HAYS FORK BAPTIST CHURCH OF RICHMOND, KENTUCKY
In 1813 a lot was deeded by John Kincaid and Joseph Barnett on which to build a house of worship. The “Bethel Church of Old School Baptist” was constituted the second Saturday in October, 1813, with Elder Christopher Harris as moderator. Those listed as the constituting members were: Beatty Edmund and wife, Garland Collins, John Moberley, Benjamin Moberley, Sr., Nancy Moberley, Susan Moberley, Elizabeth Moberley, Lavinia Moberley, Benjamin Moberley, Jr., Moses M. Price and Cathrine Price. In this list also appeared the name of “Elder Thomas Walverton.” From this record it seems that Christopher Harris was the first pastor, and the second was Thomas Walverton.
In 1962 in his booklet, “History of Hays Fork Baptist Church,” former Pastor, Morgan Hahn writes concerning the location of the original church: “Mr. Tom Ballard, one of the oldest members and a trustee of Hays Fork Church for many, many years, has rendered much assistance by pointing out the exact location of the original church building. His father once owned the fam where the original structure had been built. The exact location may still be found by the pieces of brick and stone with a few daffodils marking the place where this building once stood.” There are some old stones lying on a flat area between Hays Fork Lane (old U.S. 25) and Hays Fork Creek. These lay about thirty yards inside the fence on the southwest corner of what is now the Bluegrass Army Depot.
The church was reconstituted in June 1819. On the first page of an old leather-bound Church Record Book is found the following statement: “We, the Baptist Church of Christ, Hays Fork, Madison County, Kentucky, was constituted on the 29th day of June, 1819, by the following Brethren (to whit) Andrew Tribble, John Elliott, Josiah Gentry, Josiah Collins, James Moore, Jesse Cobb, Michael Baker, Richard Gentry, Joseph Mills and Samuel Kelley, on the principles of general union with 21 members and 18 rules of decorum”. Josiah Collins was chosen as the first pastor. William Yates and John Reid were deacons.
A doctrinal statement was also written in those early records. It says, “We believe in those Doctrines relative to the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, the Sacred authority of the Scriptures, the universal Depravity of human nature, the total inability of Man to help themselves without the power of divine grace, the necessity of repentance and faith toward God and Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, in justification of our persons entirely by the Righteousness of Christ implanted, Believers Baptism by immersion and self Denial. The Supreme Judge by which all controversies of Religion are to be determined, all Decrees of councils, opinion of ancient writers, doctrines of Men and private Spirits are to be examined and in whose sentences we are to rest, can be no other but the holy Scriptures directed by the Spirit into which Scriptures so delivered our faith is finally resolved.”
There was given to the church in 2003 some minutes written by Mrs. Anna House, wife of Roscoe House, a deacon of Hays Fork Church. These minutes were in the possession of Kay Underwood, wife of W. F. Underwood, president of Oneida Baptist Institute. Mrs. Underwood is the daughter of the late William Atto who served as pastor of Hays Fork in 1956 – 1957. Our church is grateful to her. These minutes were read to the church on November 9, 1954. In that meeting, Mrs. House gives the following information. “In 1885 Bro. F. Rice, Jr. was appointed by the Association to write the history of Hays Fork Church. I, Anna House, have been very fortunate in getting Bro. Gordon Terrill to supply this report for me. I will read it word by word as it was written in 1885.” At that point she reads that history. (There was no additional information given other than what we now have.) At the end of the history there is this statement: “This history was compiled by F. Rice. He spent much time in collecting from books and people who knew of many things in Hays Fork Church. Constituted in 1819. Read at ninety second (92) annual session of the Tates Creek Association at Silver Creek, Madison County, Kentucky, August 25, 1885. I was there – Edna K. Rice.”
Another history was written by Fount Rice in 1913. Other than these two records, there is very little record of events from 1813 to 1860. We do know that about one-half of the membership in 1848 were servants.
In December 1848 it was agreed to dissolve the church. In May 1849 a call was made by a number of brethren for re-constitution. June 1, 1849, representatives from the churches at Viney Fork, Red Lick, and Centerville met at Hays Fork. A committee was appointed to request all who were members of the Hays Fork Church prior to January 1849 to meet on June 30th for the purpose of reconstitution. On June 30th a number of members met and resolved that Hays Fork Church rescind the act of the January meeting declaring the church dissolved and that she continue to worship as Hays Fork Church.
