History of Harrods Creek Baptist Church

 

The Beginning

Twenty-two Christians of Green Castle Baptist Church, who had bought and built homes at Harrods Creek, Kentucky, three miles away from their church, organized Harrods Creek Baptist Church in 1891. With poor convenience to go back and forth, they decided to get their letters of dismissal and organize a church, which would be convenient for them to attend. Their letters were granted and Reverend John Rody organized a church and was elected as pastor, holding services in the school building.

They purchased land for $125.00 on which to build a church. That summer, Reverend Rody had a revival and at the close of the meeting, 26 persons had accepted Christ. The church building was finished and dedicated in the name of Harrods Creek Baptist Church. After three years of service as pastor, Reverend Rody resigned.

The following ministers have served as pastors: Reverend Harris, Reverend E. T. Offutt, Reverend Riley, Reverend Brown, Dedrick, Reverend Virgil T. Taylor and Reverend Ben Welch. Reverend Welch resigned in 1912. The church then called Reverend Harrison Kennedy.

On April 23, 1913, a cyclone blew our church down. Reverend Kennedy, with wide experience and well known by both races, began work immediately soliciting funds. With cooperation of the members and friends, he soon had the church rebuilt. He served for three years, resigned and organized a church on the Cut-off, near River Road Bridge. River View Baptist Church has stood in existence for many years as a monument in the community. As of this writing, River View Baptist Church is located at 510 East St. Catherine in Louisville, Kentucky.

Reverend Dedrick accepted the call to our church as pastor and served for seven years. He resigned because of poor hearing. Reverend Hardin F. Johnson was then called. During his pastoral charge, the flood of 1937 invaded our church, destroyed the organ, piano, frosted windows and raised the church foundation six inches. The flood went on top of the eaves of the church. With Reverend Johnson as our leader, we were soon on our way to recovery. Sister Ellen and Sister Estella Kennedy opened their homes for us to hold services in until we could get back in our church. Reverend Johnson served for ten years.

On January 1, 1940, our church was without a pastor. We have never dismissed a pastor. They were called every year for one year and at the expiration of the year, were either called or not called. For 15 consecutive Sundays, we listened to a different sermon by a visiting minister. We then decided to make a choice of the one we felt would lead us as a pastor, so Reverend Eugene H. Young was elected. His interest in the church immediately impressed the members; and we felt God had sent us one as a leader, not superior to our past pastor, but as one who had a different vision and a stronger determination to succeed.

 

The Ministry of Reverend Eugene H. Young

The spirit of the members was revived and the work began to show spiritually and financially. Everything moved nicely until the spring of 1945, when again we were disturbed by another flood, not as bad as the 1937 flood, yet this time it went seven feet inside the church, carried our out-buildings away and into the Ohio River. This was our third warning. We began to do some very serious thinking and within a short time at our regular business meeting, we decided to move to higher ground. The County Board Of Education gave us permission to hold Services in the school auditorium. We moved the last of November. By that time, we had leased our church to a white congregation for $2,000.00 for 26 months. The church was to be used as a meeting place by them until they could build one of their own. In our research, we found that the name of this church was St. Francis In The Fields Episcopal Church.

We then pondered as to where we could find another place that we could rebuild our church. At that time (at the church business meeting held on August 10, 1945), Deacon James T. Taylor suggested that there was available ground about one mile from our present site that we might be able to purchase. The owner was a widow (Mrs. Willimina Bright) and could sell. She was approached twice and each time refused to sell. After more investigation and no result, Mrs. Narcissus J. Brown asked the church to permit her to see Mrs. Bright, as she was a friend of hers. Mrs. Brown visited Mrs. Bright and explained just why we wanted the ground. She consented to sell to the church, indicating the ground was to be used for a church only. We accepted her terms and agreed on the price of the ground, which was $1,000.00 cash for a lot 150 x 475 feet. Payment was made on September 15, 1945. On October 6, 1946, we sold our church for $4,000.00 cash to St. Francis In The Fields Episcopal Church. At our next business meeting in January 1946, the following committee was elected: Mrs. Cleoda McDonald, Secretary; Mrs. Hattie L. Taylor, Assistant Secretary; Mrs. Narcissus J. Brown, Financial Secretary, Reverend Eugene H. Young, official Member; Deacons James T. Taylor, Charles Kennedy, Deacon Moore Trowel and Ernest Stone.

