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Early Years of Adda Baptist Church – Part 2

Editor’s Note:
In January of 1985, Wanda Hodges Gibson compiled a church history for Adda Baptist Church dating from 1871 to 1985. In recognition of Adda’s 150th birthday celebration the Breeze is publishing Wanda Gibson’s 1985 history. Adda Baptist Church celebrated its 150th anniversary with special homecoming services on August 21 and 22, 2021. The first installment was pulished Thursday, August 26. The second installment follows:

I also found in the old minutes, July 1909, that our church had been sending delegates to the Teays Valley Association Meeting held at different churches every year. The first recording meeting held at Adda was August 26 – 27, 1942. Delegates for this meeting were C.E. Hodges, S.A. Mason, Vincent†Hodges, Delmar Meadows, J.E. Hodges and C.C. Billups. An additional committee was set up to arrange for the meeting. Members were Lyle Hodges, Hubert Billups, Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Grant, J.V. Erwin and Donald Call. Iola Billups, Icel Hodges, and Helen Billups were the entertaining committee. We still send delegates to these meetings.

September 2, 1944 minutes stated that, “at the annual meeting of our West Virginia Baptist Laymen at the Baptist Camp, Cowen, West Virginia August 18, 19, 205h, a resolution was adopted to secure a laymen in each of our W.Va. Baptist churches to serve as chairman of our men’s work in his local church. In compliance to the request Brother Denver Hodges was chosen for this important position.”

The July 1947 minutes records a motion was made to entertain the Teays Valley Baptist Sunday School Convention at Adda on July 29-30.

August 1947 minutes stated that, “a committee of seven was appointed to assist the pastor in the Crusading for Christ through evangelism.”

In 1911, the pastor’s salary was $60.00 a year. In 1919, he was paid $8.33 1/3 cents per trip and in 1926, they raised this sum to $10.00 per trip. In 1949, the pastor’s salary jumped to $50,00 per month. Keep in mind that in 1908, they were only having one service a month and it was held on Saturday before the 3rd Sunday. A few years later it was two services a month. In 1944, they began five services a month. The minutes stated that “Rev. C.J. Byrnside was elected pastor in August 1944, and that the church expected five services a month by home. He would receive $15.00 per trip.” Full time services came into effect in January 1954 with Rev. Wilmer Garrett as pastor. His salary would be $150.00 per month. Most pastors were elected for only one year at a time. Then, at the end of the year, if he wished to stay they would reelect him. As far as I could find in the records, Rev. P.A. Mitchell was the last pastor on a yearly basis. I believe Rev. Mitchell also has the record for being pastor of Adda the longest. At the present time we are fortunate to have as our Pastor, Rev. Forrest Curry whose salary is $300.00 a month.

From the yearly to the mid 1900’s, most preachers would come into the community the day before the services. Then he would spend the night with someone in the community, have services the next day, stay all night again, and then start home the following morning.

In the early 1900’s most services were held on Saturday with business meeting following at 2:00 or 2:30 pm. At certain times, after 1926 they would meet at 8:00 pm calling this “Early Lamp Light services.” While reading the records, this is one of the things that I found to be quite funny. With the time changing so often, I really do not know how they knew what time the next meeting hour would be. For instance, in April 1912, they met at 3:00 pm. In May and June at 2:00 pm. Then in the month of July, they met at 3:00 pm. Then back to 2:00 pm in August. It was not until September 1950 that they finally decided on a specific time. “On motion and second the church voted to adopt a standard for the evening services as follows: August, September, October, February, March and April to begin at 7:30 pm. November, December and January at 7:00 pm. May, June and July at 8:00 pm.

Business meetings were set on Saturday night before the first Sunday in July 1957. December 1960, business meetings moved to every two months which would be the first Wednesday night of every second month. September 1961, business meeting changed back to regular time. It was in August 1980 that business meeting changed to Wednesday night before the first Sunday of every month.

Communion Services are to be observed the first Sunday of each quarter, so states the minutes of October 1957.

Adda’s homecomings are set for the second Sunday of August according to the minutes of October 1980.

