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Church History

Memoirs of Pine Forest Baptist Church

   In the summer of 1932, under the leadership of Bro. L. L. Fain, the men of Pine Forest Community met to organize a much needed church.  The Southwestern Land and Development Company donated an acre of land to build the church.  Construction began immediately on a very crude building which provided shelter.
   Soon after, winter was on its way and more construction was necessary. Men and boys voluntarily went into the swamps and brought cypress to make the roof.  Very cheap lumber was purchased to build the walls.  Mrs. Ora Dennis went to Orange, Texas to ask the county officials for a donation.  She collected $25.00 which was used to buy windows.  As the days grew colder, a good person with a truck brought clean sawdust for the floor.  Mr. Blackie Barwick brought a heater which warmed the entire building.

Church History-1    As time went on, Mr. and Mrs. Ray Post and Mr. and Mrs. A. M. Philmon each donated one-half acre so the church could expand.  Bro. L. L. Fain became the first pastor, holding the first revival  for the entire week with an offering of $11.00.  Bro. Fain kept $1.00 and paid $10.00 down on our first piano which cost $50.00.  E. W. Stanton and Jim Philmon signed the note for the remainder.  By faith the $5.00 was paid each month.  Bessie DeLoach Taylor was the first pianist.  Bertie Philmon Taylor served as the first Training Union Director.
   Membership began with the following members:  Mr. and Mrs. A. C. Dickerson, Bruce and Bertie Bellard, Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Philmon, Andrew Philmon, Hugh Philmon, Mrs. Dora Philmon, Lannie Philmon, Sr., Edmond Wilkerson, Mrs. Bertie Taylor, Mrs. Mae Beaumont, Linville Corbett, Harry Corbett, T. C. Corbett, Mrs. J. C. Sparks, Mrs. Mary Morse, Mrs. Anna Bell Pope, Thelma Stanton, Mr. and Mrs. E. W. Stanton, John Henry Stanton, Mr. and Mrs. R. G. Stanton, Mrs. Mittie Bailey, Virgil and Doris Belford, Mrs. Nathan Burrell, Mrs. Carl Stewart, Miss Lois DeLoach, Miss Bessie L. DeLoach, G. M. DeLoach and Ruth DeLoach, Mary Ella DeLoach, Miss Hortense Carr, Mrs. J. E. Lowe, Mrs. H. E. Dunham, Mr. and Mrs. R. E. Post, Miss Hazel Dennis, Mrs. Emma Mae Rayinck, Mrs. Ora Milhone, and Mrs. Jennie Melton.

Church History-2    Time and growth came so that the original building was torn down and a new frame structure was completed.  This, however,  was not adequate so an expansion was needed.  A new structure was added to the front to be used as a cry room and offices were added at the back with classrooms.  This work was completed in 1949, at which time Bob Willette and Larry Read installed the first baptistry.  Milton Medford furnished materials and repaired the baptistry a few years later with the help of Virgil Rhodes.  Everyone in the church family was working and many preachers came and went as part-time pastors.
   In 1951, the church membership had grown to approximately 287, hence the church field needed a full time minister.  Brother Percy H. Bailey was called to serve as pastor and found the field ripe unto harvest as he began on July 6, 1952.  The church provided its first parsonage for this full time minister and his family.

Church History-3    The first Vacation Bible School was a complete success, which caused the church leadership to convert the parsonage garage into a primary department and the living room into a Sunday School classroom.  Enrollment climbed so that the church had another expansion program.  In February, 1953, an educational building was added to house the junior and intermediate department.  During these days Bro. Bailey, our dedicated pastor was interested in keeping our community free of liquor.  Each January after our county became dry, the pastor stressed every Sunday for all eligible adults to purchase the poll tax so all could be voters.  In 1954, a new brick structure began as more expansion was needed.  This was completed in October 1963. Bro. Bailey had served over thirteen years before resigning on November 17, 1965.   Brother Jerry Clark was called as pastor to our church on January 2, 1966. The church had grown in accordance with the community and better facilities were needed.  To meet this need, the building and grounds committee led in the building of a new sanctuary.  In June, 1966, the church purchased two acres of land from Pep Philmon, and  on July 2, 1967, this building program got under way with the spiritual leadership of Brother Clark. In April (Easter Sunday), 1968, the new building, currently the chapel,  was dedicated for the glory of God. The first library was organized by Jeannette Clark on May 10, 1967. Bro. Jerry Clark resigned as our pastor on May 1, 1968.   Rev. Marcus Greene was called as the pastor of our church on June 16, 1968.

