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Church History

"In The Beginning" Genesis 1:1 1868-1891

 

During the period of slavery, many of our forefathers worshipped and fellowshipped with the white members in the Baptist Churches. Here in King George County, it is said that many of both races worshipped at "Little Zion" Baptist Church. After the Civil War, the tide turned. The white members, having built a new church, to be known as Hanover, about one mile from Little Zion, deeded Little Zion to the negro members of the church in July 1868.

 

Records show that the deed was made between A. McClanaham, William McDaniel, trustees of Hanover, and Daniel Coakley and Nancy Coakley, Trustees of Little Zion; deeded the property to Samuel and Joseph Manning, Benjamin Carter, John and George Dunlop, and Isaac Wood, trustees for the new organization called "Little Zion". At the beginning of this new organization, it is believed that the church took its present name, "Antioch", and started its voyage to rescue the perishing, comfort those in distress, and lead those who had gone astray back to a port that promises "Eternal-Joy". At the helm at this time was the Reverend Montague, who continued to serve and direct the affairs of the church, until Rev. Moses Myers, perhaps the first licentiate of the church, began to aid in the services.

 

Reverend Myers was never installed as a pastor. The first pastor of the church was Rev. John Fleming. During his administration, the church was destroyed by fire. A log building was then erected for services. During this period, there were many sons who aided in the services but they were never installed as pastors. Among these were the Rev. John Dunlop and Rev. Woodson Hickerson, who, with a few followers, found and organized the present Saint Stephen Baptist Church.

 

The second pastor of Antioch was Rev. David Walker. It was probably during his administration that a frame structure was erected. The cornerstone was laid on June 16, 1886. The third pastor was Rev. Zachariah Gainey. Reverend Gainey served faithfully for several years. The fourth pastor was the Rev. Lewis Marshall. Reverend Marshall died, after serving a period of ten years. It can be said that Reverend Marshall was punctual and a dutiful servant to the church. Under his administration, the present building was erected. The foundation was laid by Reverend Gainey, former pastor, and Rev. William Greer, a son of Antioch. The fifth pastor of Antioch was the Rev. Alonza D. Robinson. Under his direction, the present body of the church was completed. Reverend Robinson was called from labor to reward, after having served for a period of seven years.

 

"The Years of Ancient Times" Psalms 77:5 1891-1914

 

As the sixth pastor, Rev. Frank C. Bundy first served as a deacon; he was then licensed and ordained by Antioch. It was a joy to have a son to take the job as pastor, for under his leadership many things were accomplished. Two anterooms were constructed at a cost of $294.45. A set of pews were purchased at a cost of $1,039.29. An offering for Foreign Missions was established. Reverend Bundy resigned after fourteen years of service. He left with the same fellowship and love with which he started. The seventh pastor, Rev. William H. Waller, is known as a wide-awake, energetic man, and is generally regarded as "the great man for raising money"; for during this period, both financial and spiritual successes were high. It was under the leadership of Rev. W. H. Waller that the choir was organized, the piano was purchased, and repairs were made to the church. Though his stay was somewhat short, it was a pleasant one. Our eighth pastor, Rev. Aaron Mackley, came to us by chance, for Rev. Augustus Lewis sent him to us, informed us of his ability, and urged us to "lay hands on him". After hearing Reverend Mackley speak, he was unanimously elected. His short stay was a most enjoyable one. After serving for a period of three years, Reverend Mackley resigned to serve in a larger field.

 

"Days of Old" Psalms 77:5 1914-1937

 

The ninth pastor, Rev. John B. Waller, was a welcomed guest, as he was the brother of a former pastor, Rev. W.H. Waller. He was unanimously elected. His short stay was an enjoyable one, for under his leadership the church was painted, a furnace was installed at a cost of $354.47, electrical fixtures were purchased, and a choir stand was built. Rev. J.B. Waller resigned to serve a larger field in the state of New Jersey, after serving well for a short time.

 

Rev. E. L. R. Guss, the tenth pastor, was called in October 1942, answered the call in December 1942, and was installed on October 24, 1943. His coming was a joy, for his preaching was such that it helped us live each day and helped us to find heaven on earth. Under his stern counsel and leadership, Antioch moved forward. The "Free Will Pledge System" was installed, a registry of all members was started, a solid brick foundation was built, floors were painted, the top of the building was covered and painted, the exterior of the building was shingled at a cost of $1,092.70. The organ was purchased under Reverend Guss. The stained-glass windows were put in by various groups and families in the church at an estimated cost of $125.00 each. Records show that the plans for a new addition to the church were started under Rev. Guss. Reverend Guss submitted his resignation on April 24, 1957, because of ill health. He dedicated 15 years of service to Antioch.

