Walkerville Baptist Church History (Homecoming – September 2021)

Just after the turn of the century, in 1903, a missionary by the name of Reverend M.O. Carpenter came to Blackshear to continue his missionary work in the Piedmont Association. Through the efforts of local Christian men and women in the area, Walkerville Baptist Church was formed. The congregants met at different locations to worship God, with one location being the old Walkerville School that once sat just down the road from today’s church current location. The minutes’ following one such meeting records the birth of a new church. “After preaching by Reverend Carpenter at 11:00 a.m., the congregation met in a called conference at the Walkerville school house. The minutes’ relative to the organization of the church were passed and the brethren moved into the calling of a pastor for another church year. On the recommendation of missionary M.O. Carpenter, Pastor C.J. Purcell, formerly of Beula Baptist, was called as first pastor of Walkerville Baptist Church. This was unanimously decision. The congregation pledged to give fifty dollars to his support and the duties he would soon undertake. The Piedmont Baptist Association in attendance that day also pledged fifty dollars in support of the new pastor. All totaled one hundred dollars was given to the newly formed congregation and pastor. The brethren had no further business and conference was adjourned, signed M.O. Carpenter, moderator, and Eric Kelly, clerk.

In August of 1905, Walkerville Baptist Church was chartered. Members included. W.M Aspinwall, Alford Hodges, Wade Bazell, J. M. Maxey, Eric Kelly, John Durrence, W.M. Cason, Cleveland Boyette, E.C.Groover, Benjamin Rentz, Asa Flowers, and the following women. Mrs. Allen Aspinwall, Mamie Hodges, Donna Bazell, Byrtha Boyd, Amy Strickland, Annie Woodland, Sally Woodland, Mattie Groover, and Margie Hodges.
After holding services in the Walkerville Schoolhouse for almost five years, the members decided to settle down in a permeant location and construct a church building. On July 31, 1909, the building committee reported that Mrs. Susan Nobles would give two acres of land to the churches formation. The congregation voted to begin building immediately and in April of 1910 the new church building was ready for service. A new pastor would be called to serve in the newly built church on the recommendation of current and first pastor C.J. Purcell. C. J. Bryant was called by congregants to serve as the second pastor of Walkerville Baptist Church. Born in Putnam Co. on August 16, 1856, Bryant would later move with his family to a farm in Walkerville around 1900. Before being called to serve at recently formed and newly built church in 1910, It was said about the Rev. Bryant by Rev. Purcell, that there was never a worthier man to fill the pulpit. He was a man filled with the Holy Spirit and knowledge of Gods Word, as well the denominations founding history and constitutional law.

After more than 40 years in that building it became necessary to build another. If was decided that it was necessary to tear down the old building and erect a new one on the same site. In the fall of 1956 work began on the new building. The building committee included C.M. Bryant, O.V. Henderson, Herbert Callahan and Carl Hodges. John Kirkland of Blackshear game the limber to build the pews. In January 1957 the first worship services were held in the new building which now faced South when viewed from the front. The longtime dream of Sunday school rooms became a reality in October 1964. They church was growing and more remodeling of the interior took place with the addition of a choir loft in February 1973. Immediately after, in 1974, the social hall was built and in 1985, land was designated on the grounds for a cemetery.

In the fall of 2002, church members voted to remodel the interior of the existing sanctuary, adding a baptismal pool, foyer area, and a new Sunday school wing. Work began in December of 2002 and on May 18, 2003, the church held a dedication service to commit the remodeled sanctuary and the new Sunday school wind to the service of God. A steeple was erected by the Hamilton Family in memory of Mrs. Jaynell Davis Hamilton and Mr. Lenwood Eric Hamilton Jr. The building committee consisted of Jesse Crawford, Randy Crawford, Connie Moore, Kyle Moore, and Oran Dixon.
In 2010 the members of Walkerville voted to build an education wing due to the need for space. Through the blessings of God and help from community member and other local churches the wing was finished in record time with no cost other than supplies. The building committee consisted of Jessie Crawford, Arlon Hiers, Larry Thornton, and Randall Courson.

In August of 2011 the members of Walkerville Baptist felt the need of more space and the sanctuary was expanded for growth. The members voted to enlarge the sanctuary by taking out the baptistry and back hall to extend the sanctuary further back into that space. They also voted to create more restroom space. The building committee consisted of Kelly Crawford, Austin Moore, Kevin Moore, Heather Chancey, Cindy Crawford, Barney Crosby, and James Raulerson.

In 2017 the church went to two Sunday morning services and added overflow rooms in the social hall and multi-purpose room to accommodate the growth of the congregation.

The congregation voted in 2019 to begin construction of a new sanctuary and offices which added 7500 square foot. This construction took place during a time that Covid was wide spread and we actually had to close the doors and have outdoor services for a period of time. In September 2020 we held our first service as we began our Fall Revival.

June of 2022 we made two offices in the old sanctuary and closed in the previous choir loft and pulpit area to make a large Sunday School room. The remaining part of the old sanctuary is used for a class and social hall overflow. A door was added out the back of the church so that people who park out back will have an entrance too.

The oldest active member of Walkerville is currently Bro. Jesse Crawford who united in 1969 and is currently 90 years old.

The reverend C.J. Purcell served as the first pastor of Walkerville Baptist Church and through the years many others have served in this capacity 27 in all. These include C.J. Bryant, J.C. Meeks, Warren Durrence, W.A. Davis, J.A. Kimmons, J.R. Bowen, E.L. Littles, Dalton Littles, C.P. Watson, W.C. Rice, J.C. Sheppard, L.K. Bowen, Ernest Dyals, Claude Goble, Floyd Chancey, Luther Peacock, Riley Gill, M. L. Ricks, Jack Wright, Frank Cason, George Wells, J.C. Farmer, Jack Sinclair, Marty Anderson, Wayne Hutchinson, and current pastor Greg Carter. Church membership including active and non-active members now stands at 336.