ZOAR Baptist Church was organized on 29 June 1902. A group of 32 members, most of whom had been members of LIBERTY Baptist Church and who had been granted letters of dismissions, met at Lent in Caroline County, on that date. Previous to that date, a chapel had been built near Lent, largely through the efforts of Mr. S.B. HEARN, a member of LIBERTY. He had contributed liberally and had given the ground on which the building was erected. A flourishing Sunday School had been conducted in that vicinity for several years.
The preamble and resolutions stated as the reason for the new organization that the members lived "at too great distance from the churches to which we belonged, to attend with our families the stated worship and Sunday School to be efficient, and believing we can be more efficient as church members and do more for the advancement of the cause of our Divine Master by laboring nearer our homes."
"Whereas, we have erected a neat and comfortable chapel in our midst suitable for the public worship of God, therefore be it resolved that we organize a regular Baptist Church to be known as ZOAR, and covenant together as follows:.....". The 30 odd names follow but records are incomplete and important omissions occur.
Rev. Ray STAPLES of Richmond College was the state supply pastor for several months in the fall of 1902. Later ZOAR became a part of the field composed of BETHEL, BETHESDA, and LIBERTY churches; and James LONG became the pastor of the field and lived in Bowling Green. He remained for a little over 2 years, resigning in June of 1906.
A Sunday School was conducted for about 9 months of the year, generally closing for the winter months. Mr. S.B. HEARN was the superintendent for many years.
The church sent delegates to the Hermon Association for the first 30 years and was also generally represented at the Sunday School convention. During the 75 Million Campaign in 1919, the church subscribed and paid a good part of its five-year subscription.
In 1921, the church invited the Hermon Association to meet with them but the invitation was declined on the belief the undertaking would be too much of a burden for so small a membership.
Following are supply and regular pastors of the church:
Rev. Ray STAPLES - a few months in 1902
Rev. James LONG - Jan. 1904- June 1906
Rev. J. T. EUBANK - April 1907-1913
Rev. R.E. VELLINES - April 1914 - March 1915
Rev. R. P. RIXEY - August 1915
Rev. C.W. STARK - a few months in 1915
Rev. S.B. OVERTON - 1916-1918
Rev. Dr. L. M. RITTER - April 1920 - December 1923
At various intervals during the next 10 years, the pulpit was supplied by Rev. Hunter H. NEWMAN, Rev. Amos CLARY and others. No record appears after 7 Oct. 1934.
Only 16 members could be found in May of 1941 when an effort was made to have a called meeting. Great changes had taken place in the community during the years. Through the efforts of Mrs. C.A. CHRISTIE, Sr., a meeting was held on 21 May 1941 for the purpose of electing additional trustees to dispose of the church property which was to be acquired by the government for Camp A. P. Hill.
Though small in size, ZOAR influenced the community and played its parts in establishing the Baptist faith in Caroline County.
(I wish to extend my thanks to Andrew S. Bullock and Linda Butts for sharing this information.)