Vol 3: No 2 Spring 2014
Election of First Four Women Deacons
After establishing a rotating deacon’s system for the Church, and electing 10 new deacons to serve with three deacons remaining on the diaconate, the church voted on Sunday March 11, 1951 to elect “four ladies as deaconess.” Due to lack of time the election was postponed until March 18, 1951. At that meeting the following ladies were elected by secret ballot to serve as deaconesses; Mrs. J.G. (Esther) Goodwin, Mrs. R.E. (Myrtle Mae) Bivins, Mrs. W.B. (Vivian) Coleman and Mrs. J.L. (Sybil) Rosemond. The ordination service was held at 2:00 PM following a “bountiful meal” on Sunday April 8, 1951. The following ministers took part in the ordination service: Rev. J.R. Greene, John Lambert, Bryant Carr, W.H. Rittenhouse and M.A. Huggins. Charles Maddry was beginning his second pastorate of the church.
The first mention of women serving as deacons in Baptist literature appeared in a 1609 writing by John Smyth. Regarding the autonomy of the local church, he wrote, "…the church hath power . . . to Elect, approve & ordain her own Deacons both men & women." Even so, few Baptist churches in North America took up the practice of ordaining women as deacons or deaconesses. Raleigh’s Millbrook Baptist Church ordained two women deacons in 1922. In 1964, the Watts Street Baptist Church in Durham, NC ordained Addie Davis into the ministry, the first Southern Baptist Church to do so. Although we were not the first church in North Carolina to do so, we are among the earliest Southern Baptist Churches to ordain women as deacons and also into the ministry. Ms. Wanda Hardee Kidd was ordained in 1983 being the first woman candidate to be recommended for ordination by the Mt. Zion Baptist Association and Kaye Williams Crawford was ordained in1984. She served as our associate pastor for several years while completing her doctorate of divinity at the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Currently, churches that are affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) are more apt to have women deacons than those that are affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.
You saw them everywhere during World War II. Parent’s homes displayed flags in their windows with one or more stars for each family member that was in service. Multiple-star flags were prominently displayed in churches like the one shown in this wedding photograph taken in 1944 at Hillsborough First Baptist. It appears that 53 sons and daughters of the church were in service when this photograph was taken.
The number of blue stars on a service flag represented each member of the family that was in service. The blue star was replaced by a gold star whenever a family member lost their life in service of our country. Since the photograph is in black and white, it is difficult to determine if any member of the church had lost a love one during the war. No mention of the War is made in the church’s conference minutes. However, we do know that over 6,000 North Carolinians lost their lives during the War. Let us remember always to keep the men and women who serve in our military services in our daily prayers.
Former Pastor Tidbits – Glen Holt
E. Glen Holt was called as pastor on April 22, 1962. He resigned his ministry at Grassy Creek Baptist Church, Oxford, NC and moved with his wife Joyce and son Mark to Hillsborough the week of May 27th. He arrived at the height of the civil rights movement in the South and a question arose as to what action the church would take if “a number of colored people visited our church.” The matter was referred to the deacons and on July 10th , the deacons recommended and the church approved, the motion that “all persons who come to church to worship be seated.”
When he moved to Hillsborough, the Church was in the process of building a new parsonage. The Holts hosted an open house in the new parsonage on June 16, 1963. After serving four years, he resigned his ministry at Hillsborough in June 1966. The call was to Mt. Olive Baptist Church, Mt. Olive, NC. In the letter to the congregation, he said,” You have given me the freedom and the responsibility to be your minister and I have tried to serve to the best of my ability … you are a wonderful people to serve.” Holt’s service to the Church did not end in 1966. He continued through the years to be a prime resource for pastoral search committees who sought his advice and recommendations of candidates. Holt received his Doctor of Divinity degree from Methodist College in 1993. Holt also has the distinction of being the longest serving minister (1969 to 1999) of the First Baptist Church of Fayetteville, NC. The Holts currently live in Athens, GA.
First Church Pictorial
The first church pictorial that we have in the archives was published in 1970 by the Pictorial Church Directories of America, St. Louis, MO. George Simmons was the pastor at the time. According to the inside cover, the church had 417 members including 87 non-residents. The church budget was $33,030. The sketch of the church was drawn by Nancy Cornwell, most likely a friend of the Simmons while living in Wadesboro, NC.
Wouldn’t it be great if we had church pictorials dating back to at least the turn of the 20th century? What a great addition that would be to our church records. By the time of this newsletter, we will have completed taking pictures for our newest pictorial that is to be published this summer. Let’s thank Geralene Champion, Kent Murray and Harry Robinson for heading up our pictorial task force.
First Baptist Church Hillsborough NC
201 W. King Street
Hillsborough, NC 27278