2017-11-04 / Religion

New Ephesus Baptist Church celebrates 145th anniversary

submitted By Sharon G. Womack


Pictured are some of the photos that appear in The Souvenir Journal. 
submitted Pictured are some of the photos that appear in The Souvenir Journal. submitted There is an old saying that New Ephesus Baptist Church is partly in Virginia and partly in North Carolina. This little church that stretches two states was boun- tifully blessed to celebrate its 145th anniversary on Sept. 24, 2017.

New Ephesus, located at 375 Ephesus Church Road in Semora, had a busy mi les t one birthday. Before Sunday school, Pastor Gerald K. Franklin of New Ephesus baptized four school-age children.

During the 11 a.m. morning worship, New Member Certificates were provided to these youth as well as six additional people who had completed the New Member Orientation class and professed a desire to become a member of New Ephesus.

Between the services a meal was served.

At the afternoon service that started at 3 p.m., the Allen’s Chapel A.M.E. Church Mixed Choir provided the music for this special anniversary and Pastor LaTonya Penny preached the sermon, with a message asking the question, “Can We Walk Together?” using the fifth chapter of Galatians as scripture and included songs, such as “I Will Bless the Lord at All Times ( F o r He is Good)” and “ Leave it in the Hands of the Lord.”

Members and visitors heard the account that under the leadership of the Rev. Haywood Wilson in 1872 New Ephesus was first organized near the old McGhee’s mill.

The humble early history was retold about the first church building having walls made of logs that were held together and sealed with mud and that the floor of the church was the ground dirt.

More recently a legal document was found in the Person County Courthouse showing that John and wife M.H. Cunningham donated land specified to be used for “the religious interest or for a school for the colored people” and it is on this land that New Ephesus Baptist Church stands today.

This year church members celebrated completing a renovation that included improving and enlarging the bathrooms to provide easier access for people with disabilities.

And yet another reason to rejoice was the publication of the 145th Souvenir Journal; a book that preserves the history of New Ephesus in pictures. The book, published by Serenity

Sharon’s Book Boutique & Photography, owner Sharon G. Womack, raised $1,000 for church needs including the New Ephesus Operation Face Lift. A copy of the book will be presented to Angie Brown, curator of African American history as a donation to the Person County Museum of History.

Copies of The Souvenir Journal are available for purchase. Proceeds from future sales will be go to the New Ephesus Scholarship Ministry.

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