Jerusalem Baptist Church 1881 -2016
Jerusalem Baptist Church was first organized in 1881. It was originally located on Dukesville Road approximately five miles east of Spencer, North Carolina.
In 1908 the church was relocated to North Long Street. Mr. Robert Henry Fox, Mr. John Fitzgerald, and Mr. Eddie Lee Smith, church trustees, purchased a lot for seventy-five dollars from Mr. James D. Dorsett for a new church building. Jerusalem Baptist Church has remained on this same lot since that time.
Reverend James B. Watson was called to be the first minister of the newly organized Jerusalem Baptist Church. He served as pastor for fifteen years.
Between 1923 and 1938 several itinerant ministers were called to lead the congregation. These short-term ministers include Reverend Saunders, five years, Reverend Tutt, six years; Reverend Charlie Hailey, five years; Reverend McCoy, and Reverend Burns for an unknown period of time. Because these ministers also served other churches, Jerusalem held its church service on the first and third Sundays.
In 1939, Reverend William McKinney Wyatt was called to Jerusalem as the first permanent pastor. He served Jerusalem faithfully for thirty-four years. Reverend Wyatt was also pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Salisbury, NC. Services continued to be held at Jerusalem on the first and third Sundays at 2 p.m.
In 1962, Under Reverend Wyatt's leadership the church purchased two adjacent lots from Mr. and Mrs. Robert D. Kirk and Mr. and Mrs. Leon Brown for the future expansion and refurbishing of the church. It was the desire of the church members to add a fellowship hall, classrooms, and bathrooms to the existing facility.
In 1963, the church was rebuilt and the back lot designed for the church cemetery. Between 1971 and 1972 an educational building consisting of two classrooms, two restrooms, choir room, pastor's study, conference room, and fellowship hall were constructed. The new addition also included a water fountain and central heating system. Jerusalem held annual revivals and homecomings that were enjoyed by all in the community.
Reverend Wyatt was very involved in the Rowan Baptist Association and the North Carolina General Baptist State Convention and held several positions within these organizations. Through his leadership Jerusalem joined the two organizations and continually supports their efforts. After the death of Reverend Wyatt in August 1973, Reverend A.T. Evans served as interim pastor for one year.
In September 1974, Reverend Charlie Blakeney, Sr. was called as pastor. The first major change for the church after hiring Reverend Blakeney was to have the church service at eleven o'clock each Sunday. During his ten years at Jerusalem, the church installed a central air condition system and a baptismal pool, purchased an organ, piano, pew Bibles, hymnals, and added new carpet and pew cushions.
Upon the ill health and later death of Reverend Blakeney in 1984, Reverend Simon Douglas Jr. became the interim pastor. Reverend Douglas was installed in 1985 and was pastor until 1987. Under his guidance and leadership the church updated and purchased office equipment to print church programs. The first Vacation Bible School was also started during Douglas's tenure.
Reverend Thomas Conner and Reverend Eddie Scott served as interim minister for Jerusalem from 1987 to 1988. In August of 1988, Reverend Eddie Scott was called as pastor. During his six years at Jerusalem, Reverend Scott led the church in the purchase of its first van and started a Van Ministry. The church parking lot was paved in 1990, and new pulpit furniture and a carport for the van was purchased. In 1994, six acres of land behind the church was purchased. Reverend Scott left Jerusalem in September 1994 to start his own non-denominational church. From October 1994 until August 1995, Reverend Geno Evans served as interim pastor of Jerusalem.
In August of 1995, Reverend Eric Henley was called to lead Jerusalem. He served as pastor for five years. Reverend Henley's vision was to have a church that served the community. He led Jerusalem in sponsoring the first City Wide Crusade, which was held at Livingstone College in 1998. Other crusades were held in 1999 and 2000. In 1997, the church purchased the corner lot next to the church. In 1995, under Reverend Henley's leadership the church upgraded its office equipement to include a computer system, a financial software program, and an outside storage building (1996). A new organ, electric piano, and security system were purchased and the public address (PA) system was also upgraded. Reverend Henley left Jerusalem in May of 2000 to start his own non-denominational ministry.
In 2001 after serving as interim pastor, the Jerusalem congregation called Reverend David L. Bracken of Reidsville, North Carolina, as pastor. That same year, Jerusalem was also blessed to receive property from Dr. Cecil Farrington, which is located in China Grove, NC. Under Reverend Bracken's leadership, Jerusalem began a three phase building project. Phase one of the building project was a new church.
On Sunday , July 20, 2003 a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the new edifice. The new church was completed in September, 2004 and consists of a larger sanctuary, classrooms, office space, a conference room, and a nursery. The Jerusalem Chruch family marched from the old church to the new church for morning worship on September 26, 2004. Dedication of the new church was held on Sunday, October 3, 2004 with the Reverend Gregory Moss as the evening speaker.
During Pastor Bracken's tenure he has led Jerusalem in developing a mission statement, restructured the Youth Ministry, improved the operation of the Finance Department, ordained four deacons and three deaconess, added additional trustees, was instrumental in converting the old church sanctuary into a functional fellowship hall and started the first JBC Tutorial Program and computer lab by securing a grant from Food Lion Inc.
In January 2005, Jerusalem Baptist Church became incorporated. Under the leadership of Rev. Bracken Jerusalem have been blessed with the addition of two associate ministers. Rev. Sydney Moore in 2006 and Rev. John Bankhead Jr. in 2008. In 2009, Jerusalem developed a web site, photography ministry and began producing a news letter. In 2011 Minister James Lee preached his initial sermon and joined the ranks of the associate ministers. In 2012 Jerusalem was blessed again with the addition of Rev. Alexis Allen as an associate. 2013 has started off well for Jerusalem and God has added Rev. Barbara Barbour to the church as an associate minister. Future plans for expansion of Jerusalem include a new fellowship hall and renovation of the old church.