 

On July 24, 1957, the church called Rev. Moses A. Knott as their eleventh pastor. Reverend Knott's stay at Antioch was a short but dedicated one. His work was largely administrative. Under his leadership, a financial system was established and the church was put on a paying basis in a business manner. He started the duplex envelope system. Reverend Knott did a great deal to organize the church so that it might measure up to its expectations in a changing world. Also, under Reverend Knott, the interior and exterior of the church were painted, and necessary modifications and repairs were made at a cost of $249.41. The second Sunday was established as the worship Sunday. Reverend Knott resigned on December 24, 1958, to accept full service at his other church. Rev. G. T. Saunders served as supply minister for most of 1959. He skillfully guided the church and contributed much to the growth of Antioch and the community.

 

"Unto This Day" Acts 26:2 1937-1960

 

The Church called Rev. Rafe M. Taylor in January 1960 as their twelfth pastor. Under the dynamic leadership of Reverend Taylor, the church grew both spiritually and financially. He was a minister who believed in visiting his members. He visited the sick and shut-ins, and everyone in the community. It was under his leadership that the new addition was put on the church at an estimated cost of $12,000.00. Reverend Taylor worked hard to build up the youth department of our church. He established four Sundays per month as worship Sundays. Reverend Taylor resigned in June 1962, to become the minister of Faith Tabernacle Baptist Church, Stanford, Connecticut.

 

In July 1962, the church called its thirteenth pastor, Rev. J.E. Penn. Under Reverend Penn, the mortgage for the new addition was paid off. Tables and chairs were purchased for the lower auditorium. Fans were placed in front of the church. He started the scholarship fund with the Home Mission. Reverend Penn resigned in December 1964, to become the minister of the Third Baptist Church, Alexandria, Virginia.

 

Rev. Clinton D. McNair was called to Antioch in January 1965, to serve as a supply minister for three months. After three months, the church was very much impressed by the dedication of Rev. McNair, and on April 21, 1965, Antioch called Rev. McNair to serve as pastor. Rev. McNair began immediately to reorganize and a youth choir was organized, a Baptist Training Union was established and 23 members were added to the church. The interior of the church was painted. The lower auditorium and the kitchen were finished at an estimated cost of $5,000.00. A new heating system was installed, the roof was painted and a new pump for the well was installed. Rev. McNair resigned in September 1969 to become the minister of Garfield Park Baptist Church, Chicago, Illinois.

 

The church called Rev. Donald L. Caldwell in May 1970 as their fifteenth pastor. His preaching and singing were a great asset to the church. Under his leadership, Antioch moved forward. Many clubs were organized. The New Member's Club, Kitchen Club, Missionary Circle, Hospitality Club, Youth Crusade for Christ, and Men's Club. He reorganized the Junior Usher Board and Pastor's Aid Club. There were 45 members to join by baptism, 21 by Christian experience, and 15 reinstated, 5 officers were appointed, one Junior Deacon, two Senior Deacons, and two Trustees. In the spring of 1971, Rev. Donald Caldwell had a dream that Antioch "The Church by The Side of The Road", become an even more beautiful edifice in which to worship. When he presented his "dream" to the members, they readily accepted and immediately started on his "dream". At a cost of $21,000.00, the interior (which included an air conditioning system) and the exterior of the church were renovated. Upon completion of this work, a rededication was held on March 19, 1972, at which time, the old cornerstone was replaced with a bronze plaque.

 

The purchase of five acres of land on Route 205 at a cost of $3,000.00 was the final project of Rev. Caldwell's before his death on April 5, 1973.The late Rev. Donald Caldwell's work and life with us can be summarized in the words from the famous poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Psalm of Life: "Lives of great men all sublime leave in our memories, footprints on the sands of time".

 

Rev. Carl V. Messiah came to us in May 1973 as officiating pastor for a ninety-day mourning period. In August 1973, the Rev. Messiah became our sixteenth pastor. Under his leadership, many things were accomplished. The Women's Organization, The Angelic Starlett Singers, and the Music Committee were established. He started the Birthday Rally and Sacrificial Offering. A church bus was purchased. There were 26 members to join by baptism, 8 reinstated, and 4 by Christian experience. His stay at Antioch was somewhat short but pleasant. Rev. Messiah resigned in October 1975.

 

In May 1976, another milestone in the Christian success of Antioch - the mortgage for the renovation was paid off. On June 13, 1976, a special service was held for the Burning of the Mortgage.

 

"The Days of Hope" I Cor. 13:7 1960-1983

 

Rev. Earl A. Ross, came to us in June 1976, as our seventeenth pastor. Rev. Ross did great work here at Antioch, as well as, in the community. Under his leadership as pastor, thirty-seven members joined the church, and one Deacon and 2 Deaconess were added to the boards. The Nurses Unit had been reorganized and Rev. Ross taught a Bible class each Saturday evening. Under his leadership, several items had been purchased for the beautification of the Sanctuary, such as a Cross for the communion table, a communion set, a white parament set, flower vases, and a lectern.

