History of our church
Free Will Baptist Church Tecumseh
The Tecumseh College Free Will Baptist Church was organized at the close of a meeting held by Reverends Haram and Lizzie McAdams with 10 charter members as follows, Rev. John H. Wolfe, Rev. Mrs. Delia S. Wolfe, Rev. W.E. Dearmore, Mrs. Dearmore, Rev. S.L. Morris, Mrs. Grace I. Morris, Rev. H.M. McAdams, Rev. Mrs. Lizzie McAdams, Mr. D.M. Scrivens and Mrs. S.M. Aldridge.
Rev. S.L. Morris was elected Pastor and served for about 4 months at which time he resigned in favor of Rev. Samra Smith in order that Bro. Smith might be retained as teacher in the college.
Rev. Samra Smith was elected for 1 year, taking charge of the Church about the first of September 1917, and Continued pastor until October 19, 1921, at which time the church met and declared the church was without a pastor and re-elected Rev. S.L. Morris Pastor for one year.
From the very first, the church increased in numbers and the Lord has manifested His approval of the work by not only adding numbers, but His presence has created a great spiritual atmosphere.
The 1917 adjourned session of the Co-operative General Association convened with our church at which time the college was dedicated to the Lord for Church and College purposes.
The dedication sermon was preached by RE. Robert F. Pittman, of the North Carolina State convention.
Through the splendid and much appreciated efforts of two of our young members, Misses Ada Grover and Wrenza Smith a nice piano was purchased and placed in the church. The money was raised to pay for it in a very few hours, except $44.80, which the Sunday school paid.
The church has. from the beginning maintained a good live Sunday school and a splendid Prayer meeting, from which the Church has from time to time received several members.
The first convert was in the Prayer Meeting: Mrs. Florence Ritchie.
Also a young Peoples Society was organized which has proven a great benefit to our young people.
The Church continues up to this date, December 3, 1921, under God to grow in power and influence, with a full set of officers and with a membership that was listed on the pages following this writing.
Rev. S. L. Morris was elected pastor and served for about four months at which time he resigned in favor of Rev. Samra Smith in order that Bro, Smith might be retained as teacher in the College.
Rev. Samra Smith, Pastor -About September 1, 1917, continued until October 19, 1921.
Rev. S. L. Morris, Pastor -October 1921 until his death, May 16, 1922.
Rev. Luster Reger, Pastor -May 26, 1922, elected pastor to fill unexpired tenn of Bro. Morris. Served through October 8, 1922.
Rev. Hearron, Pastor -December 1922 to March, 1923. Paid Pastor $20.00 per month.
No minutes from June 29, 1923 to September 14, 1925.
There was one record of minutes on September 14, 1925.
No minutes from September 14, 1925 to August 7, 1929.
In the year 1927, during the time no minutes were recorded the Free Will Baptist College burned. The Church met in the College building, More information has been found in two newspapers printed at that time.
Tecumseh County Democrat, Friday, February 25, 1927: “TECUMSEH COLLEGE DESTROYED BY FIRE. —Fire of unknown origin completely destroyed the Free Will Baptist College here at 5:30 o’clock Wednesday afternoon, February 23, 1927. The institution was formerly the Indianola Business College.
The Shawnee Morning News, February 24, 1927, story added to the above account that the college was” ••• the only Free Will Baptist institution west of the Mississippi” •.• “the library was saved ••• the fire, believed caused by defective wiring, started in the roof .•• low water pressure made it impossible to check the flames ••• the land mark building erected in 1901 ..• taken over by the Free Will Baptist denomination in 1911.
“Bro. Cecil Horner, Pastor -August 7, 1929 to December 9, 1929.
No minutes from December 9, 1929 to November 23, 1930.
Church met in Conference November 23, 1930 to elect delegates to Quarterly Meeting.
No minutes from November 23, 1930 to August 17, 1931.
Rev. Arthur Clareda, Pastor -August 17, 1931 to August 26, 1933.
October 10, 1931 -October 28, 1931, has a revival meeting. Bro. Ed Morris evangelist. Attendance small and but little interest at the beginning of the meeting but interest building up and five souls were converted and one reclaimed before the close of the services. Great revival spirit at close of revival on Wednesday night, October 28, 1931.
August 1932 – Church had a revival meeting, Bro. Johnson, state Evangelist in charge.
July 1933 – Revival, on July 9th at the close of the first week of the revival we collected and paid $2.98 to Bro. Yandell, he having quit the revival.
Rev. O. D. Wade, Pastor – September 19, 1933 to August 23, 1935.
July 21, 1924 – During the revival just closed by the State Evangelist, Bro. O’Donald, there was $13.71, collected also some groceries.
Rev. A. B. Epperson, Pastor – August 1935 to June 1937.
June 26, 1936 Business Conference – Sis. Clark gave report of what was paid the Evangelist at close of revival, which started the last Sunday in May. The amount in full was $15.00, $2.95 from church treasury and $2.95 from Aid treasury, and remainder was given by members of church and one general collection.
Rev. Robison, Pastor – June 1937 to March 1938. To fill unexpired term of Bro. Epperson.
November 5, 1937, Free Will Baptist Church dedicated. Bro. Carter of Wewoka, Oklahoma, officiating.
Rev. R. G. Lane, Pastor – July 1938 to August 1939.
