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Church celebrates 150th

Sharon Baptist Church, located at 1130 Plank Road, is celebrating its 150th anniversary.

The church was founded in 1868. Congregation members held services under a brush arbor, or a makeshift shelter using logs, branches, leaves and pine needles.

Ernest Miller, deacon of the church and organizer of the Anniversary Committee, said the original brush arbor had been located in the area of the county’s toll house, thought to be located at the intersection of Raines Tavern and Plank roads.

Miller said the congregation built a log cabin to house the church across the street from where the church is currently located. He said the first building where the church is currently located was established as a cinder block building in 1945.

“The congregation purchased the land for the church for $4,” Miller said.

The church building was renovated several times since it was first built in 1945. He said in the 150 years the church has been in existence, it has only had eight pastors. The current pastor, Robert R. Jones, was born and raised in the Sharon Baptist Church congregation.

“A lot of times sons of the church don’t get an opportunity to serve in the church that they were raised in,” Miller said. “That’s unique.”

The congregation and church is set to have a daylong sesquicentennial anniversary celebration on Sunday, Nov. 11, that includes two services, a full catered brunch and dinner, two guest pastors and an opportunity to honor elderly congregation members and congregation members who died. The Cumberland County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution honoring the milestone and the church’s history of community engagement during the board’s September meeting.

“It is monumental that Sharon Baptist Church has prospered for a full 150 years to lead not only their congregation but to lead our community by the example of strength and longevity that they have so steadfastly set,” the resolution cited.

“Strong congregations like yours continue to provide the guidance and fellowship necessary to fortify our families and our communities for whatever our future may bring,” the resolution cited.

The resolution thanked members of the congregation in the Anniversary Committee, which includes Co-Chair Martha Reid, Co-Chair JoAnn Vaughan, Paige Alvin, Helen Campbell and Priscilla Gilliam. This committee has headed anniversaries for the church for 16 years, Miller said.

“With gratitude, we recognize and applaud Sharon Baptist Church on your commitment, your dedication, and your service to our Cumberland Community over the last 150 years, and we humbly pray for your continued service and leadership,” the resolution cited.