Mr. Taylor asked for pledges of the members and $550.00 was pledged. On February 8, 1946, the church employed Mr. James A. Gallery as contractor. On May 25, 1945, the Zoning Board issued a permit, No. 1612, giving permission to build the church 90 feet from the middle of the highway. Work began when we broke ground the first Sunday in April 1946. From the time the work started, there was never a delay on account of labor, material or money. The very accurate record kept by Mr. Gallery was one that could be appreciated. His forethought and suggestive ideas were a great help to our pastor and chairman.

Prospect Masonic Lodge No. 109, F. & A. M, laid the cornerstone on the fourth Sunday in November 1946. On the fourth Sunday in March 1947, we marched from Jacob School into this, our new church home, just 11 months from the day we broke ground.

On April 3, 1947, we borrowed $7,000.00 with interest for seven years; and the notes were to be paid every six months. We never missed a note of $500.00 plus interest, when due. On October 3, 19 51, we made our last payment – a total of $7,911.11. We paid it in four and one-half years. We celebrated our Mortgage Burning and Dedication of the "New Harrods Creek Baptist Church" on November 18, 1951. Today we are still the Harrods Creek Baptist Church – only a new location and building.

Founders of Harrods Creek Baptist Church

Bro. Alex Craighead and wife, Bro. Richard Craighead and wife, Reverend James Enders, Reverend H. Jackson, Bro. Leonard Jones, Reverend Harrison Kennedy and wife, Bro. Thadus Lang and wife, Bro. George Lang, Sis. Florence Lang, Bro. Wilson McGruder, Sis. Frances Taylor, Reverend William Taylor and wife, Sis. Maggie Taylor, Sis. Minnie Taylor, Sis. Sara Taylor, Sis. Fannie Lang Taylor and Bro. James Sowders.

Mrs. Narcissus J. Brown, who along with her husband, were examples of the dedicated members of this church, wrote the above history. They have since gone on to their heavenly rewards. The value of this church at the time of the 1967 writing was $22,000.00. The history was written November 18, 1951.

Reverend Eugene H. Young, who pastured this church for 23 years, labored untiringly and with dignity. Our many accomplishments and the recognition of Harrods Creek, throughout the Commonwealth were immeasurable under his leadership. Reverend Young, because of falling, health became Pastor Emeritus of Harrods Creek in 1963. The church again was without a pastor.

The Ministry of Reverend Charles E. Salter

The church in its need for a shepherd, voted to call Reverend Charles E. Salter, a member of Lampton Baptist Church. He undertook the pastorate of Harrods Creek Baptist Church on March 1, 1964. Shortly after Reverend Salter became our pastor, the church expressed a desire to build. Mrs. Willie Mae Pruitt was an employee of Mrs. Amelia Brown Frazier (a major stock holder of Brown Foreman Distillery). Mrs. Pruitt told Mrs. Frazier what the church was trying to accomplish. Mrs. Frazier agreed to discuss the church’s plans with Reverend Salter. At the conclusion of the meeting, Mrs. Frazier committed to assisting the church by donating $1 for every dollar that the church raised for the Building Fund. Those matched funds accumulated to over $25,000.00.

Reverend Salter had a progressive attitude and a vision of purchasing additional ground, remodeling and making additions to the present structure. Under his leadership, Boy Scout Troop #330 was organized on November 30, 1967. He was also helpful in obtaining the gift of additional land on Jacob School Road; and the church was also able to purchase additional ground surrounding the church.