Rev. Paul Pursell, Pastor – November 1939 to June 1941.
Rev. Paul Pursell, and Rev. Cleo Pursell, ‘Pastors – June 1941 to June 1942.
November 1939 – Talk by Bro. Epperson in regard to how we as Free Wills can buy the church building. He also stressed that when it failed to be used as a Free Will Church that the property was his.
March 21, 1941 – Motion made and seconded that the church buy lots on the comer of S. Range Line and Washington streets, on which to build a parsonage for the church. The Board of Trustees was instructed by the church to buy the lots, which they did. Purchase price of same was $40.00. A Quick Claim Deed was obtained. A down payment of $5. 00 was made. A note was made for balance on 6 months time without interest. Pledges for payments on the lots were made.
May 26, 1941 – Motion made and carried that Board of Trustees either buy or reject the house under consideration for parsonage. The Board bought this house at purchase: price, $125.00. They also hired a man to move the house. $40.00 was to be paid for the moving.
Rev. Evert Brown, Iastor – July 1942 – May 1943.
Rev. A. B. Epperson, Pastor – July 1943 to August 1948.
Rev. W. S. (Stan) Mooneyham, Pastor – August 1948 to Augu5t 1949.
Rev. lewis V. Wood, Pastor – September 1949 to Jmie 1951.
Rev. Delbert Akin, Pastor – July 1951 to June 1956.
February 29, 1952 – Voted that we send the State Association $25.00 for promotion of National Convention to convene in Shawnee in July.
May 30, 1952 – Voted to buy a 5 room frame building. The house was purchased and moved onto church grounds for use as Sunday school rooms. This was on the North side of old Church building.
November 5, 1954 – Voted to build a new 3 bedroom parsonage on South half of the lots the present parsonage is on.
November 5, 1954 – Voted to support our denomination in the Co-Operative plan of operation of the State Association. (Which will be to send a tenth of our church income to State Co-Operative plan to be distributed to the different phases of our denominational work.)
Rev. Jerry Rhoades, Pastor – July 1956 to September 1958.
March 1, 1951 – Voted to advertise the old parsonage for sale and ask $2000.00 for it.
Old parsonage was sold between March 1, 1951 and April 5, 1951 for $1500.00 as is, $500.00 down and $20.00 a month with 6% interest.
May 3, 1951 – Voted to build a new auditorium, 4o X 60 feet in front of old church and that a baptistry be included in the plans for new auditorium.
Rev. Charles Moyers, Pastor – October 1953 to October 1959.
Rev. Carl Sharp, Pastor – November 1959 to April 1962.
October 1960 – Voted to install a P. A. sound system in the auditorium.
May 1962 Rev. Leroy Bowers – Fill-in Pastor for one month.
Rev. A. R. (Roma) Stewart, Pastor – June 1962 to November 1964.
June 29, 1962 – Voted to fom a Junior Sunday School Department.
January 3, 1964 – Voted to build more Sunday school rooms and that they be fixed to tie into the old building on north side. Voted to buy new pews.
Rev. Jack Richey, Pastor – January 1965 to May 1966.
Rev. Jim Cearley, Pastor – June 1966 to November 1968.
Rev. Horward Hensley, Pastor – January 1969 to January 1971.
Rev. Roma Stewart, Pastor – February 1971 to November 1976.
May 6, 1972, Voted to brick the church.
May 7, 1973 – Voted to offer Epperson heirs $100,00 each to sign so we can get a clear Deed on church property.
September 16, 1976 – Voted we begin tearing down old Sunday school rooms and build new Sunday school rooms. (When the new auditorium was built in 1957 it was built onto the front of the old church building, which was converted into Sunday school rooms, this is the Sunday school room that was torn down.)
January 2, 1974 – Voted to purchase 30 feet of property joining church property on the east.
Rev. Jim Cearley, Pastor – February 1977 to November 1986.
December 21, 1977 – Voted to purchase church sign to be placed in front of the church.
August 2, 1978 – Voted to install a drive through carport at the side door on the south side of church building.
August 16, 1978 – Voted to buy a 12 passenger Van for transportation for church activities.
December 3, 1980 – Voted to construct metal building for class rooms and fellowship hall.
October 6, 1982 – Voted to renew Building Loan to $70,000.00, giving us $8,000.00 to remodel our sanctuary.
July 11, 1984 – Voted to install a Burglar Alarm system for entire premises of church building and annex building.
Rev. Harry Standley – Intern Pastor – August 25, 1985 to October 5, 1986.
May 7, 1986 – Voted to organize, set-up and operate a Day Care Center in our facilities. This will be set-up with a Board of Directors who will make a monthly report to the church. Although operated independently of the church they will be subject to the church.
Rev. Dale Smith, Pastor – December 1986 to November 27, 1988.
Rev. Delbert Akin, Pastor – January 1, 1989 to January 5, 1992.
Rev. Roger Ballard, Pastor – January 12, 1992 to 2000.
Rev. Kenny Myers 2000-2002.
Rev. Jeff Hogan 2003-2006.
Rev. Kenny Myers 2006-2008.
Rev. Rhett Burnett 2008-2013.
Jeremy Lack 2013-2014.
Rev. Jason D Hart 2015 – 2020.
Anthony LaGrange 2020 – Present
The Church is in a rebuilding time. We are growing and doing God’s work. We need some building restoration and more workers!