Church History-4    Larry Post was a member of our church from childhood.  During this time, he was active in all areas of the church.  When Bro. Green felt the need for a leader for the youth, Larry Post was the one he chose.  Larry worked with the youth for 13 years.  He worked with talented children who could sing and he had the ability to train voices.  They visited other churches to sing solos, duets and quartets.  Those children were very dedicated during this time.  Larry also led the youth in Bible Drills.
   A new  brick parsonage was provided for the pastor in January of 1969.  This construction left available the first parsonage for our Associate Pastor, Brother Billy Stevens, who came February 1, 1969.  On June 16, 1971, Clifford Neal was elected Associate Pastor in charge of the bus ministry and children's church.  Bro. Neal was ordained on Oct. 31, 1971. Bro. Marcus Greene resigned as pastor on December 19, 1971.    Brother Wayne Ates was called as Pastor on February 27, 1972.  After serving only a brief time, he resigned on December 28, 1972. Russell Kaemerling was elected Interim Pastor on January 23, 1973. Billy Stevens was re-classified from Associate Pastor to our first full time Minister of Music and Education on February 21, 1973. Our deacon body was increased by the ordination of  Shannon Adams, C.R. (Andy) Anderson, Weldon Morris, Larry Rhodes and V. P. Zuckero as deacons, on March 11, 1973.

Church History-5    On April 18, 1973, a decision was made  to start a three stage program to raise money for construction of the new athletic and educational building. Brother Don Mitchell was called as pastor on May 30, 1973.  He moved on the field on June 26, 1973 and filled the pulpit on July 8, 1973. Work was begun on the athletic and education building (July 18, 1973) soon after the arrival of our new pastor.  The official ground breaking was October 7, 1973.  By the end of the year, the building was in progress and on March 13, 1974, it was officially dedicated.  This facility would serve all ages for many years to come.
 In May of 1974, Patricia Gill was hired as the church's first full time secretary.  She resigned from this position in April of 1975.  She and her husband were expecting their second child.
   The program of our church went forward for a time and more was accomplished.  The church voted to buy a five acre tract of land north of the existing church property for $10,000.  An anonymous gift was given for this purpose and was to be dedicated to Christian mothers.  The closing cost was paid by a member of the church.
   Brother Billy Stevens and his wife, Betty, resigned their positions as Minister of Music and church secretary on November 15, 1975.  Gracie Quave was hired as secretary of the church on January 21, 1976.
   "Spirit of Hope," an ongoing program for our senior adults, was started in 1976, with the interest and help of our Women's Missionary Union. This program was organized to supply a much needed spiritual fellowship for the older adults.  Peggy Cox led this program for a period of time.  Chris Fuller then relieved Peggy and carried on a very successful program for all faiths to gather and have fellowship each month.  Norma Dodge then relieved Chris and served over ten years with other volunteer help as this activity had grown to be a must for our older adults.  Joyce DuBose, Kathy Short and Betsy Knost followed Norma Dodge in leading The "Spirit of Hope" meetings.  After these ladies, Estelle and Raleigh Crump became co-directors.  They continue securing many and varied programs for the senior adults.  Attendance continues to climb and the membership from various faiths has drawn the community closer.

