Memoirs of Pine Forest Baptist Church
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
visisted other churches to sing solos, duets and quartets. Those
children were very dedicated during this time. Larry also lead 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 vsions, 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.
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.
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.
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,
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