History of England Grove
(Formerly Century Baptist & Sonora Baptist Churches)
Graciously Transcribed and Submitted by Twila
Century Baptist Church was organized in the year of 1903 by Reverend
H. T. Money, who was at that time, Hunt County Missionary.
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
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
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. Englands 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
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
History of England Grove Baptist Church
- 1999 Bro. Ben C. Smith
2000 - Bro. Ray Crumpton
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
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 1920s and early 1930s, the church lost membership and
attendance during the Depression. In the late 1930s 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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