Church History-6 Time-line of key events during the pastorate of Don Mitchell:
  -  March 3, 1976, Brother Ed Geron was called as full time Music and Education Director.
  - January 9, 1977, Benjamin (Ben) West was licensed to preach.
  - February 13, 1977, Eddie Anderson was licensed to preach.
  - April 17, 1977, Larry Lindsey was licensed to preach.
  - March 5, 1978, Brother Ed Geron resigned as Minister of Music and Education.
  - September 27, 1978, the church voted to buy E. E. Gloede's home at 1055 Lamar St., Vidor, TX, for our Music and Education Director.
  - October 11, 1978, Brother Elwyn Gunn was called as Music and Education Director.
  - February 18, 1979, David Mahfouz was ordained into the ministry.
  - May 11, 1980, Patrick Mitchell was licensed to preach.
  - May 12, 1980, Eunice Medley was hired as duplicating secretary.
  - July 16, 1980, Buddy Medley was asked to serve as a deacon, having already been ordained.
  - March 8, 1981, the ordination to the diaconate of Charles Collum, M. B. Ashmore, Leon Broom, Bobby Sutton, T. J. Moss, C.J. McMillan, David Haney and Gene Davis took place.
  - September, 1982, David Hall was called as Education Director.  He was ordained to the ministry on June 24, 1984. Later he became the Minister of Youth as well as Minister of Education.
  - The long range planning committee began discussing the expansion of the first stage of a new educational building.  This structure was to house Sunday School classrooms, a library and the choir room. On July 16, 1983, the ground breaking for the structure occurred. This 69' x 90' two story building was placed in the rear of the proposed new sanctuary. In October, 1984 the building was ready to be used, at which time the church discontinued the two Sunday Schools.
  - A building fund-raising project for a new sanctuary was started called T.W.B. (Together We Build). The ground-breaking ceremony for our present sanctuary was on Sunday, September 20, 1987.  After the slab for the new sanctuary was poured, Bro. Mitchell saw that his long dream of a large sanctuary was beginning to take place.  He resigned as pastor  May 29, 1988 after fifteen years of ministry at Pine Forest.
   In February of 1988 the church voted to build a three car garage (24' by 36') with upstairs storage.  The garage was built south of the gym.      Brother Charles Hawkes was called as Interim Pastor on June 15, 1988.  Soon after this time (June 19, 1988), the church decided to discontinue two morning services. On September 17, 1989, Steve Belden accepted the pastorate of our church.  On October 7, 1990, our new sanctuary was dedicated to the glory of God.  This 1200 seat auditoruim is evidence of the faithfulness of God, the dedication of His people and the result of a big dream.  Thousands of dollars were donated to build the new auditorium.  $750,000 was borrowed to finish the project.  This debt would be retired in nine years.  God is faithful to His people.   After serving 18 months, Bro. Belden left the church on March 20, 1991.  Brother Alex Drennan was called as Interim Pastor after Brother Belden left.  Bro. Drennan came on the field on June 3, 1991 and served about five  months.

   Dr. Stephen E. Dollar was called as pastor and came on the field on Oct. 14, 1991. The deacon body recommended that the church offer our facilities to host the Vidor High School Baccalaureate Service for the graduating class in May, 1992, with Dr. Dollar speaking.  The beautiful sanctuary had the largest seating capacity of any Vidor facility at that time.
   Our church was in need of more deacons, thus on July 22, 1992, the following group of men were elected and set aside for a six months period of training: Keith Anderson, Charles Byars, Thomas Coggins, M.G. "Sandy" Daniel, Jr., Dr. Jerry Leavins, Gary Medley, Keith Morris, Walter Roberts, Jr., Eugene Shafer and Davis Vickers.  These men were ordained February, 1993. On September 27, 1992, our church celebrated our 60th anniversary.  This was an all day celebration and honored our charter members. The proposed vision for our church for the year 2000 was presented through God's guidance by our pastor, Dr.Stephen Dollar, in September 1992.  This vision would include specific, measurable goals for our people and their ministry for Christ, as well as suggested ways of implementing these goals toward our vision.  Once determined, this vision and dream for Pine Forest Baptist Church would become our north star by which to steer into the year 2000.  "Without a vision the peoples perish", Prov. 29:18 "and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams" Acts 2:17.  A committee was selected with Gene Davis as Chairperson and committee members were Bill Fair, Pat Gill, Charlene Leger, Weldon Morris, Sandy Daniel and Anita Reece.

