Birchwood Baptist Church was organized on the fourth Saturday in September 1873 by a group of people living in the Birchwood area, who wanted a church in the center of their thriving community, located in the north-west section of James County. The charter members were of the Old Salem Baptist Church, which was located several miles to the south. With the mode of travel being horseback, horse and buggy, or horse and mule drawn wagons, and with the winter just ahead, this was the ideal time to organize. Reverend George Luther was the organizing minister.
The congregation met in a small log building for church services until 1879, when the First Baptist Church of Birchwood was built on land given by Malinda Erwin for the church and cemetery. The original church is the center part of the structure as it stands today, with additions being built in 1904 and again in more recent years. Mr. Genoe and his son from Decatur did the carpentry work. Mr. Lloyd Munger hauled logs to Mr. Haze Martin's sawmill in Blythe's Ferry and had the lumber sawed for the church. From time to time, additions have been made to the full length of both sides of the original church to accommodate Sunday School rooms and a nursery. Each addition is in keeping with the original structure. The windows, weatherboarding, and other materials have been made to match the original structure.
During the very early years of the church, there was no Sunday School organization. When Mr. F. N. Sanders came to join the church, he encouraged starting Sunday School. Sunday School classes first met in different corners of the building. Several years later, the side Sunday School rooms were added. Sometime later than that, the two rooms and furnace rooms were added. Originally, the church was heated by two pot bellied wood stoves.
Every summer the church had a revival usually one or two weeks in length. Baptisms were held in different locations (the river at Blythe's Ferry, Mr. Heman Roark's place, and also at the Harrison Roark place). Betty Roark remembered at one time there was a Junior Choir and a Senior Choir. One sat on the left of the platform and the other on the right. During the early years, it was also customary for women and small children to sit on the left side of the auditorium and the men sat on the right side.
Prior to being called to Birchwood, I pastored a church in south-central Kentucky. I never quite picked up the Kentucky obsession for basketball, but that is probably owing to my upbringing in Alabama where my people prefer to wear crimson on college football day. I have enjoyed serving local churches for many years now and am also grateful for my time managing the bakery staff in the central Kentucky / Lexington area Panera Bread stores. I met the girl of my dreams in high school and married her in 2004. We had our first child in 2007... we've been blessed with 4 more since then! Our kids are named David, Jonathan, Elizabeth, Rebekah, and Caleb. We also have a chiweenie (a rodent-like dog) named Harley and a cat named Harriot Skonk (who looks like a skunk). There is never a dull moment around our place! Amanda is an incredible friend and partner in the ministry. She is a true gift! We both graduated from Boyce College together in Louisville in 2006. I am currently studying for my Masters of Divinity at Southern Seminary. I enjoy cooking, smoking bbq, football, hiking, gardening, and reading... especially reading. My favorite author is C.S. Lewis and I'm nearly done reading everything he's written (that I'm aware of). I also enjoy Andrew Peterson's Wingfeather Saga books! I am humbled to be called to serve as pastor at Birchwood. I enjoy discipleship and hospitality. I love to see people thrive in their walk with the Lord. I also get excited about developing leaders. I'm looking forward to what the Lord will do through his people at Birchwood! One of my favorite verses is 2 Corinthians 4:6, "For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."
Youth + Children's Director
I have served as Children’s and Youth Director since February, 2022. My hope as Children’s and Youth Director is to show each child that they are precious in God’s eyes and to help them have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. My vision for both ministries is to have in-depth Sunday School, energetic Wednesday night services, Summer Camps and involve the students in active ministerial roles to the church and community. I have always loved being involved in church activities. I believe God has put an enthusiasm in my heart to serve Him and His Church. This is a very real reason my Life Verse is Romans 12:9-13. Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. I graduated from Lee University in 1992 with a B.S. in Christian Education. I met my wife, Feliciia, in 1996 and we were married in 1997. We have two beautiful daughters, Braley and Kinley. Our family became members of Birchwood Baptist in 2018. I enjoy woodworking, being outdoors, cooking and, of course, Dr. Pepper.