our church history
Allen McGuire 1802-1828
Joel Hulsy 1829-1838
Gardiner Berry 1839-1881
L.T. McLeod 1881-1882
J.T. Betta 1882-1883
I.W. Bruner 1884-1886
A.W. Graves 1887-1891
J.S. Gatton 1892-1894
C.L. Anderson 1895-1896
G.W. Wheatly 1897-1899
L.M. Theobold 1900-1904
H.A. Vernon 1905-1906
E.R. Osborne 1907-1914
T.H. Wiles 1915-1916
D.H. Willett 1917-1918
T.E. Smith 1919-1922
M. Robert Regan 1924-1926
A.L. Jordan 1926-1928
S.N. Lamb 1929-1930
Edmond W. Moon 1930-1933
M. Robert Regan 1934-1937
Judson Jones 1938-1940
L.D. Johnson 1941-1942
Pierce McGuire 1943-1945
Bruce Whitaker 1945-1949
Charles Martin 1949-1952
Harold Shirley 1952-1954
C.J. Lawrence 1954-1955
Robert A. Couch 1955-1958
James Jones 1958-1960
Dwight Waters 1961-1962
Larry Hardy 1962-1966
Charles Card 1966-1969
Walter Callison 1969-1970
Roy H. Jones 1970-1977
Gene Roberts 1977-1980
Donald Ross 1980-1983
Larry Weatherington 1983-1991
Ed Life 1991-2013
Robert (Bo) Irvin 2013-2018
Twenty-six (26) years after the U.S. became a nation and only ten (10) years after Kentucky became a state, the brave settlers, while wrestling the land from forest, found time drawn by the Holy Spirit to worship God.
From the minutes of the first minute book is stated "to all whom it may concern--this is to certify that Robert Forbis, Isaac Forbis, Thompson, Allen McGuire, Mary McGuire, Robert Forbis' "Derry and Violet", Mr, John Berry's "Berm and Lucy "are orderly members and in full fellowship with us at their request are dismissed for the purpose of being constituted a church on Floyd's Fork where they reside. Given under our hands by order of the Drennons Church September 11, 1802, John Baker, clerk.
The first church meeting was at the home of Brother Robert Forbis, on September 26, 1802, after prayer received the following members: Bro. Robert Forbis' Beck", Mr. William Taylor's "Jahill" and "Milly" and Mr. John Berry's "Jude" to be baptized. Thus, the first members of East Floyds Fork Church were five whites and eight black slaves.
The first pastor was Rev. Allen McGuire who served from 1802-1828. (10-28-02) It was voted at one of the first meetings to join Elkhorn Association.
The records state that the church met at some home, and then at the December meeting 1803 and thereafter it states "The church met at the meeting house, which seems to say that was when the first church building was built.
Each time the church met for business they asked if all were at peace with each other or if the church was all in good standing.
In 1807 it seems that members were expected to attend church and if not were often asked to show cause why they were absent. However women or blacks were excused. It seems that this didn't set well with some members for at the meeting Saturday, April 4, 1807 one of the acts of business was "the rule respecting members being absent at our church meetings be entirely struck out and of no effect.
On meeting in 1808 it was agreed that June and October be the time for communion. This is not very often, but as I read of bad weather, often they did not have church at all.
On February 6, 1808, the church met and agreed that the name of our church be altered from East Fork and that our next letter to the association state it to be the same.
June 4, 1808 the question of a new meetinghouse came up, but at the next meeting July 2, 1808, it was agreed to stay as they were in the present building.
In the minutes over the years it shows that Derry and others, both black and white, had trouble going straight. They were voted out of church--repented and were voted into fellowship.
The church was much concerned about Bible teachings and commands. On the meeting in May 1812, the question of foot washing came up. Does the church believe in the washing of feet as mentioned in the 13th Chapter of John to be an ordinance of the Lord Jesus Christ for His church to follow? The query as above stated, was taken up and there is a majority in favor, that it is not an ordinance as stated in the query. Repairing and adding to the church was discussed and in the August meeting the committee was to report.
First Saturday in August, meeting read in part, "The trustees are exonerated from making their report as directed at our last meeting on account of the meeting house being burnt down."