Church History-7    The seven-fold vision for Pine Forest Baptist Church has been functioning faithfully and enthustiastically, achieving the goals that were laid out by the committee.  These goals are evangelism, missions, worship, education, stewardship, target group ministries, use of multi-media and service.  The loan on our new sanctuary (Together We Build) was   paid off  on September 27, 1999.  A burning of the note will be experienced at the beginning of a revival and homecoming (October 31, 1999).
   December 16, 1992, M. B. Ashmore was named bus minister emeritus after 20 years of service and Frank Ray was elected to replace him. Due to our church growing in membership, there arose a need for adult supervision during Sunday School and church to help and guide any children who needed help or directions.  Therefore on Dec. 16, 1992, the Peace Committee began this ministry to help monitor children during the Sunday morning classes and church services. Elwyn Gunn began our banner ministery in January, 1993.  Today we have fourteen beautiful banners portraying the person of Christ. On February 17, 1993, the old parsonage located on the church grounds was sold and moved so that a playground could be built for activities associated with Children's Church and Vacation Bible School. Pine Forest has been blessed to have so much talent in our church family. We have had unique and  very successful programs for our Vacation Bible School. The attendance of the  children has increased  throughout the years.  On December 21, 1994, another interesting activity for the Christmas season was carolling by horse-drawn wagons and buggies.  A multitude of children and adults took part in riding through the community.  The decorated wagons and buggies are drawn by Belgian horses adorned with Christmas lights.  This activity is held Christmas week.
   January 2, 1994, the church began a radio ministry,  broadcasting on KTFA. The time period was 10:30-11:00 AM each Sunday.  The gospel is shared throughout the Golden Triangle by means of radio.   On March 16, 1994, Kevin Trinkle was licensed to the ministry and served the summer of 1995 as our Associate Pastor. Our church joined with other organizations to adopt a portion of our highway clean-up program.  This began in August 27, 1994.  This clean up program covers one mile north  and one mile south of the church.

Church History-8    Our parking lot was paved in June, 1994 at a cost of $79,000.  Construction on a beautiful prayer garden began August, 1994 and was dedicated on April 7, 1996 (Easter Sunday). Several weddings have been held in it, as well as our annual Easter Early service. After serving faithfully for 19 years, Gracie Quave resigned as financial secretary on March 22, 1995.  Carlotta Coggins replaced Gracie as secretary on April 12, 1995.
   On April 12, 1995 a contract was signed with Tele-Media Communication to provide free air time for the church Sunday morning services.  The church purchased cameras and technical equipment for $18,000.00 through donations.  All money and labor was donated by church members.  Charles Byars was elected Media Chairman for the Tele-Media Church Services.  The gospel is broadcast by cable television Sunday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday each week at 9:00 am.  Patricia Gill was hired as church receptionist/outreach secretary on May 24, 1995. Then on the last Wednesday in November, 1995, the Wednesday Night Family Meal began from 5:45-6:30 PM, providing food at a minimum cost for a family and Christian fellowship for all.
   Due to many automobile accidents occurring in our area, the church was asked by the Emergency Corp. if they could be allowed to place a mark on the north parking lot for a Rescue Helicopter landing.  This was approved by the church on September 11, 1996.  The Federal Aviation Administration then started the paper work for approval of the chosen site.  About a year later all the requirements of the F.A.A. had been completed and the site was approved.  This helipad is the first one in the Vidor area and the only one privately owned in the county.  This has been very helpful for the entire community.
   Eunice Medley retired as duplicating secretary in September, 1996, after serving 17 years.  Rebecca Clayton was hired to this position on November 13, 1996.
   On March 25, 1998, after much prayer and discussion, the church voted to purchase a 35 passenger travel bus at a cost of $75,000.00.  The bus has been used for both adult and youth trips ranging from New Mexico to Ridgecrest, North Carolina.
   Rev. Elwyn Gunn retired on Dec. 31, 1998 after twenty years of ministry through education, music and drama ministry.
   It is always hard to write the last paragraph of memiors for a church family.  This is because history is not just the past; it's about today and yet tomorrow.  History is really "His Story."  And that is what the people of Pine Forest Baptist Church love most:  We love to tell the story of Jesus and His love.  Our motto is "The Place Where Love Meets."  Jesus' cross is the place where God's love meets man's need for a Savior.  The rest of our days will be spent living out history as we share His Story, fellowship with one another and grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.

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