The Sweet Home Baptist Church was organized May 10th 1886 in a dwelling house with twelve charter members. The Pastor was Rev. W.A. Moore. The first deacons were Bros. John Thompson, Eunich Walker and Green Etheridge. They continued to worship under a brush arbor. In 1889 Rev. C.B. Rucker became the shepherd of the flock, followed by the Rev. J.A Farmer. Rev. Farmer moved his congregation from the brush arbor to the building that also served as a school house.
Rev. Barrett became the fourth pastor. Under his wings, plans
were made to build a church and C.H. Fitzgerald and W.J. Jones were ordained as deacons. Rev. Barrett died suddenly and Rev. R.W. Watkins was called and carried out plans to build the first church.
Rev. M.A. Daniel succeeded Rev. Watkins; Rev. H.A. Lathan succeeded Rev. Daniel. In 1904, Rev. N.W. Moreland became the pastor. Under his leadership, a new church was erected and lovingly named
“Sweet Home” by Ms. Rebecca Fitzgerald. In 1909, Sweet home was destroyed by storm. Rev. Moreland remained pastor until the church was reconstructed, then Rev. Kelsey was called. The church was then
Rev. A.B. Freeman succeeded Rev. Kelsey, followed by Rev. W.B. Bell. Many improvements were made. Rev. Hutchens succeeded Rev. Bell. Under Rev. Hutchens’ pastorate, the church was furnished with chairs and benches. Rev. W.F. Strickland became the 13th pastor. The inside of the church was painted and Bros. E.D. Moore and Joe Fitzgerald were ordained as deacons. In 1929, Rev. C.W. Warren was called, followed by Rev. W.E. Hinton.
From 1927 to 1932, the Lord sent a teacher and preacher by the name of Rev. G.R. Newell. Rev. Newell was instrumental in constructing the school which stands today. He drew the blueprint for the original structure of this building. Bros. John Whitehead was ordained as a deacon.
From 1932 to 1934, Rev. S.P. Fields was called and organized the Sweet Home Baptist Church Choir. Bros. C.W. Sims, M.T. Sims and C.W. Whittaker were ordained as deacons. In 1939, Rev. A. Bell succeeded Rev. Fields. In 1946, Rev. Ivory became pastor, and Bros. D.R. Britt and Ray Fitzgerald were ordained ministers.
In 1949, Rev. P.J. Jones was called to lead Sweet Home and Bros. Odell Alexander, Emmanuel Sims and Charley Touchstone were ordained as deacons. From 1952 to 1954, Rev. J.J. Johnson led the flock and Bros. A.J. Appleby, Sr. and C.E. Weddington were ordained as deacons.
From 1955 to 1958 Rev. J.L. Lockhart served as pastor. From 1958 to 1980 Rev. E.L. Griffin led the flock. Under his direction, this original building was constructed and furnished. Bros. Doyle Touchstone, Arvell Weddington, Wendall Gay, Alton Thompson, Robert Elliot, Willie Williams and Melvin Williams were ordained as deacons. Bro. Melvin Williams was later ordained as a minister.
Rev. Colman Hayes, Jr. succeeded Rev. Griffin. Under his leadership many improvements were made to the church and Bro. A.J. Appleby, Jr. was ordained as a deacon and Bro. Johnny Sexton was ordained as a minister.
In April 1985 Rev. C.E. Dean was called. He became the 25th pastor. Under the leadership of Rev. Dean, Bros. Fred Whittaker, Eddie Hugh Weddington, and Eddie Moore Sims were ordained as deacons. A building fund drive for the complete renovation of Sweet Home began. Trustee Board members worked tirelessly to see these plans become a reality.
In September 1993, the work began and on the 4th Sunday in March, 1994 Sweet Home marched into the new edifice. Dedication services were successfully carried out with a new cornerstone being laid. In 1997, Bros. Aldo Weddington, Eddie Hugh Weddington, Jr., Irvin Touchstone, Jr. and Bryant White were ordained as deacons. In July 1998 Bryant White accepted his call into the Ministry.
In July 2000, the Lord sent Sweet Home a new under Shepard, Rev. Dr. Jeffery R. Wimbush, Sr. With God as head, great accomplishments have taken place under this leadership.
