History of Hebron Baptist Church
With a feeling of reverence and gratitude, let us glance backwards to the stirring days of 1847 and 1848. James K. Polk was President of the United States. Texas became a state in 1845. The war with Mexico was fought in 1846-47.
The work among the Baptists of Virginia was not going well. They were in debt, and to some extent, divided as to policies, but determined to move forward.
William Rufus Powell, the founder of Hebron Baptist Church, was born on November 13, 1808 in Spotsylvania County. He was the on of Ptolemy Powell and Sidney Daniel. He grew up in a church going family and attended and "Old Field" school. Later, he taught in Louisa and Spotsylvania. He lived in the home of Captain Theritt Towels, who was Sheriff of Spotsylvania at that time. He married Captain Toweles' daughter.
William Rufus Powell and his wife were baptized and became members of Mine Road Baptist Church. He was a zealpus leader and was soon made assistant to the Pastor, Phillip Pendleton. Powell did not believe in church members using intoxicating beverages. This belief brought many discussions within the church and the association.
In 1847, 20 members of Mine Road Baptist Church withdrew their membership and under the leadership of William Rufus Powell, organized a "Test Church" which was constituted on July 22, 1847 and called Hebron.
On July 14, 1848, Edmund and Mary Turnley deeded three acres of land, for the considerations of $1.00, to Stephen Humphries, John T. Pendleton, Parmenius B. Pritchett, and William D. Straughan for the benefit of Hebron Baptist Church, their successors hereafter to be appointed by the church. The original church was built in 1848. This date was marked on one of the bricks in the front of the old church.
On November 8, 1853, 17 members of Wallers Baptist Church who were also believers in the "Test Movement" requested and were granted letters of dismissal from Wallers and then united with Hebron. Included in this group were ancestors of Maria Herndon Morton.
William Rufus Powell was Pastor of Hebron until his death in 1859. The text of his last sermon was taken from Hebrews 6:19-20 - "Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for as entered, even Jesus, made an high priest forever."
James Leavitt Powell followed his brother as Pastor and leader of the young church. After his death in 1870, Joseph A. Billingsley of King George became pastor of Hebron. He had been born in Spotsylvania and was Pastor of a number of churches in both King George and Spotsylvania where he was Pastor of Zoan for 37 years. He served Hebron from 1870 to 1890 leaving his mark on many of the members as well as on the community.
Rev. Joe Billingsley was a very devout and prayerful student of the Bible. He would ride in his "gig" (a one seated, two wheeled, one horse cart) from King George on Saturday, spend the night at Maple Grove, and preach at Hebron on Sunday. He usually preached long, long sermons. If anyone went to sleep, he would call out their name and wake them up. Once, as the story goes, he was preaching and a small dog wandered into the church and up to the pulpit. Without stopping preaching, he picked the dog up and threw him out the back door saying, "Get thee behind me Satan.".
On another occasion when he was preaching, a thunderstorm came up. He preached on as the storm got worse. Finally, there was a terrific streak of lightning and crash of thunder. Then, Mr. Joe said, "When the Lord speaks, let man be silent.", and sat down.
Edward Pinkard Hawkins was pastor of Hebron from 1890 to 1915. Rev. Hawkins was born and raised in Louisa where he was married, raised a family, and began his ministry.
After the death of his first wife, his second marriage took place on August 18, 1884, his bride being Miss Huldah Herndon of Maple Grove. From this time on, he lived at Maple Grove until his death in 1976.
Rev. Edward V. Peyton descibes him as follows: "As a preacher of the word, he was fearless, declaring the whole council of God. As a counselor, he was wise and as a leader, he was safe and a strong helpder of the Glory of God."
In September 1909, while Rev. Hawkins was pastor of Hebron, Rev. E.V. Peyton left his home here to enter Richmond College, carrying with him a letter of endorsement from Hebron in the handwriting of the beloved pastor.
The exact date of our first Missionary Society is not known. However, Mrs. Maria Herndon Morton was a leader in the Hebron Missionary Society when the Goshen WMU met for an hour or so during the regular two day Association. She was present at one of these Associations when the moderator asked the ladies if an hour would be plenty of time for their WMU meeting. The ladies informed him that it was not; and if that was all the time they could have, they would have their own meeting at a different time. Thus began the Goshen Association WMU Meetings.
The first Women's Missionary Union meeting for the Goshen Association was held at Hebron in 1897.
Mrs. Morton was Superintendent of the Goshen Association around 1902-3-4.
For years, the Hebron WMS was under her leadership. In the old days, it was something of a neighborhood society with some members from other churches and they met in homes. The early members were especially dedicated to Lottie Moon and her work in China and to the Goshen WMU Buchanan Mountain School, which was purchaes in 1909 and opened in 1911, as well as all missions. In an old minute book, we find there were 19 members in 1914. Miss Maggie V. Peyton, sister of Dr. E.V. Peyton, was secretary at this time.