 

Our Eighteenth Pastor, Rev. William A. Thorpe, came to us on March 21, 1981. His gift of preaching and singing was a blessing to all who listened to him. Several members were added to the flock by Baptism, Christian experience, and reinstatement. Two deacons and one deaconess were added to the board and one minister was licensed. Also, during Rev. Thorpe's tenure and under his leadership, we were blessed to establish or reorganize the following organizations and annual events:

 

Pastor's Aid Club (Reorganized)

Family & Friends Day

Male Chorus

Prayer Meeting/Bible Study

Youth Council

Youth Revival

Annual Church Fellowship Picnic (Sponsored by Men's Organization)

Senior Citizens Day

 

In addition to establishing and reorganizing the above, Rev. Thorpe had a vision to enhance the beauty of the edifice inside and out. The parking lot was black-topped and marked, a handicap ramp with railings was installed, and glass doors were installed on the front entrance. The edifice was again renovated at a cost of $49,968.00. Included in this renovation project were the installation of storm windows, remodeling of the basement, relining the baptismal pool, and improvements in other areas of the church. Also, another five acres of land were purchased. Rev. Thorpe resigned after seven years of serving Antioch with divine guidance, goodwill, and a religious example of how a Christ-like spirit can work together toward a common goal.

 

"Moving Forward For Christ" 1983 – 1993 Psalms 37:23

 

Rev. Dr. Frank S. Smith was called as our nineteenth pastor in 1989. Rev. Smith worked and studied faithfully to continue his efforts to serve God by obtaining a Doctorate degree. During his time, the Church Constitution and By-laws were written, approved, and adopted in a special meeting on December 1, 1990. The church theme changed from "Moving Forward for Christ" to "Holding Fast to the Faithful Word." The Children's Church Ministry was established and other items were purchased to update the church's administrative needs. These updates included a copier, computer, new organ, and piano. The entire sanctuary, classrooms, and offices were re-carpeted. Rev. Smith had the pleasure and distinct honor of licensing his son, Jonathan Smith. He also ordained a friend and fellow servant, Rev. Andre Jones to preach and teach the Gospel. The church continued to grow and prosper under Rev. Smith until he resigned to relocate to another state.

 

"Holding Fast To The Faithful Word" 1993-2021 Titus 1:9

 

Rev. Dr. Larry Finch Sr. had served as Interim Pastor and we were pleased to call him to become our twentieth pastor. Rev. Finch faithfully pastored Antioch Baptist Church for 28 years. Rev. Finch worked faithfully with members and friends of Antioch. While serving Antioch, Rev. Finch established: Worship on Wednesday (WOW) Services, Men and Women Bible Studies, Young Adult Membership Servants (YAMS), the Signing Sensations (Praise Dance Ministry), and Membership Guilds. Pastor Finch was instrumental in the completion of Phase I of the church's building project. Under his leadership, he added members to the Deacon and Deaconess Boards, licensed ministers, as well as performed weddings, blessing of babies, and eulogies. Rev. Finch has also authored and published a book entitled What Every Religion Needs to Know About the Godhead - God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Rev. Finch led us through the 2020-2021 COVID-19 Pandemic by implementing virtual worship service, bible study, and prayer service that still continues to this present day. On December 26, 2021, Rev. Finch became the first Antioch pastor to retire from the ministry as pastor.

 

God has blessed Antioch to progress through the years from the time our forefathers were freed from slavery to the 21st century. She can boast of being the "Mother Church" of the county, having as her daughters, Saint Stephens, Little Ark, and Union Bethel Baptist Churches.

 

“Gratefully Still Standing With Hope Forevermore” Jeremiah 29:11 2021-Present

 

Rev. Dr. Kendrick Bailey, our newest pastor is working diligently with the congregation of Antioch. Since his installation, he has worked closely with the youth within the church as well as establishing the Prayer Warrior Ministry and implementing the church’s Monthly Bible Memory Verse.

 

Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, has truly blessed Antioch with the following sons and daughters who were licensed and ordained to teach and preach "The Good News" since the organization of the church:

 

Ordained Sons and Daughters of Antioch

Rev. Frank C. Bundy, Pastor - Antioch Baptist Church

Rev. W. L. Turley, Pastor - Mt. Gilead Baptist Church, Washington, D.C.

Rev. George T. Saunders, Asst. Pastor - Mt. Jezreel Baptist Church, Washington, D.C.

Rev. Joseph E. Toliver, Pastor - Zion Baptist Church, Chance, VA; New Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Caret, VA;

Mulberry Baptist Church, Emmerton, VA

Rev. Andre Jones, Dedicated Minister, and Dutiful Servant to All

Rev. Catherine Parker, Pastor - Higher Praise Christian Ministries

Rev. Robert T. Harris, Pastor-The Church at the Master's Table, District Heights, MD

Rev. Darrell Wayne Upson

Rev. Doris Upson

Rev. LaVerne F. Finch

Rev. Frankie S. White, Sr.

Rev. Dr. Kendrick Bailey

 

Licensed and Sharing the Gospel

William Greer

James Irving Parker

Jonathan Smith

Ernest L. Coleman

Thomas Bland

Wilbert N. Green

Earlene Cumberlander

Min. Tracy Brown-Campbell

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