Topping the hill on the old Kimsey Hill Drive recently named Curtis Road in the White County town of Robertstown, the full view of Center Baptist Church immediately imposes a peaceful sense to resident and visitor alike. For the visitor, it may be the impression of a storybook setting. The church, though small, has been an influence and a landmark for generations since its beginning.
Many years ago, some of the minutes of church conferences were burned in a house fire. As a result, much of the history of the church is missing. Some gaps have been filled in from interviews of witnesses and stories handed down through generations.
One story handed down relates that as the community was being settled in the very early 1900’s, the closest Baptist Church was a few miles away and transportation was not as available as today. Some of the men canvassed the community about the possibility of organizing a Baptist Church in Robertstown. Response was favorable and the rest, as they say, is history.
The church originally called Roberstown Baptist Church was organized on July 5, 1913. There were 17 original members. The first pastor was T.W. Flowers who was elected for the remaining part of 1913. On motion, a building committee was appointed to act as trustees for the property of church. Again according to oral descent, the first meetings were held in homes and later in a school building. Twelve years after its beginning the church sanctuary was constructed on land donated by W.I. Stovall and W.H. Clark. Sunday School classes also met in the sanctuary on Sunday afternoons. Sometime between 1916 and 1921 the name was changed to Center Baptist Church; worship services were held twice a month.
Records available do not indicate how financial matters were managed. The earliest note of paying the pastor was a note in the minutes April 18, 1915 when a collection was taken for the pastor. The total amount was $4.65.
In conference on September 18, 1915 the church approved the Articles of Faith. On March 26, 1930 the church collected $3.05 to pay the pastor. In the 1930’s members “signed up” to pay the light bill which was usually less than $1.50. On August 26, 1933 the church collected $8.00 for the pastor. In 1934 a member was appointed to see each member and collect what they could give in support of the pastor.
At various times the church collected money to support families in need which at one time (at to least) included taking a offering to clear debts of the pastor. In the mid 1959 the light bill went up to $2.06 a month. In 1959-1960 the amount paid to the pastor went up to $16 per Sunday. In December 1960 after paying the gas bill ($14.84) the bank balance was $189.05.
In May 1962 the church voted to have worship services every Sunday and to have midweek services on Wednesday nights. In September 1963 the church voted to issue “indefinite call” (as opposed to “annual call”) with the pastor or church giving 60-day notice. In February 1965 the church voted to put another $600 into savings. In December 1970 the janitor’s pay was raised to $5. In January 1972 the church has a bank balance of $11,070.05, then in September 1972 the janitor’s salary was raised to $10.
In May 1975 the church purchased property on the hill behind the church for $7500. A trailer was purchased and placed on the property for the pastor to live in.
We have had many pastor’s in the past years, bio-vocational, Hal Cason 1987-1988, Henry Powell 1988-1994, Jeff Brown 1994-1999, Henry Loggins 1999-2003. In 2004 Center Baptist called Michael Wilkes to be full time pastor.
Our approximate membership is grown from 342 in 2012 to 391 in 2015. We continue to baptize people in the church and at the river each year.
The budget for 2015-2016 is $310,486, and includes many opportunities to serve through missions, Sunday School, Annie Armstrong, Lottie Moon, Missions Trips, and other Special Offerings, Trout Tournament in Helen 1st Saturday in May each year where we fed over 500 people and share the gospel of Jesus Christ.