It is believed that between February and May 1913, that rev. L.H. Smith died while pastoring Adda. In the minutes the brethren of the church assessed themselves to see what they could give on Smith’s monument. They collected $11.10.

They were working physically as well as spiritually. During a meeting held in November 1909, there were 7 converted as reported by L.A. Erwin, Clerk. During a Revival held in august 1931, several conversions and baptisms were recorded: These included Clell Erwin, Cecil Sullivan, Albert bird, Ivan Davis, Birdie Moses, Emmer Bird, Mrs. Inez Young, and two member added by experience. In August 1939, the membership was 175. Nine members were added, one restored and two decreased by death. An increase of seven from the previous year. In August 1940, the membership was 219; 42 baptisms, five by experience, one death, leaving an increase of 46. In a letter that was found in the records on November 15, 1936, “the Adda Baptist church began its series of meetings August 8, lasting 16 days. Being the greatest revival in the history of our church which resulted in 49 conversions and baptisms, two by letter and eight by experience making a total of 59 additions to the church. Our beloved pastor Rev. P.A. Mitchell preached the entire series. His sunny disposition and Christian personality won to him, young and old alike. He preached a clear and positive gospel that lifts up Christ as the only hope of a needy humanity, and preaches with such persuasive power that souls are constrained to accept his Lord as theirs.” Signed C.C. Billups, Church clerk.

“We began a series of meetings, October 10, 1971 lasting 14 days. It started out a meeting and turned into a revival with every Christian drawn closer to God. Twelve were saved ranging in age from 11 to 71, being Michael (Dobie) Hodges, age 11; and Rosevelt Meadows, age 71. Several rededicated their lives to Christ. Three brought their membership to Adda by experience. Our Pastor, N.B. Barker and Rev. Charles Moses preached these sermons with power and guidance from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. On October 31, twelve souls were baptized in Hurricane Creek at the old Hodges school Watching the baptismal, a large crowd estimated at around 200 witnessed the emerging of Lois Bird, Mona Erwin, Michael Erwin, Steven Erwin, Michael Hodges, Ronnie Hodges, Pam McDowell, Rosevelt Meadows, Brenda Smith, Ronald Smith, Junior and Kay Ward. A local newspaper, the Putnam Democrat, reporter was at the creek band to record the story and print it in his paper on November 4, 1971.” So you see, the Lord has been here at Adda with the people down through the ages.

We have been very fortunate at Adda to have our own singing groups in recent years. One that I believe everyone enjoyed and were very proud of was The King’s Children, including: Pam Chapman, Michael (Dobie) Hodges, Dennis, Kelli, and Shelli Disney, Denise Gibson, and the late Darrell Call. These fine young people traveled to different churches to represent their Lord and also Adda.

He janitors were known as sextons back in the early records. In 1913, their salary was $10.00 a year. In 1921, it went to $1.00 per month then in 1925 it jumped to $2.00 per month. In 1943, their salary increased to $4.00 per month. In 1953, it went up to $20.00 per month. Since October 1980, the janitor earns $80.00 a month with the stipulation that he takes care of mowing the grass in the summer and turns the furnaces up early in the winter months.

Back in the early days the expense of the church was usually more than the income, but the people always had a vision that the bills would be paid. And so they were. In the 1908 business meeting the finance committee reported $3.25. In 1943, income was $396.45, the expense was $385.45. In 1944 the income was $471.60, the expense was $336.40. In 1950, the income was $860.00, the expense was $723.00. In 1953, the income was $1,363.92 and the expense was $1,175.10. And in 1955, the income was $2,425.000 and the expense was $2,324.78.

