The Beginning History of Four Points Baptist Church
(as written by Dorothy Clark)
Brother J.T. (Dude) Swann came into this vicinity and ran a tent revival. He immediately saw the need for a church in this saw mill camp. Brother Swann and my father D.E. (Dotridge) Burt were the best of friends. Brother Swann talked with my father about the need for a church. My father offered the land or property for the church and Bro. Swann accepted quickly. He went through the proper channels and organized a church. They went and talked to Mr. W.E. Belcher (owner of Belcher Lumber Co.) about buying the lumber and materials on "credit" to build a tabernacle church. It was the cheapest way out. Mr. Belcher laughed at first, but saw that they were serious. Mr. Belcher agreed, but said that if it was not successful he would take it and use it for a mule barn. During the meantime, prayer meetings were being held in homes.
The church was constituted on July 7th, 1939. It was located at the beginning of Maple Street on the west side of the Cahaba River. The first pastor was Bro. Swann. His salary was from three to five dollars for two sermons. Our light bill was one dollar a month. The rest of the money went for payment of the church. It took until May 1945 to pay in full.
At the time of organizing the church, Four Points was a community of saw mill workers. We had a grocery store (company store or commissary), cafe, barber shop, Ford dealership, Freeman parts store and tire stand, a service station, dry cleaning store, and a grocery store owned by J.C. Murphy, Sr. Four Points was not a part of Centreville at this time.
The tabernacle had homemade benches to sit on. The floor was of shavings from the mill with the exception of the area that contained the two bench choir, the piano, and pulpit. This area had a wood floor. The tabernacle had two 8 foot panels on each side that would raise up and be propped up with 2x4 pieces of lumber to allow air to come in during the summer months. We bought a "pot belly" wood heater on terms and put it in the center of the front pews for heat in the winter months. If it was too cold, we would postpone the service.
The New Wood Church
In the new wood church we put butane gas in it for heat. The first sermon and dedication was held on August 9, 1947. We had our first Lord's Supper observed December 28, 1947 by Bro. Swann. We had our first missionary to speak at the church on January 9, 1949. Sometime later after the new wood church was built, we needed more Sunday School rooms, so we added two more rooms and a basement. We also added an indoor baptistery. Carpet was later added but it did not cover the entire floor. It was just under the seats and down the center aisle. The new wood church had a basement but every time it rain it flooded. We spent a lot money trying to keep it out of the water but were unsuccessful. We finally just sealed it to make it "off limits."
Bro. Swann preached his last sermon June 26,1949. On July 3, 1949, Bro. George Colburn preached for us and was asked to accept our church as pastor but he refused. On July 24, 1949 Bro. Bennie Hubbard was called as pastor and he accepted. We had preaching only on the first and third Sundays of the month. On the second and fourth Sundays, we had Sunday School only. On July 25, 1952, Reverend Hubbard preached his last sermon. By this time we had enough members to have all classes. On August 3, 1953, we tried Rev. Ruddick for pastor, but he refused. Then on August 17, 1952, we tried out Bro. Hubert Williams. We voted and he accepted the call to be our pastor. Therefore he started his pastorate on August 21, 1952. On November 15, 1952, we observed our first business meeting while Bro. Williams was pastor. Bro. Williams was the first pastor to live on the church campus. He lived in a house beside the church, which belonged to Mr. Brady Belcher, who graciously let us use it for the pastorium. Later the church purchased the house. This house was used, until the building of the new pastorium near the Country Club in Centreville. The land was donated on January 29, 1961. Brother Carl Dockery was the first to live in this new pastorium. The new pastorium was built on land donated by Mr. Aticus Sherbert and had a total of eight rooms. Mr. A.P. Smitherman was the contractor who built the pastorium. Bro. Williams preached his last sermon on August 18, 1955. On September 11, 1955, Bro. Carl Dockery preached for us. On September 18, 1955, Bro. Dockery was called and accepted the church as pastor. Brother Roscoe Hubbard was the Sunday School Superintendent at this time. On June 3, 1962, Mr. Millard Burns became the first person who was paid to clean the church. He was paid $5.00 a week.
