Blue Ridge Chapel Baptist Church History
When families join Blue Ridge Chapel Baptist Church, they become part of a legacy of faith, family and community that has lasted for over one hundred and thirty years.
Founding and First Building
Reverend W.F. Brannock first organized services in 1890. The first services were held monthly in the old Pine Grove School house. That changed when William and Amanda Amburn deeded enough land to the young congregation to build a church. Members, along with friends and neighbors of the community, constructed a one-room building with lumber from nearby sawmills.
The church continued to thrive requiring renovations to the original church building. In 1952, three Sunday school rooms were added. Shortly after, dirt was removed from under the original structure to add a basement. In the early 1960s, the steeple was constructed. In 1966, restrooms were added. The basement was enlarged and the vestibule and porch built in 1972. In 1984 and 1985, a fellowship hall and baptistry were added and the sanctuary remodeled.
Reverend J.W. Nester followed Reverend Brannock as pastor, but no records exist as to the number of years that the two men served. Reverend Curtis Leftwich pastored from 1932 to 1934 followed by Reverend A.M. Felts from 1935 to 1937. In 1939, Reverend O.E. Ward from Lambsburg, VA was called to pastor the church and served until October 1962. Under Ward, the Women ‘s Missionary Society was formed in 1940. Also under his leadership, Vacation Bible School became an annual event and the YWA’s, later called Acteens, formed in the 1950’s.
In 1952, Otto Sumner and family joined the church. He served as Sunday School Teacher, Brotherhood President and Deacon. He answered the call to preach and was licensed in 1958. He was ordained in 1960 by Reverend Ward, Reverend Brady Snow, Reverend Claxton Hall, Reverend L.D. Ussery and Reverend Bob Cassell. Sumner was elected paster upon Ward’s resignation in 1962. Services were held every other Sunday so that Reverend Sumner could also fill the pulpit at Oak Grove Church. He resigned from Oak Grove on November 15, 1964 to become the full time pastor at Blue Ridge Chapel. He served until his death on June 21, 1990. During his long battle with heart disease and cancer, Reverend Clay Hamm served in his absence as interim pastor.
The search committee recommended Reverend Jimmie Marion to serve as the pastor in May 1991. Reverend Marion served the church until February 2000. The congregation again called on Reverend Hamm, who, even though his health was declining, helped the church “stick together.”
Reverend David Moore was called to pastor in 2001. In 2002, the congregation faced a difficult decision. Extensive termite damage was undermining the integrity of the church building. Reverend Moore pulled double duty by acting as the contractor for the construction of a new building and leading services at nearby Oakland Elementary School. The current church building was completed in 2004. Reverend Moore continued to lead the church until January 31, 2016. Tony Lewis pastored from July 31, 2016 to September 13, 2017.
Current Pastor Mark Mayes served as interim minister until called to full time service on November 1, 2018. He provided spirit-led and devoted leadership with a renewed emphasis on Christian education, community involvement and evangelism until November 1, 2022.
Currently, a search is underway for a new pastor.
For questions about our Church History – contact Roger Amburn 276-236-8648