Ninety-six years ago, in 1894, fourteen stalwart and stout-hearted Christians engaged the Rev. George Skipper to preach for them on Sunday afternoons on the site across from the church, where our parsonage presently stands. These first services were held under the trees; but in a short while, the church moved into the school house which at that time had been erected on that property and has since been moved next to John Thompson's home. (The old Pink Jordan Kitchen.) Being people of God, these early members decided to construct their own church-house which resulted in a modern, white building with the steps reaching across the front of the church.
Because of the rapid growth, these facilities became inadequate, and a new building was begun on the site of the present building in 1918. The first service was held in it in 1921. A much needed classroom building was added in 1932, a baptistry in 1937, and a pastorium was completed in 1939.
Maple has always been a mission minded church, and it was during the 1920s that the Women's Missionary Union was organized. These ladies were not only concerned about spreading the gospel about the world, but they were also concerned about their own mission field and contributed greatly to the enhancement of the building, which served to point people to God.
In 1937, the top story of the educational building was started under the leadership of Rev. W. M. Gerrald. It became necessary because the church had phenomenal growth in reaching people for God.
Up until the late 1940s Maple had been only a quarter and a half time church. With the coming of Rev. Dalton L. Ward, Maple now had her first full-time pastor. Under his evangelistic leadership, the church reached an all time high in membership and the people were led to support a foreign missionary, a Rev. Bowers, who at that time was serving in Guatemala.
In 1953, under Rev. George Grubbs, work began on remodeling the House of God. Most of the remodeling had been completed when disaster struck on the night of February 28, 1955, as the church became engulfed in flames. The sanctuary and the thirty-six room educational building, which had been remodeled at a cost of $45,000, lay in complete ruins. The loss was estimated at $75,000.
This church of 360 members decided immediately to rebuild their church, using the same foundation as the one which was destroyed. The people, anxious to have their church replaced, joined in the action by cleaning the mortar from the old bricks, making it possible for construction to start sooner. A new $100,000 building was begun in April, 1955, and on November 6, 1955, the building was formally dedicated.
On July 21, 1958, disaster struck for the second time as the church burned to the ground. Once again the members cleaned up the ruins and began constructing the church, which stood as the center of life for the entire community. This new building was built on the same foundation and was exactly like the other two structures, except for a few minor changes in the interior. This building stands today as our present church structure. Having been dedicated March 15, 1959, at a cost of $135,000, the auditorium will seat approximately 350. The educational building consists of 27 classrooms, a pastor's study, church office, and utility rooms. During the time of construction after both fires, the church met in the old Maple School, which it purchased in the mid 1950s to be used as a recreational building.
In 1967 the church called Rev. Gary Smoak to be pastor at Maple. Msssions took on a new emphasis during his leadership as missions to Alaska were initiated. Rev. Smoak left in 1971 and Rev. Oren Anderson became Interim Pastor for the next fourteen months.
Rev. James E. Penfield came to our church in 1972. During his pastorate the new pastorium was built. He was pastor for the next four years.
Rev. Woodrow Harris came to our church in 1977 and retired from our church as Pastor Emeritus in 1982. The Fellowship Hall was completed during his tenure. Rev. F. Ron Zedick came to our church as pastor in February, 1983.
We had the largest increase in Sunday School during 1984 in the Waccamaw Baptist Association. We also became totally debt-free during this time. With special ministries of disaster relief to McColl, South Carolina, after a tornado and the adoption of a missionary family, the McCalls from Nigeria, there was a new vitality in missions. Rev. Zedick left in 1988 and Rev. Thomas Nelson became interim pastor.
Rev. Bobby Bailey became pastor in October, 1988. A new baby grand piano was dedicated in December 1988, in memory of Mr. John Harris by Mr. and Mrs. Woodrow Harris. A new organ was dedicated in memory of Mr. Dickie Brown by his family. Renovation on the sanctuary was completed recently that included new carpet, pew refinishing and cushions, and chandeliers. A Long-Range Planning Committee has been elected to study the church and community and propose new ways for ministry into the 1990s.
FULL TIME CHRISTIAN SERVICE
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