ACADEMY BAPTIST CHURCH 200 YEAR SERVICE 2012

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`Academy Baptist Church

By Cecil Buffington

It must have been around 1950 or so when I made my first visit to Academy Baptist Church.  My aunt Nell Williamson and Uncle Ray Williamson never failed to attend the Sunday services.  Uncle Ray was a deacon along with Grover Shumake, Bob Blackstock, Terrell Benton and several others whose names escape me at the moment.  It has been over 60 years!

My earliest memories of the church are of my childhood friends that attended the little country church.  Douglas Shumake, Johnny Pruitt, Charles Oliver, Neda Stringer, Jane Blackstock, Joel Stringer, James Stringer, Buster Covington, and many others that literally grew up with me attending Academy Baptist.

It was at Academy Baptist Church that I climbed onto the back of a mule for the first time.  Naturally I fell off. Damaging a good pair of pants and skinning up my elbows during the misadventure.  Douglas Shumake would often ride a mule to the Sunday Services and tie it to the China Berry tree just in front of the church during services.  On this day, I let him talk me into getting on that mule.  Big mistake.  I didn't place my feet under the legs of the mule as Doug had told me to do and I fell off.  I have never been on the back of a mule or horse since that day.

I remember the little baptismal pool back through the woods that I had watched Johnny Pruitt baptised in.  I never joined Academy Baptist Church.  As a teen I started attending another church and left the many wonderful memories of Academy Baptist Church behind. 

I have never forgotten  the memories of the church.  The wonderful annual reunions that were held on the church grounds and later in the yard of Mr. and Mrs. Bob Blackstock.  Bar b que and stew at its best. Vacation Bible School.  Wednesday night prayer meeting, and the Sunday School teachers I had during those times.  Ms. Martha Jo Blackstock, Ms. Hilda Tonge, and all the other shakers and movers that made the church successful as a great place to visit and worship in.

Now as the church commemorates its 200th year, I may not be a part of the Academy Church Community, but the little white church in the woods will always be a big part of my youth.

God bless you Academy Baptist Church.  I hope you are still around for a 400th anniversary celebration on down the road. 

Click on photos to enlarge

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Academy Baptist Church celebrated its 200th anniversary on April 29th, 2012

A cross prominently displayed on front of the grand ol' church.

Display with church brochures.

Church brochure.

Dr. Lex Bowen of the Sarapta Baptist Association reads from award presented to Academy Baptist Church.

Dr. Lex Bowen.

Jimmy Craft and friends provide some entertainment.

The crowd gathers.

Waiting on ceremony to begin.

Waiting and listening.

Ageless!

Jefferson Mayoy Jim Joiner makes presentation for the City of Jefferson.

Ashley Shumake with more entertainment.

Plenty of food available.

The food line is moving.

Looking for a place to have a meal.

Current pastor, Eric Shelton and wife, Betty. Former pastor and Wife, Louise.

A good Jefferson turnout.

Every one had a great time.

Not much change over the years!

Ms. Martha Jo Blackstock presented some Academy Baptist Church History.

The young people had a great time.

The seniors had a great time.

Nelson Shumake had a great time.

Beautiful day for a great event.