In the spring of 1976, the church hired Breckenridge Construction Company to renovate the sanctuary and add the Multiple Purpose Room. The building went well for a time; and, then in November of the same year, we found out that the builder had not been paying his bills. After he had been exposed, he walked off the job leaving us with a building that was only about 60% complete. In December, the church held a special call meeting. During this meeting, we raised $10,000 to keep the project going. Also during this meeting, the church appointed Deacon Charles L Wilson, Sr. to oversee the completion of our building. Bro. Wilson did the majority of this work himself, along with Deacon Clark S. Cox, Sr., who had recently retired. Shortly after this church meeting, Mrs. Maime Smallings, owner of Ebony Park on Duroc Avenue, sold her property to the retired service men. At that time, her health was falling and she requested Reverend Salter to come and visit with her. Shortly after this visit, Bro. Martin Dunbar, Jr., our church treasurer, received a certified letter from Mrs. Smallings’ attorney; and enclosed in that letter, was a check, in the amount of $8,000. This donation was added to the $10,000, which was raised from the special call meeting. The combination of these monies allowed Harrods Creek Baptist Church to compete its building project. In the spring of 1978, the members celebrated the grand opening by marching from Highway 42 and River Road to the front entrance of the church. On April 29, 1979, we celebrated our "Corner Stone Laying."

In 1984, the church purchased a new church van. Later we were able to purchase our first copier and organize a computer room. In 1993, once again, the church made its last payment on the new addition.

In an effort to provide devotional space and storage space for the choir, the church eventually added a choir room. Reverend Salter served as pastor for 33 ½ years. In 1997, he announced his decision to retire. Reverend Salter continued to attend worship service until his health no longer permitted him to do so.

The Ministry of Reverend Kirk M. Bush

Reverend Kirk M. Bush was called to assist Reverend Charles E. Salter in July of 1997. Reverend Bush accepted the call to pastor our church in January of 1998. Later that year the Lord touched Reverend Bush’s heart and he donated an organ to the church to be used during our worship services.

After Reverend Bush became our pastor, we began to review the transportation needs of some of our members. It was then decided that we should invest in another church van. We were able to purchase a 1998 van. The church was made aware that the property adjacent to us was for sale. We were able to purchase the property for $175,000 in 1999 allowing us to extend our parking lot.

In 2000, the church developed an outreach program entitled “HCCDC (Harrods Creek Community Development Center)”, which was known for providing computer training to residents in the West End of Louisville, Kentucky. This outreach program led to the beginning of different monies being donated to the church from several major community leaders in the metro area.

In 2001, our van ministry had grown to the point where we needed to provide transportation to more members in different areas of town. Reverend Bush decided to donate our 1984 model van to another congregation who was in need of providing transportation to their members; and then the church was able to purchase another new van. We have broadened our van ministry to provide services to members in several areas of town.

Reverend Bush had a vision to establish the church as a leading provider of faith-based services in the community. His vision was to build a family life center, which would provide several different ministries. God blessed us in November of 2002 and enabled us to share his vision and celebrate the grand opening of our new “Salter/Dunbar Family Life Center”. In recognition of past and present members, Reverend Bush designated sections of the Family Life Center in their honor. This new addition cost $2.3 million. In the fall of 2006, we were notified of the possibility of purchasing additional land on Duroc Avenue by way of an auction. We were blessed again by being able to purchase the land for $24,000.

During these trying times, the church has been able to go outside of the church walls and minister to others. During the Windstorm of 2008 and the Winter Storm in February 2009, we were able to open up to the community for those who were without power. During the windstorm, the youth of the church helped deliver breakfast and lunch to those in the neighborhood that had lost their power. We also opened the doors of the Family Life Center to provide hot showers, breakfast, lunch and fellowship. During the Winter Storm, we were blessed to provide a warm place for those that were without power until their power was restored.

The Family Life Center has been a blessing to this community in other ways as well such as offering a place for seniors to meet on the first and third Thursday's of the month to fellowship. The gym has been used for several functions such as the Prospect Community Expo, youth retreats in conjuction with 1+1=U, a nonprofit organization, birthday parties, basketball leagues and soccer leagues.

The Lord blessed Harrods Creek and through these blessings we are able to be a blessing to others and hope to continue on this path for as long as the Lord allows us to.

 
 
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