Fifth Saturday in August 1812 after other business, the question of rebuilding was raised. Agreed that the obligation be drawn for the land on which the meeting house is to be built to include from the corner of Robert Forbis land joining George Chastin and George Staton to include the spring thence to include the place laid off for the meeting house, one pole, and that Robert Forbis agrees to give up one-half acre of same October 1812.
The church agreed to take the ground where on the house is to stand in square, and Bro. Robert Forbis binds himself before the church to make them a special warrantee for one acre square around meeting house, it being in or near the center and confirm the title to the church so long as the place shall be occupied by a society of worshiping people.
In the meeting of January 2, 1813 the obligation produced and read relative to the conveyance of one acre of land from Robert Forbis for the use and benefit of the East Fork Church read and received agreeable to an order of the church at their October meeting 1812.
Having bought the land, it seems that the building of the church was self-help. From the church record of the first Saturday in December 1812, "Brother John James agrees to lathe and put on the shingles on one-half of the meeting house as soon as some other provided and ready to put on the other side. It was then just as now, someone says, "I'll do it if you will". Under the Holy Spirit we must and can pull together.
Even saints have faults, yet down deep it seems our forerunners loved God and each other. Several times folks were put out of fellowship, then they came sorrowful before the church and were always forgiven and returned to full fellowship. On one or more occasions two Deacons got at outs and the church (in love and law) corrected them.
April 2, 1814 it came to the attention of the church a dispute over one and one-half pounds of sugar. Ms' caused quite a stir, yet it shows they believed in justice even in little things. At close of the meeting the minutes read "Is the church in fellowship with Brother Christian after satisfying Mr. Handy for one and one-half lbs of sugar and it appears they are unanimous.
April 1816 in business meeting "agreed that every free male (or any other member that sees cause) pay annually to the church twenty-five cents (.25) in order to defray the expense of the church. To be paid on or before the July meeting annually. Even the early day Baptists thought of missions. It isn't clear just where but November 1815 found the church taking contributions for a western missionary. Early records show that this church has always had a mind for missions. Early years the offerings were sent to the orphan's home.
Women have always led the way in missions. Beginning WMU years ago has remained viable to the point of having 3 strong WMU Groups in the church now.
Early years the Sunbeams, Girls in Action and Royal Ambassadors were active until around the 80's. Convention changed these to Mission Friends and Children in Action combining RA and GA. Acteens have also been a part of this church at different times.
The women of Smithfield Baptist Church have attended state conventions and associational WMU meetings and local retreats. Participating in all the mission studies and offerings, organizing many local and state mission projects have been evidence of commitment to the Lord's work in reaching others.
The Brotherhood of our church was begun in early years; we have records showing brotherhood's participation since 1957. Supporting the RA's and participation in Associational, church wide, and foreign mission projects has been evidence of these men's commitment, as well as reaching out to the community. Smithfield Baptist Church is one of the few active in Associational Brotherhood. Several of our men have been part of Baptist Builders and Disaster Relief. The Brotherhood men have also taken part in foreign building projects in Jamaica and state projects in Louisiana and Cumberland, KY. Many times the men support local families in needed projects. They provide the church with Easter morning breakfast, a Vacation Bible School cookout, and the Father/Son cookout held in June every year.
Another form of missions that is a crucial part of Smithfield Baptist Church is our Vacation Bible School. For many, many years VBS has been a constant summertime activity. Children from all over Henry County, as well as the Smithfield area, have enjoyed the great fun and activities associated with VBS, as well as learning about Jesus Christ. Many young lives have been brought to the Lord through Vacation Bible School. Vacation Bible School has been a great outreach for our community's children for many years and will continue for many years to come.
The church first joined Elkhorn Association in 1812. The minutes stated when the church transferred to the Long Run Association. July 1825 is the last mention of Long Run. August 1826 the church was in Sulphur Fork Association.
We are unable to obtain the record of minutes for quite a number of years. It is thought by some of the older members that they were lost in the fire at the home of a church clerk. This I cannot prove.
