The Shady Grove Baptist Church family will celebrate its 133rd anniversary on Sunday May 25th during the 11: a. m. worship service.
Pastor Lee Byers will deliver the anniversary sermon and the Shady Grove Mass Choir and other choirs will present special music. Each church member will rally with $133 for each year of glorious service and praise. The church youth will present the church’s history via a PowerPoint presentation.
The church has much to celebrate. Frayed and yellow recorded minutes dated 1881 were found in the basement of the home of the late Arie Boyce.
Excerpts from these minute books give valuable clues to Shady Grove’s proud legacy. Page three of a church ledger entry dating February 20 1886, reads, “We met on our meeting day, reading John 15. We sang a song and after this prayer, and went into conference.”
A milestone in the church’s history was reached in 1892 when a band of dedicated and envisioned patriots proposed and planned for a place of worship. No records can be found to indicate where the congregation was meeting at the time of the writing. Records do however indicate that in 1892, less than 30 years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation that freed Negro slaves, this group of Christians bought land for a new church house and agreed to have the property recorded in Gaffney. The members agreed to, “Have a house 36 feet by 24 feet by 10 feet, with 10 windows and two doors.” It was to be built “depot” style.
Another entry dated July 3, 1892, records: “It was agreed to meet and get timber for the church house.” In September 1892, the church decided to “ask help from sister churches.” The importance of their work is expressed in the painstaking way each day’s work was recorded in the official church book. The book includes Christmas programs, tithes, the preacher’s salary and minutes of the monthly meeting.
Several entries enumerate persons who worked and hauled lumber for the new meetinghouse. There were also pages listing the names of members and the amounts they paid on the church and to the pastor. For example, Brother Fernanders spent 17 days working on the church and Brother Gus Harris worked for 20 days plus hauled a load of lumber, rocks, and rafters and paid 25 cents for sills.
Money paid to the church was in 5 and 10-cent parcels for the most part, but sometimes it went up to more than a $1. In October 1894, the church had $30.30 in its treasury. In 1883, Gus Harris paid one bushel of corn to the preacher, Pleas Gaffney paid ½ bushel of corn, and Jim Linder paid ½ bushel of corn and ½ gallon of molasses. Other men paid in similar ways. No other references to this meetinghouse were found.
Shady Grove continues to be a great Church with one body and many members on the battlefield for the Lord.
In December 6, 1987, the present facility was completed after a time of prayerful planning, sacrificing, laboring and working together to make a vision a reality.