The first eleven members were: M.E. Doss and wife Alice; Clarence Cashatt and wife Floy; Lester Vernon and wife Evergreen; Leonard Owens and wife Sue; Sally Owens; Rucker Owens; and Bessie Ellis. Mrs. Floy Cashatt was the first church clerk. M.E. Doss and Leonard Owens were the first trustees. Mr. Doss was the first Sunday School Superintendent. Mr. John Deason and Mr. Clifton Creel were the first song directors. John's quartet furnished special singing often. I (Dorothy Burt Clark) was the first pianist. My father brought me from Brent Baptist Church where I was receiving training to play for church. Mr. Deason was a big help to me with my playing. At first they could only sing what I could play. My mother (Gladys Johnson Burt) and Mrs. Sir Langston started the first WMU (day circle) organized in the church. During Bro. Hubbard's ministry, we started BTU (Baptist Training Union). The church grew slowly the first year:
- 1st month..........4 new members
- 2nd month..........2 new members
- 4th month..........2 new members
- 3rd month..........2 new members
- 9th month..........14 new members
- 10th month.........16 new members
Bro. Swann believed in revivals. We had two or three each year, each running two or three weeks. However our largest gain in membership always came because of Vacation Bible School. For several years, all of our baptismals were done in the Cahaba River.
Singing and the Music Service
On September 18, 1955, Bro. Carl Dockery became pastor of our church and his wife Gretta was a great piano player and solo singer. She added very much to our service. She helped me to learn how to play better. Somewhere around the same time Judy Sherbert served as pianist for about two years, then she went off to college. Mr. and Mrs. Travis Price joined our church June 8, 1958. He became our song director and did an excellent job. He also was an insurance salesman. Mr. Price and Mr. Sherbert shared the duties of leading our music and we started a church choir at this time. In April 1967 we bought choir chairs. The chairs were purchased by the choir members and cost $22.30 a chair. They were beige metal chairs with gold cushion seats. Our church had its first Sunday night singing on January 31, 1965.
During Bro. Carl Dockery ministry, three new deacons were added. They were Bennie Jowers, Rucker Owens, and Douglas Sanders. They were all ordained on January 30, 1960. Also under Bro. Dockery's ministry, Mrs. Estell Quimby started "G.A." for girls and Mr. Douglas Sanders started "R.A." for boys in 1959. On June 2, 1963, Mrs. Quimby had a coronation service in which Idessa Clark had completed the steps to be crowned a queen. In December of 1965 the church first started sending $100.00 to the Children's Home in Troy, Alabama. In December of 1966, we had our first Lottie Moon Christmas offering in the amount of $100.00.
- 1939 (July) Church was constituted.
- 1947 (August) Tabernacle was replaced by a wooden church.
- 1961 (May) Pastorium was built on property donated by Aticus Sherbert.
- 1968 (May) Wooden church was bricked.
- 1978 Four Sunday School classrooms were added. Deacons: Rucker Owens, Willie Richie, Bruce Hubbard, T.E. Price, Phillip Lopp
- 1981 Fellowship hall was added.
- 1984 Sanctuary was remodeled. Trustees: J.D. Gay, O'neal Hobson, Leroy Chambers, A.P. Smitherman
- 1988 Sanctuary was enlarged
- 2006 (November) New sanctuary was built. Previous sanctuary remodeled as fellowship hall.
- 2009 (October) New Gym and classrooms were built.
- J.T. (Dude) Swann July 7, 1939 until July 17, 1949
- Benny Hubbard July 24, 1949 until August 14, 1952
- Hubert Williams August 21, 1952 until August 14, 1955
- Carl Dockery September 18, 1955 until October 1, 1962
- W.E. Hatley, Sr. January 13, 1963 until October 2, 1966
- Billy Morrison October 9, 1966 until July 31, 1971
- Don Cunningham September 26, 1971 until March 25, 1973
- Max Whitson November 25, 1973 until November 9, 1975
- James I. Loper November 23, 1975 until October 22, 1980
- Ray Baker January 11, 1981 until September 19, 1981
- Cecil Little (Interim) October 9, 1981 until May 30, 1982
- James I. Loper June 6, 1982 until October 8, 1986
- Cecil Little (Interim) October 12, 1986 until June 7, 1987
- Jerry Doss June 7, 1987 until April 23, 2000
- Roy Neil Lowery August 27, 2000 until present
James I. Loper has been the only pastor to serve two terms. Cecil Little served two terms as interim pastor. We also recalled our pastor each year. The pastor was evaluated by the congregation and would not serve as long as he wanted if the people felt that he shouldn't. We had our first Howard College (now Samford) student to bring the message on January 31, 1954 while Bro. Williams was pastor. Then we continued every year from that time on. This was known as "H Day."