On June 16, 1860, the membership roll listed 100 members and listed separately were fifty-two “Black Brethren remaining in the Baptist Church.” In August 1860 it was resolved that we dismiss the Black Brethren from the Hays Fork meetinghouse. In that same meeting the church voted that the Black Brethren have the back four seats and a committee of three was appointed to see that they occupy them.
In March 1861 the church voted to establish an “arm” or a mission at Cave Springs in Jackson County.
In July 1872 it was taken under consideration the propriety of organizing a Sunday School program. No action was taken.
In November 1874 a motion was made that the church elect a Treasurer whose duty it would be to levy and collect a “Tax” of fifty cents on each Brother and twenty-five cents on each Sister per month until the debt of the church was satisfied. The annual Salary for the pastor in 1874 was $150.00.
In April 1876 the pastor was released from his duties for one month so that he might engage in Centennial work. During that same meeting an agent for the church, G. W. Broadus, was appointed to secure pay from the government for damages done to the church during the war. There is no record that the church ever received anything.
During the early years of the church it was the practice for the deacons to call on the membership of the church to subscribe for the pastors salary for the following year. However, in August 1881 a resolution was passed to take “public collection” for church expenses on Sunday morning of regular meeting days.
In December 1888, because of the condition of the church house, preaching was removed to the Kingston school house.
In May 1891 the church gave $2.15 to missions; in July $2.40 for Associational Missions; and in September the church gave $2.50 for the Orphans Home.
During the meeting of March 25, 1892, it is recorded: “Bro. Fountain Rice tendered to the church a lot near Kingston on which to build a church house and a partial subscription to build same. On motion both were accepted. Deed to be made to trustees of Church as directed by donor”. A committee was appointed to further solicit funds and have the house erected. All members were requested to aid the building committee.
In November 1892 the building committee reported on work done to date and reported “debt incurred to date not provided for” was $96.00. November 1894 the building committee reported $743.00 paid out and a balance of $234.17 unpaid.” Dedication services for the new building were held in December 1894. In January 1896 it was reported that the building was paid for and the building committee was discharged. Here is the order of service for the dedication of the church building in 1894.
Hymn – “All Hail the Power of Jesus Name”
Prayer & Short Talk – Pastor
Brief History of the Church – Fountain Rice, Sr.
Hymn – “Come Ye That Love the Lord”
Message by G. W. Duke. Scripture – Philippians 2:16, “Holding Forth the Word of Life”
Hymn – “How Firm a Foundation”
Collection by Fountain Rice, Sr.
Hymn – “To The Work”
Dedication Prayer – C. W. Duke
Hymn – I Gave My Life For Thee”
Benediction by Pastor
In minutes read to the church by Mrs. Anna House (wife of Roscoe House) on November 9, 1954, she gives the following information concerning this new building. “In 1894, this church building was built by Mr. A. M. Venable, father of Mae Venable. I went to see Mr. Venable last Monday evening in the hopes he might have some more information on the subject. This is what he told me: ‘When his father built this building, he made a hole in a stone (the cornerstone) at the corner at my right, and in this hole the members who were present at the time, put a Bible, some records, and probably some more things. Then Mr. A. M. Venable placed a board on top of this hole, put another stone on top and sealed it up. He had heard his father speak of this many times, but he was unable to tell me what the records contained.’” She adds in her own handwriting, “When the new addition was added, the cornerstone was taken up, but all records had been destroyed by water seeping into the stone. The Bible was salvaged but in very poor condition.” The new addition would have been the new Sunday School rooms built in 1956.
The word “United” was removed from the name of the church in June 1895. It was then called “The Baptist Church of Christ at Hays Fork, Madison County, Kentucky.
A common practice during these early years of the church was to investigate members on charges of non-attendance and immoral conduct (the term, immoral conduct covered a multitude of sins, including swearing, gambling, and dancing). In 1900 and 1901 people were excluded from the church for the charge of “heresy”. This was further explained when in 1907 fellowship was withdrawn from several sisters charged with heresy because they had united another denomination (Campbellite or Christian).
On August 26 and 27, 1913, the Tates Creek Association of United Baptist met at Hays Fork in conjunction with the Hays Fork Church Centennial Celebration. A history of the church was read by Fount Rice. Pastor Morgan Hahn in his booklet entitled, “History of Hays Fork Baptist Church,” written in 1962, believes this proves that the original date of constitution held by the church at that time was “the second Saturday in October, 1813.”