The church records read that on: This indenture made and entered into this eleventh day of August 1871 between Isaac Davis of Shelby County Kentucky of the first part and E.B. Moore, E.D. Crabb, Steven L. Drane, John L. Williams and John D. Powell--the trustees in trust for a sum of $131.06. It goes on to state the size of the lot and that it is to be used to build a house of worship. County clerk E.P. Thomas recorded the deed February 26, 1872.
The minutes of July 14, 1888 show that the cost of repair was much less then. Paid out for paper and work cost the church $83.60 and to paint the outside of the church $18.05.
On November 17, 1888, the record shows the resolutions on the death of Reverend E.G. Berry. He was born February 1, 1801 and died October 25, 1888 and was pastor of our church 42 years. There is a tablet in his honor hanging in the front of the church today.
In December 1888 the members were to raise money for the pastor's salary. In the year 1889 the committee raised $291.00 as stated they feel confident they can raise $9.00 more.
Money was scarce and money was raised by assessment. This was referred to as paying your dues. One member was excluded because he refused to pay. Even in the 1970's a few old people still called it paying my dues. The minutes of one business meeting show that one pastor was asked to resign-- which he did.
Smithfield Baptist Church is one of the Charter Members of Henry County Baptist Association and O.J. Vancleave was our first executive committee member. The report on the association was given to the church October 16, 1915.
At the meeting December 14, 1918, it was voted that the church go on a Budget System. Q.J. VanCleave, W.T. Crum and E. P. Smith prepared the first budget.
Times were hard in the depression years, the meeting of July 3,1931 states. Balance in the treasure January 1, 1931-$1.64-- Collected through June $202.14. Paid out pastor $162.00. Kentucky Utilities $8.75--Housekeeper $20.00--For minutes $5.85--For cash $3.88 Total $200.48 Overdrawn $1.64 Total $202.12 $202.14 - $202.12 Total in treasure July 01, 1931 .02. Church received in 1931 $420.84---Expenses for 1931 $420.48 January 1, 1932 in treasure .36. The record shows Mission Gift (special gifts for the year 1931) $6.81.
October 1, 1933, the committee on fixing or removing the front fence reported that the men of the church removed the fence and sold the planks for $4.00 and put the $4.00 in the church treasure. The members of the church did really "keep on keeping on" and the budget was raised to $500.00 for 1936. $1165.59 in 1942, $1234.92 in 1944, and $2286.37 in 1947.
In the July 6, 1947 meeting it was voted that Reverend Bruce Whitaker be in charge of the planning of the dedication service of our Sunday school rooms. These were what is now the basement of our present church, only a little above the ground with a low hip roof.
At the meeting September 30, 1948, motion was made by Mason Smith, seconded by John E. Allen that a church building fund be started. This was to be 5% of money taken in. Motion carried. The drive around the church was begun April 1950.
In the church meeting October 1950, the church voted to begin paying all of the minister's retirement. August 10, 1952 it was voted to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the church. Mrs. Alex Robinson was asked to prepare a history of the church.
At the May 24, 1953 meeting Bro. Paul Allen made a motion, seconded by Bro. Mason Smith, that we build the new Sunday school rooms. Motion carried.
At the meeting October 18, 1953 the church voted to erect a plaque in memory of Bro. Frank Totten, whose gift, left in his will, helped make it possible.
Meeting July 1, 1956 a motion by Bro. Charles Whitely seconded by Bro. Mason Smith, and carried that we record in the minutes that $14,669.45 was collected for the special building fund for the new educational building and after the building was paid for $173.87 balance was turned over to the general building fund.
In the meeting October 6, 1957 it was agreed that the church needed much repair, such as papering, repairing the floors, putting in a heating system, and painting the brick on the outside. After some discussion it was decided to get some builders advice before we spent so much on the old building.
At the meeting January 12, 1958, it was agreed that the building committee go ahead with the investigation of repairing the church.
On March 9, 1958 the committee was instructed to take the bid they thought best. In the April 6, 1958 meeting it was agreed to take pledges from the floor to be paid over a three-year period for repairing the church. The records show it was agreed to hang the Reverend E.G. Berry Plaque in the vestibule. It voted in the June 22 meeting to buy material to make a new pulpit. Bro. Ralph Farmer volunteered to build it.
