Ephesus Baptist Church - Chapel Hill, NC
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Ephesus Baptist Church of Chapel Hill, NC, finds its roots in the evangelistic fervor of George Whitfield, renowned as the greatest evangelist of the 18th century. Shubal Stearns, born 1706 in Boston, was deeply influenced by Whitfield and saved during a revival service with Whitfield preaching. Initially a member of a Congregational Church, Stearns converted and was ordained into the Baptist denomination in 1751. Responding to the urging of the Holy Spirit, Stearns and his group of families traveled to Virginia in 1754 for a short time, and subsequently moved on to Guilford County, NC, in 1755 and established the Sandy Creek Church. From this seed 42 churches emerged within 17 years and established the spiritual context within which Ephesus Baptist Church of Chapel Hill, NC, could be called into being.
1886 - The Pope brothers and their neighbors erect Pope's Chapel on the farm of Sidney M. Pope.
1890 - Mt. Zion Baptist Association sends John C. Hocutt to minister to the "destitute" community surrounding Pope's Chapel.
1891 - On December 11, Ephesus Baptist Church is organized at Pope's Chapel with Hocutt as its first pastor and sixteen charter members who moved their membership from Berea Baptist Church.
1892 - For one dollar, Sidney M. Pope conveys "to the Deacons.....and their successors" at Ephesus Baptist Church, one and one-quarter acres, including the structure known as Pope's Chapel.
1893 - First "protracted meeting" at Ephesus Baptist Church leads to the baptism of six new members at Pickett's Mill on New Hope Creek.
1913 - Sidney M. Pope deeds additional property to Ephesus, part of which was set aside for a "buriel ground."
1924 - George Malphus Pope leads the development of the first grade Sunday School.
1934 - Ephesus adopts its first unified budget. Annual goal - $500
1938 - Log cabin built adjacent to the church to facilitate activities of the church and the community.
1943 - "Efforts to build a new church in 1947 were begun and entered upon by the church." The financial goal was $6,000.
1947 - Ephesus institutes "full time service" with worship every Sunday.
1950 - New church building completed and dedicated, total cost - $52,000.
1951 - Note on new building paid off and mortgage burned.
1956 - Bob Witherspoon offers to plant and maintain a rose garden in front of the church. Six months later, he and his family join.
1957 - New educational building completed and dedicated.
1965 - New parsonage completed and dedicated.
1975 - William G. Henderson, Jr. becomes the first minister ordained at Ephesus. Four additional ministers have since been ordained.
1988 - Renovation of the 1950 Sanctuary began.
1991 - Year long celebration of Ephesus centennial year.