The practice of seeing members to obtain “subscriptions” was renewed sometime after 1888, because as late as 1932, we find references to men being elected to contact members to see what each would give to the church. Then in April 1937, we find another motion made to take a Sunday morning offering.
In October 1937 the motion was made and carried unanimously that all debts be presented to our Treasurer, and he pay all bills. He was to make a report to the church at each monthly business meeting.
In February 1938 it was decided to have “full time preaching for the next 6 months”, and the pastor’s salary was to be $20 paid on the 2nd Sunday and $15 paid on the 4th Sunday. October 1938 showed that the church had gone back to half-time preaching, and that we were $9.65 behind with the pastor’s salary. Around 1938 the church began to be referred to as Hays Fork Baptist Church.
In July 1942 motion was made to adopt the graded Sunday School.
In October 1945 the first full time pastor, John Lucas, was called to service. His salary was to be $25 per trip and could be raised or lowered according the financial status of the church.
The practice of observing the Lord’s Supper on every 5th Sunday of a month began in 1946. The church also joined the Pastor’s Retirement fund that same year.
In May 1946 a motion was made that the pastor live on field for the next 3 1/2 months and that the church pay up to $30 per month on his room and board.
In September 1947 motion was made to give a bus committee the authority to purchase a bus. In October 1947 a bus driver was appointed, and he was given the authority to open a charge account for gas and oil for the bus.
In March 1948 motion made that the church furnish one room of the Central Baptist Hospital. The furnishings were to be paid for with the Mother’s Day offering and the balance to be paid by the church treasurer over a period of five years.
In February 1954 the church voted to raise the pastor’s salary to $200 per month beginning in April, and that a suitable house be acquired for him.
In July 1956 the Committee on new Sunday School rooms reported estimated cost would be $700. Construction to begin July 23rd and would be paid for by pledges. Dedication services for the addition were held in June 1958.
In May 1956, a committee was appointed to draw plans and to estimate the cost of all necessary requirements to build a parsonage. Decision was made to build a parsonage in July 1958, but final plans were not submitted for approval until October 1961. These plans were for a three bedroom house including: water heater, storm doors and windows, gutters, hardwood floors, plaster and tile bathroom, full basement, septic tank and weatherboard. The approximate cost of the house was $11,500.00. Plans were approved, but there was further discussion on whether to weatherboard or brick the house. A vote was taken and it was decided to use brick. In November 1961 construction on the parsonage began. April 1962 the church mortgaged the parsonage for $5,500.00 to pay the contractor. It is recorded in the minutes that “Pastor Hahn and family moved into the parsonage on May 31, 1962”. The note at the bank was paid off July 1965.
In September 1965 it was voted to improve the building. The improvements were to include refurbishing the auditorium and basement, build foyer and a new baptistery. In January 1968 the coal furnace was replaced by a new gas furnace at the cost of $610. The coal bin was converted to a kitchen in April 1975. Bathrooms were built onto the church in March 1971. Also in 1971 the windows in the auditorium were replaced by the stained glass windows presently seen.
In May 1982 it was agreed to build onto the church an air-conditioned fellowship hall with kitchen and have all of the church covered with vinyl siding. The dedication for the addition was held on October 3, 1982. On June 3, 1984, the church held a potluck dinner and a “note burning” to celebrate the paid debt for the new addition. The decision was made in August 1985 to install central air-conditioning in the rest of the church. In 1986 we paved our parking lot, and in 1987 we dedicated to service two new Sunday School rooms in the basement.
In February 1988 Paul Baker gave to the church a strip of land that lies behind the church.
In August 1988, the church voted to take a special offering for the Tates Creek Association building program for the new Association Office. In addition it was agreed that we increase by 1% our monthly offering to the Association.
In October 1988, the church voted to improve the parsonage by replacing the gutters and covering the exposed wood with siding.
In October 1990, the church took a giant step in voting to send the pastor, Bro. Vincent Carman, on a volunteer mission trip to Nigeria. It was agreed that the money needed would be raised through special offerings. Over $2,600 was raised. Bro. Carman left for Nigeria on Christmas Day 1990, and was gone for three weeks. Upon his return he reported to the church that through the work of the mission team there were 1554 professions of faith and 1336 rededications.
In December 1991, Bro. Carman returned to the mission field in Nigeria for another three weeks. The church raised $2,100 to cover the expenses of the trip. This time Bro. Carman reported that the team had 3,184 come for salvation and 3,205 for rededication. Since then the church has sponsored Bro. Carman to go on eight more volunteer mission trips – to Zimbabwe, Uganda, and Botswana.
