of trees near the location of the present church.

The revival of 1912 was conducted by Bro. W. W. Simmons, County Missionary, and Bro. A. J. Dismuke, Pastor of Century Church.  It was so successful the group agreed to hold another revival at the same place in 1913.  The brush arbor was reworked and the 1913 revival was extended to three weeks, due to the many conversions and the wonderful spirit that existed there.  During the revival the two congregations decided they should consolidate and form a new church.  Mr. and Mrs. England offered to give an acre of land near the grove of trees where the two revivals were held, as a site for the church building; the offer was accepted, a Building Committee was elected and plans were drawn for the church.  The Committee went to work immediately and the building was erected that fall at a total cost of $1,000.  Mr. John Braddy, a carpenter who lived in the community at the time, donated his time and knowledge and the men of the community did the construction on the church.  Bro. A. J. Dismuke was called as the first pastor and Bro. H. T. Money of Greenville preached the dedication sermon in January 1914.

In 1917, Bro. W. J. Humphrey conducted a revival at England Grove and later that Fall he was called as pastor on a half-time basis, meaning that every other Sunday, or twice a month, the pastor came to the church and preached.  The other two Sundays only Sunday School was held.  The 1917 revival produced 65 candidates for baptism and several members by letters.  Because the church was growing so fast, Bro. Humphrey asked the members to build a permanent tabernacle for use in summer revivals.  The members agreed and by simple subscription, the money was made available.  Mr. Braddy had moved from the community but another carpenter, Mr. Joe Hopkins, had relocated to the community.  Mr. Hopkins donated his services and he and the men of the community built the tabernacle.  Many soul-stirring revivals were held under that tabernacle and many were added to the church until a membership of about 250 was achieved.

In the late 1920’s and early 1930’s, the church lost membership and attendance during the Depression.  In the late 1930’s the Government began assisting farm families in buying homes and land.  The Miller farm was bought by the Government and divided into several farms and sold to a group of families who joined England Grove Baptist Church and furnished the incentive to re-activate the regular services of Sunday School and Church.  In 1941, Bro. D. L. Payne, a student at East Texas State Teachers College (now Texas A&M University-Commerce) and student preacher, came to the Church as pastor and led the congregation in a wonderful revival of worship and dedication.  Since that time the church has gone from a fourth to full time service.  Bro. Payne pastured the church until 1945, followed by Bro. Floyd Cates, Bro. Paul Leber, Bro. Gideon Bush, Bro. Gene Edwards, Bro. N. D. Vandergriff.

In 1959, Bro. Charles Simmons came to pastor the church.  In 1965, the congregation entered a building program and erected a new brick building to replace the old building that had been in use since 1913.  The new building was dedicated October 17, 1965.  Sunday, November 22, 1970 was a tragic day for the church because in the early morning hours, the new building was completely destroyed by fire.  Undaunted, the members gathered at the community center and services were conducted here until a new building was erected in the same spot as the other.  The building was dedicated August 1, 1971.

A recreation building was erected in 1977 and dedicated September 25, 1977.  A sound system, which was donated by a young couple in the church, was installed and an organ was purchased that year.  A baptistery was added in 1979.

The current pastor of England Grove Baptist Church is Bro. Ray Crumpton.  England Grove is a church that continues to rejoice in the knowledge that service to the Lord will continue in this place, fulfilling the dreams of that handful of dedicated Christians who began the work in that brush arbor 87 years ago.
 
 

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