Rev. Charles E. Sanders was Pastor of Hebron from 1915 to 1942, a total of 27 years which was the longest of any pastorate. By a quiet life, a good example of Christian living, and faithful preaching of the pure gospel of Christ, the influence of Rev. Sanders will abide as a treasure that cannot be lost.
The church enrollment in 1931 was 54. We paid Mr. Sanders $100.00 a year and he gave back $10.00 of that. He also farmed to help make a living and preached at three other churches: Mine Road, Good Hope, and Traveler's Rest.
Mrs. Maria H. Morton was clerk of the church and Mrs. Mattie C. Massey was treasurer of the church for a number of years during this period. Mrs. Morton sponsored a Women's Missionary Society and a Sunbeam Band at Hebron. The Sunbeam Band included all ages from toddlers to teenagers. We were well organized and had good programs. For many years we had no acting Deacons. Mr. Sanders passed the communion elements to the congregation himself.
Martin Luther Reed succeesed Rev. Sanders coming to Hebron in 1943, and leaving on November 26, 1944. During his pastorate the church made an every member canvas, accepted an allocation for the Boatwright Memorial Library at the University of Richmond, and launched a building fund for a parsonage. Mrs. Marion Pulliam was named treasurer of the building fund.
Mr. Reed also had us elect two Deacons, Jack Hall and Frank Turnley were ordained on September 26, 1943.
We also had our first Vacation Bible School in cooperation with Mine Road and Good Hope. The three churches held Vacation Bible School together for a number of years, rotating from church to church.
In 1946 the three churches joined together to build a parsonage on the property adjacent to Mine Road.
Rev. Ira S. Harrell accepted the call to go to Hebron on the first Sunday in May 1947 in resigned effective the 4th Sunday in August 1948. Our total membership at this time was 91.
Our All Day Centennial Celebration was held October 31, 1948, at which time we had no pastor. Mr. Sanders was moderator of the program for that day. Rev. E.V. Peyton preached the morning sermon and in the afternoon he read a history of the church which he had prepared for us.
Rev. Lawson Pritchett pronounced the morning benediction and grace as he was being considered as a pastor.
Mr. Pritchett was called and accepted the call to Hebron on November 21, 1948 and stayed with us until January 1950. Ethel Mastin became clerk in 1950.
R. Charles Kasper was called on March 28, 1950 and resigned March 2, 1951. Church membership at the time was 108.
Rev. Max Green came to Hebron June 17, 1951 and stayed until June 30, 1957.
Mr. & Mrs. Green were very active leaders and much was done for young peoples' groups at this time.
On October 28, 1953, B.O. Carr deeded to Hebron .3 (three-tenths) of an acre of land adjoining the church property with the stipulations that it be used for a cemetary.
Florene Sorrell became treasurer of Hebron on January 19, 1955. She followed Miss Ola Jarrell.
It was during Mr. Green's pastorate that the new sanctuary was started. The church has $12,000.00 to start with. In order to borrow money at the bank to finish the church, a number of members signed notes for $1,000.00 each. Following is a list of the members who signed these notes: 1. Jack Hall, 2. Vernard Sorrell, 3. Robert Sorrell, 4. Wesley Hall, 5. Willard Hall, 6. Ed Miller, 7. Charles Mastin, 8. Mrs. Marian Pullian & Ola Jarrell, 9. Johnny & Madeline Curtis, 10. Junior & Iris Deale, 11. Herman & Hazel Sorrell, 12. Donald & Ellen Rumuly, 13. Clifton & Christeen Hopkins, 14. Robert Turnley.
Robert Sorrell gave the lumber for the foundation of the church. He sawed it at his mill and hauled it to the church site.
Joseph R. Holland came to Hebron in September 1957 and stayed until June 1959. During this time, the new sanctuary was completed and dedicated.
Beverly B. McDowell was pastor of Hebron from 1959 until 1966. He served Good Hope also but Mine Road had secured a full time pastor. By this time, Mine Road bought out the interest of Hebron and Good Hope in the parsonage. During his pastorate, the note was burned for the money borrowed to build the new sanctuary.
On February 16, 1960, five acres of land adjoining the church property was purchased along with a partial finished house, which was finished to be the parsonage.
Money was borrowed from the Spotsylvania Bank for this project and was paid back in six years. This note was signed by the Deacons of the church at this time who were Sylvester T. Hall, Vernard E. Sorrell, Robert J. Sorrell, Charles Wesley Hall, and Willard Hall.
On July 29, 1962, 115 years after the founding date, we had a special Homecoming Day. The body of William Rufus Powell, the founder of Hebron Baptist Church, has been re-interred in the cemetary at Hebron and the stone moved that marked the grave. This was dedicated at this time.
In 1964 Rachel Hall became clerk of Hebron. She followed Marian J. Pulliam.
