Church History


  • Reverend Dan Webb, 1910 - 1912
  • Reverend John Marine, 1912-1915
  • Reverend Murph Fawver
  • Reverend Clabough
  • Reverend Rule
  • Reverend Ed Freels
  • Reverend Bruce Hodge, 1923 to 1927
  • Reverend Andy Pellum, 1927-1936
  • Reverend Clarence Roberts, 1936-1941
  • Reverend R.O. Burnette, 1941-1954
  • Reverend Wayne Markham, 1954-1957
  • Reverend Guy West, 1957-1958
  • Reverend Earl Wilson, 1959-1961
  • Reverend Clarence Sitzlar, 1961-1962
  • Reverend Henry C. Ruth, 1963-1973
  • Reverend A.A. Carlton (Interim), 1974
  • Reverend Oliver Wolfenbarger, 1974-1976
  • Reverend John Chance (Interim), 1976
  • Reverend Alfred Smith, 1976 -1996
  • Reverend Elmer Sharp (Interim), 1996
  • Reverend Tony Earl, 1996 - 1998
  • Reverend Elmer Sharp (Interim), 1998
  • Reverend Lee Chorn, 1999 – 2008
  • Reverend Danny Neal (Interim), 2008 - 2009
  • Reverend David Crowley, 2009 - 2010
  • Reverend Randy Troutman, 2010 - Present
The official church minutes and membership records were destroyed by fire in the home of the Church Clerk, Mr. Aaron Terry, in 1928. The following is history as told to Mr. Earl Monday by the older members of the church. This data was compiled and edited by Mr. Earl Monday July 29, 1955 and revised October 1974. The history of Marbledale Baptist Church was made official by the vote of the church September 3, 1980.

A small group of Christians in Marbledale Community began having services in the old Sinking Springs School building. They were of the Baptist faith. This was previous to the year 1910.
Sand Springs Baptist Church was taken down from its location near where the new Sand Branch United Brethren Church now stands. The church had ceased holding services and there were no members.
A group of citizens from Marbledale Community donated $125.00 and let a contract to Mr. Horace Russell to tear down and erect the church at the present location. The lumber was hauled up Thorn Grove Pike on wagons pulled by mules and horses. The benches were stored in Sam Kries' barn until the church was rebuilt. This was the year 1910.

The ground was bought for $80.00 from Mr. W.M. Kennedy with the agreement that at any time it ceased to be a Baptist Church the property would go back to the heirs.

The church was dedicated the same year it was moved. The Dedication Sermon was preached by Reverend George W. Eden.

Then a revival was held by the evangelist, Reverend Tom Sexton. In this revival the souls of the people were stirred to the extent that many were saved. Tom Sexton was a blacksmith before becoming a minister. He wrote the book "From The Anvil To The Pulpit".

The church having only eleven members began to grow. The members then were: Mr. And Mrs. Lindsay Dunlap, Vanlee Merriman, W.S. Norwood, Mr. and Mrs. George Mays, Sara Dunlap, Maude Patty Smith, May Patty Johnson. Minnie Patty Hicks. All are deceased except Mrs. Lindsay Dunlap who lives on Dunlap Road, May Patty Johnson on French Road and Maude Patty Smith on Thorn Grove Road.

Other people attending Marbledale Baptist Church were: Mr. And Mrs. Hugh Lawson and family, John and Dora Sharp, Mr. John Davis and many other people who walked for miles to attend church.

The Reverend Dan Webb was succeeded by Reverend John Marine, who served three years from 1912-1915. Reverend Webb was a great preacher as well as a great prophet. He prophesied that the first World War was going to be, several years before it started and many other things that have come to pass since.

About this time Mr. Jess Terry came to Marbledale Baptist Church. He was elected Sunday School Superintendent. Some of the members objected because he was not a member, so Mr. Terry joined the church. He was a great worker in the church as well as a great teacher. He later became the first Deacon of the church and is now deceased.

Others joining the church at this time were: Miss Bell Merriman, Wiley and Lou Terry, who were children of Jess Terry, Leo Lakins Frazier, George Lakins, Bess and Josie Norwood, Arlie Monday Johnson, Cora and Adam Dunlap, Minnie Monday Styles, and Mr. Charlie Julian, who became a Deacon of the church. He served as a Deacon until 1954. Feeling that he should step down, he offered his resignation. It was accepted with a vote of confidence. He was a great worker in the church.
The Reverend John Marine was succeeded by Reverend Murph Fawver, now deceased. He was the brother of J.A. Fawver now living in our community. Reverend Fawver was a wonderful man of God. He really knew the Bible, quoting many Scriptures some of us have a hard time reading. Some of the members joining the church at this time were: Gracie Monday Lakins, Bess Sawyers, Pearl Monday.