Today’s offerings are used as follows:
Sunday School Offering (1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th Sundays)
Electric Bill – Monthly, Sunday School Literature – Quarterly, Flowers – (Mother and Father’s Day) – Yearly, Vacation Bible School, if any (Literature and Picnic) – Yearly, Piano Tuning – Semi-Yearly, Christmas Gifts (Pastor, Superintendents) – Yearly, Christmas Treat – Yearly, Janitor supplies
Sunday School Offering [3rd Sunday (Kept Separate)]
Building Fund (Upkeep on church building) — Jerrell Hodges – Treasurer of Sunday School Offerings
Birthday Offerings – Flowers (Funerals of members, former pastors and those currently going to the church) — Hubert Billups – Treasurer of Birthday Offerings
Class Offerings
Various Projects by Individual Classes. Each Class has own Treasurer
Church Offerings (Morning and Evening)
Pastor’s Salary – Weekly, Gas Bill – Monthly, Missions – Monthly, Janitor’s Salary – Monthly, Insurances – Yearly, Teays Valley Baptist Association Fee – Yearly, Evangelist’s Pay (For Revivals) – Semi-Yearly, Guest Speaker’s Pay, if any — Bob Gibson – Treasurer of Church Offerings

In 1984 the Sunday School income was $2,972.69 and the expense was $2,844.52. The Building Fund income was $895.96 and the expense was $444.23. The roof was replaced on the vestibule and front Sunday school rooms. In 1984 the Church offering was $6,914.99 and the expense was $8,437.24.

The building fund was adopted on May 5, 1945. It was set for the third Sunday School morning offering in the minutes on October 6, 1945. By January 4, 1947 It’s total was $1,031.52. There have been many times that money came from the building fund for projects. Sometimes we have had to take money out of the church or Sunday school offerings to keep it up; but most of the time there has been plenty in it for the projects that we have planned to do. As a m atter of fact, whenever there is a job to do, the money seems to come in, and the working men and women do too. The Lord always blesses us when we step out in faith to do something to beautify His earthly house.

The first time that I found any Insurance fees for the church was in February 1922 when the cost was $4.20. In 1984, we paid our $620.00.

It was necessary to have new outside toilets built in 1937.

They purchased one new stove in 1943 at $47.66, whereas the new stove they purchased one year before had cost $60.65.

It was not necessary to make any radical changes in the building beyond ordinary maintenance until 1937. At that time they purchased new lights at a cost of $21.0 A new roof was necessary in 1938.

It was in late 1947 that the church was wired for electricity.

Two years later, in 1949, the necessity arose for new Sunday School classrooms. Three rooms were built adjoining the back of the sanctuary, with two additional rooms in the basement. The furnishings came in September 1949. The dedication for the new rooms was in July 1952.

It was in the later part of 1950 that the church received gas. Furnaces were then installed. Gas was applied for at the Rationing Board in Winfield in December 1942.

In 1951, a great improvement was made at the approach to the church. It had been previously necessary to cross a large hollow in order to get onto the church grounds. There were two logs laid across with a long board in between to walk on. Tile was laid and the hollow filled in and graveled, therefore giving parking space right in front of the church. I understand that the church paid half and the state Road paid half for the tile. The cost for both $375.00.

In 1952, there was a sign put at the main road entrance. A new one was placed there in 1972. This month, January 1985, Stephen Hodges Jr. purchased anew sign for the main road entrance.

In 1952, new hardwood floors were laid. They were re-sanded in April 1958. In 1957, a new ceiling was added, and the interior walls were covered with tile and knotty pine part of the way up. In the summer of 1973, the tile was painted pale green and the ceiling was painted white by Rev. James Smith and his crew.

In the early forties, Mr. Rudy Sutlovich presented an organ to the church. This is believed to be the first organ that was kept and used in the church. Previously, Mrs. Meedings had brought her organ to be used on such occasions as revivals and special meetings. Then, in 1945, the church bought their first piano and paid for it with a free will offering. The organ was then returned to Stephen Hodges (Mr. Rudy Sutlovich was Stephen Hodges daughter Reba’s Father-in-law). A new piano was purchased by the BYR fin 1957. Then a baby grand piano was purchased in January of 1981 by the BYF. The BYF members worked hard to earn money for this piano. They had a few donations. It is currently used by the church.

