History

As a prelude to the formation of a Baptist Church in the community of Belle, a Sunday Church School was organized on the last Sunday of March, 1916 in the old school house on Simmons Creek, where it continued meeting until being formally organized. Ira Hemmings and C.S. Ashley led in the formation of this Sunday school, Ira served as superintendent, assisted by Clifford Slack, and Marie Slack served as secretary.

On Wednesday, May 5, 1920 a business meeting was held on the porch of J.K. Nelson’s home, with the Rev. W.H. Kersey presiding; a building committee was elected; and a new church was begun. The founders of the new church had $42.00 in funds and much faith as they began construction on Lot #71. Section I, Town of Belle, “conveyed” to the church by Plus R. Levi and Isabelle Levi.

Christmas Services were held in the new church in 1920. The first Revival Services were held from January 4 to January 19, 1921. On the latter date the organizational meeting of the church was held, and the first Deacons and Trustees were chosen. There were 40 Charter Members.

On February 25, 1921 the Counsel of Recognition of sister churches confirmed the organization of the church, and it was placed on record legally as The Missionary Baptist Church, but acquired the name Judson from the great Adoniram Judson at the suggestion of C.E. Schnell.

Dedication Services were held November 19, 1922. The morning message was brought by the Rev. Pat Withrow, and at 2:00 PM, Reverend J.F. Frame delivered the dedicatory address.

In 1933 classrooms and a kitchen were added to the back of the church to accommodate a growing congregation.

Due to expansion of DuPont Plant, the church agreed March 4, 1935 to sell the church property for $800.00, retaining the right to all furnishings and the Belle DuPont donated $3200.00 toward the purchase of three lots in the Massey Addition. Later one and a half lots were purchased north of this property for $600.00.

Meeting August 29, 1935, the membership approved construction of the second church building at an expenditure of $9500.00 with $5000.00 being borrowed from the American Baptist Convention. Most of the work was done by volunteers. Dedication Services for the new church were held on Easter Sunday, 1937. A fund drive was held April 5, 1942. Indebtedness of $2109.62 was paid in full, and the note was burned on Mother’s Day – May 10, 1942.

An Education Building was added in 1949 along with a parsonage. Later the parsonage was moved to its present location on Ninth Street in order to make room for the new sanctuary, which was completed in October 1963.

Pastors who have served at Judson include: B.F. Howell, J.E. Hartman, J.C. Jordon, W.H. Kersey, J.T. Stephens, E.W. Webster, C.L. West, F.A. Robertson, W.B. Miller, W.I. Barkley, G.R. Pauley, R.C. Thornbury, J.D. Hodges, William Millar, Syl G. Adkins, Jeffrey B. Meadows, Jon G. Jennings, Ronald C. Burnsworth and currently Charles T. Bolen.

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