Mrs. McDowell was the leader of a very active G.A. Group. They progressed through many of the steps set up for the G.A.'s. In 1963, she took six of the members on a trip to the Southern Baptist Convention in Memphis, TN. They also stopped in Nashville to sightsee. Those making the trip were Darnell Dillard, Diane Rumuly, Janice Thomas, Leona Marshall, Juanita Wyant, and Frances Wyant.
Our G.A.'s have continued to be active over a long period of years. Under the leadership of Mrs. Lillian Hall they won several awards in The Goshen Association.
The members of Hebron decided that they wanted to be a full-time church. Rogers H. Chenault came to the church on October 16, 1966 to be our first full-time pastor and the first occupant of the new parsonage. He left November 11, 1970.
On November 8, 1967, Ellen Rumuly became Treasurer of the Building Fund, following Marian J. Pulliam.
It was during Mr. Chenault's pastorage that the old church building was demolished and removed. Also, the electric organ was obtained at this time. For years, we used an old pump organ for music.
John R. Reynolds served as pastor from September 12, 1971 to March 12, 1973.
On January 5, 1972, a building committee was elected to work on plans for an educational building. On August 23, 1972 the church voted to accept Walter Butler's contract for the educational building.
On Septeber 12, 1972 we had our Homecoming Day with Ground-Breaking exercises in the afternoon. Mrs. J.W. Massey doing the honor of breaking the ground as our oldest member. Max. A. Green and Beverly McDowell were guest speakers in the afternoon.
Our membership responded with enthusiasm and gave generously of their time and money.
On Sunday, February 11, 1973, we started using the Sunday School rooms for classes.
James D. Nicholson preached his first sermon for us on March 18, 1973 and served as interim pastor until he was called September 1973.
On July 22, 1973, we had our Homecoming Day, and in the afternoon we had the dedication of the educational building and the laying of the cornerstone. Those participating were the building committee: Vernard Sorrell, Herman Sorrell, Raymond Hall, Wrase Perry, Marguerite Morton, and Mr. Windham, the contractor, Walter Butler, and the youngest member at that time, Kevin Perry, unveiled the cornerstone.
We met our payment on the note for the educational building every six months and always paid some extra on the principal every year.
Our membership at this time was 271.
On July 26, 1976 on our regular Homecoming Day, we had a Bicentennial program in the afternoon. We enacted the signing of the Declaration of Independence with all in costumes and it was very effective. Many members wore costumes for the day and we sang old hymns and patriotic songs.
Helen Upperman was elected Treasurer of the Building Fund on August 1, 1977.
In approximately 1980, Darnell Dillard and Iris Deale organized the children's ministry, "Mission Friends", which is still a blessing to the children today.
Mrs. Darnell Dillard was elected clerk in October 1984.
Mrs. Annabell Thomas and her husband, Zack, started the Love Pantry, a mission project that provides food to people in the surrounding community that are in need. The ministry is a real blessing at Thanksgiving and Christmas to many people. They began this ministry on October 19, 1993, and for almost 14 years have served in this ministry.
On January 17, 1996, the church voted to take James Fetty as pastor on a trial basis for a two to three month period. A special business meeting was held on Sunday, March 25, 1996 to vote on the calling of James Fetty and he accepted the call to be the pastor of Hebron Baptist Church. It was under his tenure that Children's Church was started.
Pastor Fetty married Lisa Groves soon after accepting the call to Hebron. Lisa Fetty served as our pianist during his ministry. It was during his tenure that Hebron Baptist Church became part of the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia (SBCV).
Our Nursing Home Ministry was started under Pastor Fetty. Pastor Fetty resigned on August 2, 2000.
Florene Sorrell Served faithfully for many years as our Treasurer, but she had to resign due to health issues. Mrs. Dean Wheeler became our Treasurer in December 1997 and continues to faithfully serve as Hebron's Treasurer today.
Pastor Bob Ellinger was our interim pastor from August 2000 until he was called to be our pastor on November 19, 2000, by a unanimous vote. The church has grown under his leadership. Our membership at the present time was 415.
On April 4, 2001, the church voted to have new windows installed in the sanctuary. On April 9, 2003 the church voted to asphalt the church parking lot.
During Pastor Bob's ministry, the AWANA program was started and is continuing to grow. Donnie Wheeler accepted the job as Youth Director and is busy keeping our youth involved in the church and community.
Also during this time, Ashley Boone became our choir director and continues to be a blessing to us today.
The church voted on June 4, 2006, at a special business meeting, for an addition to be built to include a large social hall, a new kitchen, and an additional space for Sunday School classrooms.
The church ordained Eric Pelter into the ministry on Sunday, January 21, 2007.
Under the ministry of Pastor Bob, the church commissioned two mission trips to Brazil and Pastor Junior and his family have visited Hebron.
During the summer of 2006, Hebron participated in Impact Virginia an repaired and painted two of our member's homes. The church prepared food and fed lunch to two of the groups participating in Impact Virginia.