The BYF was started in 1957 by Mrs. B.V. King who directed our young people’s meetings until her husband resigned as pastor. BYF stands for Baptist Youth Fellowship. There has been many men and women from the church who have directed and assisted the young people. Some of these are: Clay and Velva Grant, Jr. and Gaye Hodges, Darrell and Verna Moses, Norma Lee Gibson, Rev. and Mrs. Arvil Johnson, Rev. and Mrs. Lewis Villers, Raymond Bird, Emma McDowell, Jerrel and Dixie Hodges, Charles and Margie Moses, Bob and Wanda Gibson, Mary Call, Pam and Roger Chapman, Michael Hodges, Darrell and Kelli Call, Linda Bird, Karen Hodges, Willy and Mary Hodges. Mary Hodges is currently the director. If I missed anyone, I didn’t mean to. Our church has always had an abundance of young people willing to help in any way. In 1984, a Jr. BYF called “THE SUNSHINE GROUP was started under the direction of Nancy Smith and Linda Bird. We are very proud of them also.

The pianist was Emma McDowell from January 1959 until February 1970 with several assistants, including Nancy Hodges, Sue Moses and Dixie Hodges. Dixie was elected in February 1970 and resigned December 31, 1984. Our pianist at this time if Nancy Smith.

There have been several choir directors. Raymond Bird has been director since July 1955. He has had several assistant directors, including Lyle Hodges and Bob Gibson. We have always been fortunate to have others that could lead singing, including Michael Hodges, Nancy Smith, Joyce Jordan, Shelli Disney, Denise Gibson and several others.

New songs books have been purchased several times. We purchased new chairs for the choir in January 1974 at a cost of $162.00 for 24.

In 1956, 1/2 inch galvanized pipe was put up in front of the choir seats with a curtain on it.

In September 1942 Adda had a newspaper called “THE ADDA NEWS.” It was sent out once a month to service boys from the community. Newspaper staff included: Editor – Virginia Billups; Reporters – Icel Hodges, Donald Call, and Ruth Billups Ellis. The minutes does not say how long this went on.

We now have a printed bulletin each Sunday. I am not sure what date the bulletins began, some time in 1979. Pam Chapman was the first typist. Then in early 1981 Denise Gibson was elected. Denise was typist for six to eight months. Currently Wanda Gibson is the typist with Donna Gibson assisting her. Currently the bulletins have a picture of our church on the front. These were purchased in October 1983 by Mr. and Mrs. Dorsel Hodges and the Men’s Class. The Men’s Class pays for all expense of running off the bulletins.

In 1975, new seats and furnishings were purchased for our sanctuary.

In 1959, two Sunday school rooms and a vestibule area were built onto the front of the sanctuary. A new aluminum awning was added out front.

In 1962, the Willing Workers Women’s Class purchased the colored glass for the church windows. New chairs were purchased by the women for their class in 1974 or 1975.

In 1962, a new walk was completed at a cost of $55.50 out front and around the upper side of the church.

In 1963, a sound system was installed at a cost of $295.00.

In 1967, a bell was put up outside. All of life’s wonderful gifts are carried in the sound of a church bell – security, freedom, friendship, peace, faith, hope and love. The call to come sing, pray and give thanks to our Father in Heaven is one of the most satisfying sounds in the world.

In 1971 we celebrated Adda’s first 100 years. 1871 – 1971. There was a motion and second in the February business meeting to have a Centennial Homecoming on the 3rd Sunday in August. The year brought about many great blessings. First, the young people presented an Easter play entitled “DEATH, BURIAL AND RESURRECTION”. Then on August 1, we had an Old-Fashion Sunday School. Most of the congregation came wearing their old clothes from the eldest, Elzie Hodges, down to the youngest, Mark Erwin. Most of the women were dressed in long dresses and bonnets. Most of the men wore bib overalls and wide ties. Our Pastor, Rev. N.B. Baker came wearing his bibs and preached an old-fashion sermon.

On August 15, 1971, we held our Centennial Homecoming. We started with Sunday School, attendance of 71. All classes were together except the small children which were taken to their own class. Lyle Hodges taught the adults. The morning sermon was brought by one of Adda’s former pastors, Rev. Don Taylor.

