Highlights and History
1913 – 1938
Our charter members withdrew from the majority of Chana Creek Church. This action was due to a difference of opinion that began in 1908 at Bethlehem Church of Macon County, Alabama. They believed the disorder practiced by upholding some of the differences of Bethlehem Church was disruptive to the peace of the body and saints.
At a meeting on August 2, 1913, our nine charter members:
- Brother Bluford Hornsby
- Sister Annis Morris Hornsby
- Brother M.M. Hornsby
- Sister Sallie Weldon Hornsby
- Brother W.C. Hanson
- Sister Kate Hendrix
- Brother R.B. Smith
- Brother C.W. Farrow
met at Providence Schoolhouse for the purpose of organizing our church. Providence Schoolhouse was located at the present location of our church. Elder R.B. Smith was elected moderator and Dr. W.C. Hanson was elected as clerk pro tem. Elder Smith was called as the first Pastor and served the church for four years. At the church’s next meeting, Brother C.W. Farrow was elected as Church Clerk. He served in this capacity until 1925. Brother J.B. Smith was appointed as Assistant Clerk during a five-year period from June 1925 until August 1930. Brother Farrow resumed his duties as Clerk again at this time.
Deacons B.J. Hornsby and M.M. Hornsby purchased one acre of land and deeded it to the church in March 1916. The congregation continued to meet in Providence Schoolhouse, as they had from the church’s organization three years earlier, until the first church building was erected on the property. That acre of land is now part of our church cemetery.
Until March 1919, the church was called Chana Creek Church. In conference, Brother B.J. Hornsby stated he felt that by the providence of God, the church had been blessed to build the new church building. He moved that the name be changed from Chana Creek Church to Providence Primitive Baptist Church. The motion carried, and the name was changed to Providence. In the same conference a major change occurred with a vote to have services twice a month. This was an indication of significant church growth.
In September 1920, Providence Church petitioned for membership in the Fellowship Association. It was reported in the October conference that the church was joyfully received. Providence’s membership in the Fellowship Association continued until 2002.
Elder S.S. Crumpton was called as Pastor in September 1921. He served the church for one year. Elder Crumpton was the father of Elder T.L. Crumpton, who later served as Pastor for twenty-two years.
In October 1922, Elder W.W. Riner was called as Pastor of Providence Church. He served for fourteen years.
A baptismal pool was built about a fourth of a mile from the church on Mallie Teel property in 1923. Until that time. the church records reflect that, “the church will meet at the water for the purpose of administering the ordinance of baptism.”
The church building was wired for lights in March 1925. The two acres of land (the site of our church building today) was purchased by the deacons and presented to the church by Brother R.A. Still in September 1926. A committee of five was appointed to decide whether to move the church building or build a new one on the new property. The old church building was moved, and the first services were held on the new property in July 1927.
The church records do not name the original deacons after the founding of the church, but the records of January 1932 state that Brother Lee Hornsby and Brother Orien Hornsby were ordained as deacons.
In September 1935. the church called Elder W.H. Waters as pastor. He served the church for five years. Sister Effie Bridgeman was elected as Church Clerk in March 1937. She served the church for twelve years before resigning due to bad health.
At the close of the first twenty-five years of our church history, the total membership reported to the Fellowship Association in an August 1938 letter was seventy-six.
1938 – 1962
Providence Church experienced years of continued growth and change from 1938 to 1962. By the grace of God and the faith and devotion of many dedicated members, the church family grew in number, a new church building was erected, and further additions were made as time passed. During this twenty-five year period, our church membership grew by one hundred two members. Some years no new members, or as few as one, were added to the church roll. Other years, the Lord saw fit to add to our membership in larger numbers. Twenty-eight people united with the church in 1953.
Providence Church was blessed to have four pastors to serve during this time. Elders W. Henry Waters, A.W. Corley, R.H. Jennings, and T.L Crumpton were all faithful and able men of God.
After a storm damaged the building in 1943, plans were made to build a brick church building. Brothers Lee Hornsby, Jesse Bridgeman, and Marvin Dunn served as the “Building Committee.” During the time of construction, Bethlehem East Baptist Church in the Kent Community graciously allowed our membership to worship in their church. On October 11, 1943, the demolition of the old church building began, and the first service in our new house of worship was held on May 13, 1944. This was a special service of thanksgiving for the beautiful new church the Lord had blessed our brethren to build. The new pews were purchased in 1948, and carpet was added in the sanctuary in 1951. Central heating and air conditioning was installed in 1960.
The church marked another milestone on April 9, 1949, with the organization of the first Bible Study. Those serving as officers and teachers that first year were:
- Superintendent: C.R. Atkins
- Secretary-Treasurer: Aubrey Melton
- Adult Teacher: Leonard Emfinger
- Intermediate Teacher: Ethel Reeves
- Junior Teacher: Ethel Melton
- Primary Teacher: Jo Gaither
From 1949 until 1954, the Bible Study classes met in the sanctuary and the two rooms on either side of the baptistry that now serve as hallways. The Bible Study classrooms on the first floor were completed and ready for use in 1954. Seven years later, the Nursery Class was added with Sister Jimmie Abrams as the teacher.
A special conference was held on December 30, 1951, to ordain Brother C.R. Atkins to the full work of the ministry. He remained at Providence until he accepted the pastoral call of the Shiloh Church in Georgia in 1958. In 1957, Brother Atkins presented a gift of a sterling silver pitcher from Mr. Robert Thompson, a local jeweler, to the church. This pitcher continues to be used for communion services.
Providence Church sponsored a thirty-minute radio broadcast each Sunday morning on a Tallassee radio station from April 1954 until 1956.
During the 1950’s, the worship schedule changed several times. In 1958, Brother Brewer Ledbetter made a motion in conference to have three Sunday services a month instead of two. This passed unanimously. An organ was purchased for worship services in 1958.
Plans for our 50th Anniversary were underway on September 9, 1962, with the service to be held on the Sunday nearest the “August 13, 1963” date. The “50th Anniversary Committee” members were
Sisters Nell Hornsby, Jimmie Abrams, Henrietta Bridgeman, and Duane Harris.
During this period of time, financial support was given to the Primitive Baptist Foundation, Birdwood College, and the Bethany Nursing Home. Also of note, Providence Church held an annual “singing day” for many years.
Those serving diligently as deacons during this time include Brothers M.M. Hornsby, J.G Bridgeman, O.E. Hornsby, Alton Hornsby, Marvin Dunn, Aubrey Melton, C.R. Atkins, Dewey Harris, Ernest Reeves, Luther Hornsby, Norman Hornsby, and Clyde Atkins. We are grateful for the dedication and faithfulness of Sister Effie Bridgeman, Brother Harry Naile, Sister Ethel Melton, and Sister Duane Harris, who served as Church Clerks.