Unity Baptist Church
Taken from The First Two Hundred Years of Pendleton County
Compiled by Mildred Bowen Belew
Picture courtesy of Millie Belew
Transcribed with permission by Bonnie Snow, thanks Millie!
Unity Baptist Church was organized in the spring of 1817 by Rev. Christian Tomlin. It was located on Haws Lick Branch, a tributary of the Middle Fork of Grassy Creek. The first building was made of hewed logs. A new church was later built beside the graveyard on the main Middle Fork of Grassy Creek. William Hawkins gave the land for the second building. Thus the name of Hawkins Hole used for baptizing yet today in the creek. The church continued there until 1889/1900, when it was moved up on the ridge on Unity Road, on the Jag as it was called. William H. McMillian, son of Robert McMillian, Sr., one of Pendleton County's early settlers, gave the land for the third building and that house still stands today.
The second church building was of hewed logs also. These logs were moved from down the creek to the third building. In 1914 the log building was torn down and a frame building erected by O. Thomas McMillian, Lafe Hutsel and Richard W. (Dee) Bowen, who donated their work. John W. McMillian hauled the lumber by horse and wagon from Crittenden and donated the hauling. This building was used until the 1950's, when its members disbanded and went to near by churches. From then until about 1973 it was used off and on, then closed until October 14, 1981, when it was reorganized by a group of 77 people from Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church met in search of a new church home to worship. Men and women spent a busy week getting it cleaned and repaired enough to hold services the next Sunday, October 18. The church was very run down, having been closed for eight years. The windows were boarded up, the ceiling falling down, the basement wall had collapsed and no electric or water.
The first Sunday 121 people gathered for the first service. There were four former members who welcomed and accepted the new members into the church. Seventy five people moved their membership from Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church. For the first night service they had to meet at 5:00 P.M. in the afternoon, before dark, as there was no electric for lights. They hired their former pastor Rev. Michael Jones, to preach until they called him as their pastor at their first business meeting.
As the weeks passed many things were done to improve the church building, which included making a new and larger parking lot. A parcel of land was donated for a parsonage near by. In December a modular home was purchased for the parsonage. Also an edifice was added to the church building.
In April 1984 it was voted to build a new church next to the old church building. After much hard work and waiting, the new sanctuary was dedicated August 10, 1986. Rev. Ronald Chastine delivered the dedication message to an audience of 245.
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