In 2003, the church was paid off and the mortgage was burned. In August 2004, the vision for expansion became a reality. Ground was broken for the new Family Life Center with completion taking place in 2005. Also under the leadership of Pastor Wimbush, the parking lot was expanded and repaved. A nursery and two class rooms with computers were added for the youth. In June 2010 Sweet Home purchased a building for our teen church. A new organ was purchased, and a new roof was put on the church. The pulpit was reconstructed and two new vans were purchased. A tutoring program has been added for the youth. Great spiritual growth has and is continually taking place; church membership has exploded causing full capacity in the church, which has led us to the creation of an 8:00 a.m. Sunday morning worship service. God has blessed Sweet Home with the ordination of several deacons under the leadership of Dr. Wimbush. They are: Bros. James Dubose, Kevin Mitchell, Billy Sims, Jr., Kevin Williams, Malcolm Hayes and Ronald Wearing. Malcolm Hayes later accepted his call into the Ministry. In addition, several ordained Deacons have joined the Sweet Home Family: Deacons James Alston, Donald Barrett, Johnny Ewings, Rashad Baulding, and the late David Harden and Richard Backers. The Deacon’s Ministry is still growing with the addition of two being ordained this year; namely: Deacon Jarin Pepper and Cedric Rosser.
Under Pastor Wimbush’s leadership, several ministers accepted their call in the ministry and were licensed. They are: Rev. Edward Lackey, Dr. Leonora Austin, Minister Carmen Barrett, Minister Angelene Christian, Rev. Johnny Davis, Evangelist Myranda Flemister, Minister Debra Harden, Rev. Malcolm Hayes, Rev. Trammell Kitchens, Rev. Marvin McGill, Rev. Durante Neal, Minister Lurlene Sims, Minister Diane Touchstone, Minister Marilyn Wilson, Rev. Jackson Lackey and Minister Crystle Lackey. The following ministers have also joined the ministerial staff at Sweet Home as follows: Rev. Dr. Lethia Alston, Minister Barbara Frazier, Rev. Jeffery Watkins, Minister Gloria Hicklin, Rev. Fredrick Dean and Rev. Curtis Cummings.
In addition, the following ministers were ordained by Pastor Wimbush, to include: Rev. Bryant White, Rev. Edward Lackey, Sr., Dr. Lenora Austin, Evangelist Myranda Flemister, Rev. Malcolm Hayes, Rev. Trammell Kitchen, Rev. Durante Neal and Min. Angelene Christian.
Church boards have been reorganized as ministries and the following new ministries have been birthed: Women’s Ministry, Hospitality Committee, Outreach Ministry, CD/DVD Ministry, Christian Education, Men on a mission, Drama and Dance Ministry, Street Ministry, Senior and Elderly, Singles and Marriage, Alpha and Omega, The Beacon Food Ministry and Boys and Girls Scout of America.
The Youth Ministry has grown to include a Youth Ministerial Staff, a 11:00 a.m. Sunday Morning Children’s Church and Teen’s Church. A monthly Praise and Worship Service has also been added to the calendar, as well as a Ministers’ Training class, new members training class, and other various workshops.
The church web site was created, allowing information about Sweet Home to be easily accessible and known for those who are searching for a church to call home. This is only part of the vision of Pastor Wimbush. By keeping God in the forefront there are greater things ahead for God’s people and the Sweet Home family.
Much of this information was taken from the old records of Mother Viola Moore and because of Mother Moore, we can reminisce and reflect on the goodness, grace and mercy of God.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 16:18, “Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” One hundred twenty five years later, this church, beautifully situated in the center of the community, is still standing strong, as a cherished landmark to the thousands who have come through its doors over the years. It was built not simply to adorn, but to serve. It is where our children and youth come to learn the ways of honesty, integrity, morality and Christianity. Our brides and grooms come to its altar so that their marriages may be sweetened by divine blessings. It comforts our sick and sorrowing; it buries our dead and it offers rest and solace to the weary. It brings pardon and peace to those who are burdened with sin. Its doors are open to all, rich or poor, bond or free. Its pulpit brings out the message of good will to all men of peace and of our precious Savior’s love to all mankind. It teaches us the way of life and guides us on the road to heaven.
This is the house of the Lord; let us come together and worship him in spirit and in truth for He will be with us all the days on this earth and beyond forever more. We thank you and we love you,
Dr. Jeffery R. Wimbush, Sr., Pastor
Deacon Donald Barrett, Chairman, Deacon’s Ministry
Deacon Billy Sims, Jr. Vice Chairman
Sis Kesea McKinley, Secretary
Sis Alisha Grogan, Church Clerk
Min. Lurlene Sims, Church Historian