Little after the noon hour we were out in back of the church having lunch prepared by the ladies of the church.
Inside there was a display of old Bibles and old pictures. Some were from 1900 up to 1971. Pictures of older members who had passed on and pictures of former pastors.

After lunch, we came back in with a larger crowd, approximately 150 and settled down for the evening service which consisted of singing, prayers, and a reading of the church history prepared and read by Wanda Gibson. The evening sermon was brought by another former pastor of Adda, Rev. Louis Villers.

Another wonderful thing that happened in 1971, as already mentioned in the history, in October there was a great Revival with 12 saved. After which was a baptism, the youngest being 11 and the oldest being 71.

Closing the yar, we had a wonderful Christmas play on December 24th. Entered “THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS” directed by Charles Moses.

We have lots of fond memories at Adda in 1971, but some sad memories also. Some of our important members went to be with the Lord. Annie Billups and Lotie Erwin died in September, Gilbert Erwin died in October. Two former pastors died in October also, P.A. Mitchell and G.C. Hutchinson.

I might add that Wanda Gibson fixed a scrap book of the year 1971 including pictures, history, letters and etc. If anyone wishes to see it, please get in contact with me.

In 1971, we installed a new roof, at a cost of $746.96, at which time the old roofing was sold for $98.00. The church, after getting a new hat also needed a new coat, so it received a paint job.

In the year of 1973, we saw many improvements to our church. A well was drilled and rest rooms added. Most of the work and fixtures were donated.

Shortly afterwards the nursery, primary and kindergarten rooms were paneled. New carpet was added to these rooms a few years later.

New carpeting was added in our sanctuary in 1975. Also central hearing and air conditioning was added. Aluminum siding was put on in June of 1976.

The Cross which hangs on the wall behind the pulpit was made by Bob Gibson and David Young in June 1980.

The dusk to dawn light was installed in April 1981 on our new parking lot that was made across the road in 1980. The property belonged to Chalmer and Thelma Grant. He gave it to the church on the condition that it be filled in. It was mostly through voluntary work and equipment that this was done. We will be eternally grateful to the Grants.

New tables and chairs were purchased for the Sunday School rooms. Five tables cost $250.00 and 36 small solid wood chairs cost $756.00. The Senior Class had Bruce Sovine make a table for their class. After having seen how nice a job he did, the church contracted him to make tables for the remaining Sunday school rooms. The old tables and chairs were mostly given to members who wanted them for keepsakes.

The basement was paneled, a new sliding door put up and the furnaces enclosed to remodel the two Sunday school rooms in the basement in 1981.

A new awning to cover the entire front walk was purchased in 1981. Lights were placed under the awning in 1982.

The marquee was added in September 1982. The dedication service for the marquee was held in November, 1982.

All these improvements were heartily approved by the membership, and the funds were donated freely and wholeheartedly by the members and the community.

We, the members of Adda are thankful and proud that we have had the privilege of licensing two ministers that were members of our congregation. Laurel Davis in October 1968 and Charles Moses in January 1970. Brother Charles was dismissed in November 1972 to become pastor of Jordan Baptist church on Route 2, where he is still pastor. Brother Laurel Davis died in 1975. May the Good Lord bless Charles and men like these who go out in the fields to feed God’s sheep like so many pastors have done for Adda.

We are thankful that God has seen fit for us to have the Adda Baptist church, therefore allowing us the freedom to worship. It’s hard to tell how many people have been born the first time while their parents attending Adda. It is also hard to tell how many have been born the second time here at Adda, or the number of weddings, deaths, and people influenced by Adda down through the years.

Adda Church has been the foundation of this community since 1871, and has continued to grow in membership and influence down through an entire century or more.

The beautiful white church, with the country road circling in front and God’s great, green, wonderful woods all around, will continue to grow and prosper and will ever be as it has always been, the very foundation of a fine community—an inspiration and a source of spiritual peace to everyone, a reverent house in which to worship God, our Creator and Redeemer.

And if for some reason you don’t have a place in which to worship, feel free to come worship with the people of Adda Baptist Church. We welcome you.

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