Dr. Jeffrey Allen Porter

 
Pastor FBC Hillsborough, 1996-2001
The Church welcomed Dr. Jeffery (Jeff) Porter to the pulpit in October 1996.  He, Susan and their 15-year-old son, Bradsher, arrived in Orange County on the heels of Hurricane Fran.  Trees littered the streets and people were grieved by the damage.  He soon discovered the sacrificial work ethic of the congregation, and for the next five years labored with them in the ministry of the church with the same zeal they used to rebuild their hometown.1 After the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, Porter again had to lead the congregation through the tragedy’s aftermath that evening and the following Sunday.2

During his time as pastor, the Baptist men’s group launched “Operation Inasmuch” in October 1997 using the talents of church members to build ramps, make carpentry repairs, cleanup yards and weatherize homes in the area.  In June 1999, a group made their first trip to Venezuela to partner with and assist the Luz y Verdad (Light and Truth) Baptist Church in Maiquetia to construct a new building.  Additional trips have been made routinely.  The prison ministry expanded to purchase Christmas gifts for inmates to give to their children and money was raised to build a religious service center on the prison campus.   The Porters were instrumental in recruiting Doug Newell from Roxboro, NC to serve as the church’s organist and Director of Music.  Newell enhanced the music ministry of the church and assisted with the church’s refurbishment.  On October 22, 2000, the church voted to establish two back-to-back Sunday Schools to meet the growing needs of children and young adults.  In 2001, the church began a major restoration of the sanctuary, adding new carpet, refurbishing woodwork and chairs, replacing balcony and choir seats, installing a sound system and having a mural painted in the baptistery by Peggy Lee Mead.  A new organ was purchased and dedicated during this time.3   

Porter was born on November 7, 1963 and spent his formative years in East Point Georgia.  He graduated from Mercer University in Macon, GA in 1985 and received his Master of Divinity degree from the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1988.   Jeff was pastor of Pisgah Baptist Church, Fayetteville, NC at the time of his call to First Baptist Church, Hillsborough in October 1996.   

While at Hillsborough, he received his Doctor of Ministry degree from Emory University. Porter left Hillsborough in December 2001 to become the senior pastor of the First Baptist Church, Statesville, NC.  In his final sermon to the Hillsborough congregation, he said, “Where I go, you go with me.  I will always remember the lessons that you have taught me brothers and sisters in the word of God.  I am here this morning to say thank you.”1

The Porters enjoy spending time at their place in the Banner Elk, Boone area.  Bradsher Wilkins and his wife Jennifer live in Hillsborough, North Carolina and have two children.

References:
  1. Hester, Lilyn.  Porter leaving First Baptist after five years as pastor (January 2, 2001).  The News of Orange County; p.1&3.
  2. Fuller, Bethany. Finding faith after 9/11(September 8, 201).Winston-Salem Journal.  Accessed January 25, 2013 at:  http://www.journalnow.com/news/local/article_0e95013a-ec49-5e30-8eb1-64eee258872f.html
  3. Minutes, 1996-2001, from First Baptist Church, Hillsborough, NC Records 1853-2010.
 Compiled by Reginald Carter, Historian, FBC Hillsborough; portrait photographs by Kent Murrary Studios, 2001.
Last Updated: January 26, 2013