Researched by Linda Rhodes, Historian
(A History of Earle’s Grove Baptist Church by Norene Richey
Earle’s Grove Baptist church is located on Highway 59 between Seneca, S.C. and Fair Play, S.C.
In 1904, a Sunday School class was organized and meetings were held in the Tertia School building, located on Rodgers Road, Beaverdam Community. Another class was started in 1906 and it was held on Smith Dairy Road. In 1909, a school was built on the knoll called Chigger Hill where Earle’s Grove Baptist Church now stands. The two Sunday School classes joined together and began meeting in that school building.
On June 4, 1911, a church was organized that would hold preaching services as well as Sunday School classes. The church was named Earle’s Grove Baptist Church in honor of Mr. Elias Preston Earle who donated the property and the community name was changed from Beaverdam to Earle’s Grove..
The church, made up of 39 members, called their first pastor, Rev. H.C. Hester in March 1912. Preaching services were held once a month, on the 3rd Sunday of each month and in 1921 a second service was added. Preaching was on the first Sunday night and the 3rd Sunday morning of each month.
In 1930 a severe wind storm blew the church off its foundation and a one room brick building was erected to replace it.
In 1947, the church started full time services and on August 28, 1938 the church adopted their first Constitution and By-laws.
In 1953, Earle’s Grove school closed and on July 10, 1953, the church bought the property. The school was remodeled and became Earle’s Grove Baptist Church. The teacherage became the pastorium.
Construction on a new church building was started on August 1, 1967 and the first service in the new building was held on August 4, 1968.
In March, 1997 a Building Study Committee was elected to research the needs of the growing church and to form a plan of development to meet those needs. The church voted to do the construction themselves instead of hiring a construction company.
The name of the Building Study Committee was changed to Building Steering Committee and on August 8, 1999, 24 church members met to begin construction of phase 1 of the building project, a new 3 story educational wing. Sunday School classes and a newly formed kindergarten began using the new wing in November 2001. In 2006, there are 23 Sunday School classes with an enrollment of 354.
The second phase of the building project, a Family Life Center was constructed in 2005 and the church will soon start working on plans for phase 3, enlarging the sanctuary.
In September 2006 a church website was started by Carol Anne Tholkes and Linda Rhodes. Carol Anne Tholkes is the Webmaster and continues to keep the website up to date.