During the summer 1993, we saw the mid-west of our nation in great distress from the “Great Flood of ’93”. In August 1993 the church voted to allow the pastor to go to Quincy, Illinois, to work in disaster relief for the flood victims. In addition to the pastor, our chairman of the deacons, William Middleton, and our church clerk, Janet Maupin, joined in the disaster relief. Since then our church has sent teams on disaster relief to Jacksonville, North Carolina, and Biloxi, Mississippi.
After the church made the first commitment to send the pastor to the mission field, we saw God’s blessings abound. The church met and exceeded the Lottie Moon offering goals, total offerings increased over 10% the first year, and a tight financial situation eased. The church began to grow and improvements were beginning to happen.
In April 1994, the church voted to refurbish the sanctuary. The improvements would include a new sound system, new carpeting, repainting, wallpaper and a textured ceiling. In addition, light fixtures were replaced and heat/air-conditioning vents were moved. The bathrooms also received some attention. The improvements were to be paid for with a special offering.
The church was incorporated on December 11, 1994. The official name of the church is Hays Fork Baptist Church of Richmond, Kentucky, Inc.
In 1995 the thirty-year old furnace was replaced and a chain link fence was installed in the back. 1996 saw a long awaited steeple installed on the roof of the church.
Extended church services for toddlers and children were added in 1999.
The nursery and toddler’s Sunday School rooms were remodeled in 2000. Painting, wallpapering really improved the areas. But the best improvement was a new bathroom between the two rooms.
The kitchen was remodeled in 2003 with new cabinets, flooring, microwave, lighting and ventilation.
The beginning of 2004 brought a new position to the church. It was voted in 2003 to make the youth leader position a paid position. In January 2004 the new youth directors, James and Peggy Bowman, took office. This, along with the growing Children’s Worship Service, has been contributing to a growth in numbers and spirit in our church. This is evidenced by the recent need to enlarge the Youth Sunday School room as well as the Median Adult Sunday School Class room.
The growth of the church and the growth of our community prompted the church to consider the need to enlarge its present facilities. On April 3, 2005, Hays Fork Baptist Church voted to go into a building program, which would include a new 250 seat sanctuary, new fellowship hall, elevator, additional Sunday School rooms, and a complete renovation of the existing facilities. The church broke ground on February 28, 2006. Our church was indeed blessed to have volunteer mission teams come to help us with construction: New Faith Builders (construction) from Alabama; Builders For Christ (roofing) from Georgia; Sunset Road Baptist Church (brick) from North Carolina; Pleasant Dale Baptist Church (drywall) from South Carolina; Hartselle First Baptist Church (construction, drywall, painting, landscaping) from Alabama. We were also blessed to have volunteers from local churches. A special thanks to all those from our own church whole volunteered countless number of hours in this building program.
The first services in our new sanctuary was on the November 19, 2006, the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving fellowship meal was held in our new fellowship hall. The building was completed and dedication service was held on September 23, 2007. Special speaker included Dr. Bill Mackey, Executive Director of Kentucky Baptist Convention, and Rev. Hamilton Valentine, Director of Missions Tates Creek Baptist Association. Special recognition was made to all the volunteers and local businesses who assisted us in this building project. The order of service used included all the songs and Scripture text used in the dedication of our other building in 1894.
“Going through the minute books of our church one can easily see the physical growth of our church, but one can also see the intangible quality that makes us a church, and that is the love of God and the love we have for one another. Certainly, in the past 185 years, there have been disputes but mostly there has been Christian love shown in the care to the homeless, stranded, widowed, heartbroken, sick and injured. We find this love evidenced by the gifts to the Children’s home and the Pregnancy Help Center; aid given to the woman seeking help for her family; the gift to the family whose daughter was hurt in the 1978 tornado; the aid sent to those in Ethiopia, the orphanage in Russia, the victims of Hurricane Andrew, and the great Mid-West Flood of 1993, as well as many other instances to numerous to mention. Let us pray that this love will always be evident as we continue to work together as a church, and in all things honor and glorify our Lord Jesus Christ.” Margaret Tilsley, October 10, 2004.
History compiled by:
Fountain Rice, 1885
Rev. Morgan Hahn, 1962
Margaret W. Tilsley, 1987, 1994, 2004
Rev. Vincent Carman, 2008
Dedicated Church Clerks 1813 – 2008