The Reverend Murph Fawver was succeeded by several pastors who only stayed for a short time.  Reverend Clabough, Reverend Rule, Reverend Ed Freels.

At this time our church was on a downgrade and having many differences.  A group of members living in the Riverdale Community withdrew their membership and established the Riverdale Baptist Church.  This church has grown and now has a large membership.

Reverend Ed Freels was succeeded by Reverend Bruce Hodge, who served from about 1923 to 1927.  Reverend Hodge was a great friend to everyone.  He liked to visit with the people and spend weekends with members.

Reverend Bruce Hodge was succeeded by Reverend Andy Pellum, serving from 1927-1936.  Reverend Pellum was succeeded by Reverend Clarence Roberts, 1936-1941.  Reverend Roberts and the members saw that there was a great need for Sunday School rooms.  A building fund was started and members of the church and people of the community gave very generously.

Reverend Roberts was succeeded by Reverend R.O. Burnette, 1941-1954.  Reverend Burnette was succeeded by Reverend Wayne Markham, 1954-1957.  Reverend Markham was succeeded by Reverend Guy West, 1957-1958.  Reverend West was succeeded by Reverend Earl Wilson, 1959-1961.  Reverend Wilson was succeeded by Reverend Clarence Sitzlar, 1961-1962.  Reverend Sitzlar was succeeded by Reverend Henry C. Ruth 1963-1973.

The following is the church history from 1972 till 1999 written by Donnie Fawver II.  This data was compiled and written in late 2003 and early 2004.  This history was made official by vote on April 11, 2004

The old Church building was taken down in 1971 with the new building erected in 1972.  On May 14, 1972, the first service was held in the new building and there were seven people baptized during the first service.  A revival was also held during the first month of being in the new building.  The revival was held May 21-28, 1972 with Reverend Charles Shartis as the evangelist.  During the revival, there were fourteen people saved and a total of sixteen people that joined the church membership.  The following month on June 18, 1972 the new church was dedicated.

Reverend Oliver Wolfenbarger, serving from 1973-1975, succeeded Reverend Henry C. Ruth.  During Brother Wolfenbarger’s term as pastor, it was brought before the church that additional parking spaces were needed.  In December 1975, the church was given a lot by Mrs. Grace Moore across from the church
on Flint Gap Road.

Interim pastor Reverend John Chance, who served during a short term of 1976, succeeded Reverend Oliver Wolfenbarger.

In February 1976, the pulpit committee presented Reverend Alfred Smith for pastor of Marbledale Baptist Church.  Brother Al was elected pastor on February 1, 1976.  His first Sunday as pastor was March 6, 1976.

In July 1982 it was brought before the church of installing a stove in the fellowship hall for church socials.  It was agreed upon that the stove would be installed and wired in by volunteers within the church members.

Also in July 1982 a member of the building committee brought up the subject of a remodel of the auditorium to provide additional seating.  The church approved to allow the building committee to proceed with ideas for the remodel.  In November 1982 the building committee reported that after meeting with the contractor that they recommended to wait until spring to begin the remodel. The committee also informed the church members that the work for the building addition would include a new roof, carpet, and additional pews for the auditorium.

In May 1983 the committee recommended that the church allow the committee to go ahead with the remodel and that the cost would be between $80,000 to $90,000 for the remodel and expansion work to be done.  At this time the committee was able to give more information on what the expansion was to include.  It included a 28-foot addition to the auditorium that would extend toward the intersection of Thorn Grove Pike and Flint Gap Road.  The church members agreed to have all of this work done.

On July 27, 1983 the church had a special called business session to make a loan to complete the building addition.  Brother Jack Monday, Building Committee Chairman requested the church authorize the Trustees to go to the bank to borrow $30,000 for 5 years. This was moved by Brother Leonard Cox and seconded by Reverend Henry Ruth.  In the discussion it was explained that this money would be used for the basement, classrooms, carpeting, paint and air conditioning.

The church met on Sunday December 29, 1985 to worship God in Dedication of the new auditorium to the church, the furnishings and the classrooms. 