As the planning and the work progressed it was realized that indeed much work was needed to make God's house what it should be. The building had stood for 86 years; the windowpanes were imperfect, and floors sagging. Two stoves heated the building, one at each end. Age had indeed taken its toll.
The work was started by taking out all the floor and floor joists, removing the windows, the doors, the plaster, which was to the brick walls, leaving only the walls, roof, and ceiling joists. It was indeed a skeleton. The foundation was re-enforced. The walls checked and repainted, new floor joists and floors. The walls studded and plastered together with the ceiling. The old front doors, which were extremely tall, were replaced with doors of correct height. A balcony was built across the rear of the building and stained glass windows replacing the old windows. One was caused to think of King David saying his house was fine but God had no temple. Rightly the people of Smithfield Baptist Church were happy and proud of their efforts. The cost of the repair was _______and the final payment on the note was _________________________
December 5, 1960. In the August 7, 1966 regular meeting the motion was made, seconded, and ______________________ brick with full basement.
Centennial Celebration for Smithfield Baptist Church building was held the week of April 9-16 1972. Our former pastors were on the week's program and Sunday April 16, 1972, the week of celebration ended with all day service and dinner in the church basement.
Over the years no constitution or by-laws governed the church. On November 3, 1974, a committee of seven was appointed to draw up these and present them to the church to be voted upon.
On February 2, 1975, the constitution was presented for vote, giving each member a copy. More time was given for members to decide. March 1, 1975 the proposed constitution was amended, and on March 16, 1975 it was adopted by a vote of 41 to 11. In May of 1994 a Steering Committee was formed to look into the expansion of Smithfield Baptist Church. The proposed expansion included the building of new Sunday school rooms and a new fellowship facility.
In November 1994 the plans for the building expansion were presented to the church. The building plans were 40X72, and consisted of a large kitchen, one large room with expandable doors, four smaller rooms to be used as an office and Sunday school rooms. Two new restrooms were also in the plans. The building would be wheel chair accessible, and the baptismal would be redone and a changing room added. The motion was made that we proceed with the new building plans.
Darius Powell was contracted as the architect and Bobby Blakemore and Terry Moore were contracted to do the construction.
Pauline Staley, a longtime member of Smithfield Baptist Church, in her passing, designated a large part of her estate be left to Smithfield Baptist Church. It was added to the New Building fund.
On August 11, 1996 the construction being completed, the new building was dedicated to the further service of our Lord, and to the community.
The youth of our church have always been and will remain a crucial part to the future of our church. There have been many inspirational youth leaders through the years who have been there to teach, sing, do recreation, camps, retreats, concerts, school activities and inspire the young people to stay close to God through their lives. We have had several youth choir and musicals through the years. Many school band members have also been active in our worship services. Some youth have done mission projects, Bible Drill, some lead and do music and some youth have gone on to become pastors.
Music ministry has been a great blessing in this church for many years. In the 1950's the Puckett family brought musical talent in singing, and Wanda played the piano. In 1959-62 the new organ was sponsored by the youth and also a new piano was bought for the church. In 1958 an adult choir was installed with 16 persons for morning worship. Youth would serve in the evening worship. Mrs. Arvin began a junior choir in 1974. The youth and children of our church were active in many musical presentations. Children did musicals under the direction of Lillie Roberts and Pat Gray through the 1980's. The children of today's church continue to perform under the direction of several willing adults. The adult choir continues to bless us with Easter and Christmas Cantatas each year.
Smithfield Baptist Church from its beginning has been a congregation of honesty, integrity, fairness and a church of the Word.
Early and current minutes indicate a willingness to disagree agreeably. Financial obligations have always been met. Special offerings are common to cover legitimate projects for the Lord's work not covered in the budget.
A heart for folks to come to salvation through Jesus Christ and a loving fellowship has always been characteristic of Smithfield Baptist Church.
Most of all, adhering to God's Holy word as the plumb line and measure for all things accomplished.
The Church is blessed with several families representing as many as five generations of worshipers in Smithfield Baptist Church. As the community has changed and grown, so has the witness of Smithfield Baptist Church, but the message of the church has remained the same while the methods have changed to carry on the witness accordingly. Our prayer is that God will continue to guide and bless His people here at Smithfield Baptist Church and that we may bring honor and glory to His name. Amen.