The members also celebrated their 75th Anniversary of service to God and the community.  Shirley Dyer, who was church clerk at that time, recorded the anniversary and dedication service.  The service included:

Hymns of praise were played on the piano by Angie Russell and on the organ by Janice Whaley.  The service began with a call to worship as our beloved pastor, the Reverend Al Smith, recognized the Building Committee, which consisted of Jack Monday, Ed Tramel, Rush Emory, Horace Ford and Joe A. Fawver.  The pastor asked Jack Monday and Ed Tramel to come forward for the burning of the note.  This ceremony signified the blessings of God as He has allowed us to build and bring our financial indebtedness to an end.

Our Music Director Donnie Fawver, I, led the congregation in a dedication hymn,
        “Brethren, We Have Met To Worship.”

Our pastor then led the congregation in a responsive dedication reading,

Set apart this house to the worship of the true and living God and to the service of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Devote it to the preaching of the gospel of the grace of God, for the conversion of sinners, and to the education of Christians in Knowledge and Understanding.

Shall prayer be offered to God the Father through the name of Jesus Christ our Mediator.  Here shall the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper be observed.  Shall the word of God be preached and practiced so that sinners can find hope, the saved can be strengthened, the sick can find grace.

God graciously accept this offering of this house in His name, an offering made by grateful hearts and willing hands.
And Now:
Establish thou the works of our hands, the humbleness of our hearts and the joy of our lives and bless our feeble efforts we pray in the name of The Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

At this time, the congregation was led in a prayer by Joe A. Fawver. An inspiring message was given by one of our oldest members who was 90 years old Reverend John Chance.  Following the message, a hymn of invitation was sung, with the Benediction concluding the service.

On Tuesday afternoon (May 1, 1990) the steeple of the church was struck by lightening.  This caused fire damage to the roof, fire and water damage to the vestibule, auditorium and Sunday school rooms below the auditorium.  The fire also caused a lot of electrical damage including the audio equipment and the organ.  The church held a business meeting on May 6, 1990 to discuss the fire damage to the church.  The deacons recommended that the Church Trustees and Maintenance Committee be authorized to see to all the repairs on the church be done.  The church agreed to let these two groups of people take care of the repairs.

In July 1990, the church was asked whether they wanted to replace the old church bell with a new cast bronze bell or an electronic chime system.  After research and discussion with members, the church decided to go with the chime system. The Trustees then recommended that the old church bell be sold to a member with the highest sealed bid.  The bell was then sold in May 1991 for $1.00.  The bell is now on the grounds of the Riverdale Community Club.

A few years later, the deacons mentioned that they had discussed granting a Pastor Emeritus to Reverend Henry Ruth.  They explained that a Pastor Emeritus is a title only and that the deacons were not making this a recommendation but just something for the church to think about.  In July 1995 the church gave Reverend Henry Ruth this title.
During the years of 1976 to 1996 our church was led by Brother Al, which was a true man of God.  He, along with the Lord by his side, helped lead many people to the Lord.  Brother Al was a pastor that was always on the go in the church.  He was a great witness to our community and even till this day, is a man that our church and community loves and cares for dearly.
In July 1995, in a Wednesday night service, Brother Al announced his time for retirement was near.  He said he wanted to go ahead and inform the church that he would like to make this effective in a few months.  He asked the church to grant him this and to let it begin with the end of his twentieth year as pastor of our church.  The date was to be the end of February or the first of March, whichever would complete this time.

On February 10, 1995 the church hosted a retirement and thank you dinner for Brother Al and Sister Louise for all they had done for our church and community.
During the time of Brother Al’s retirement, the church elected a Pastor Search Committee. When the time for Brother Al’s retirement was to begin, the committee recommended Reverend Elmer Sharp to serve as interim pastor beginning in March 1996.  Brother Elmer is a great man of God and done much for our church during his months of interim.

After a few months of searching for a pastor, the Pastor Search Committee recommended Reverend Tony Earl as our pastor.  Reverend Tony Earl served as pastor from 1996 till 1998.

Interim Pastor Elmer Sharp, who served as our interim again from 1998-1999, succeeded Reverend Tony Earl.

On August 29, 1999 the church met to receive the Pastor Search Committee’s recommendation for a new pastor.  The Committee recommended Reverend Odis Lee Chorn as pastor.  Brother Lee began as our new pastor in October 1999 to 11-9-2008.
Marbledale Baptist Church


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