Southside Baptist to celebrate 100th anniversary
It was 1913 when members of Thomasville’s First Baptist Church began organizing a mission on the south side of town.
Today, a century later, the mission continues.
Southside Baptist Church, the product of that 1913 mission, will celebrate its 100th anniversary this weekend. A number of activities have been planned for the observance, including homecoming services Sunday morning.
Fittingly, the church remains committed to mission work a hundred years after its founding, longtime members say.
“We’ve always been a mission-minded church,” says Elaine Hulin, who has attended Southside Baptist since she was a baby in the late 1940s. “We try to do missions for the community, as well as support foreign and other missions.”
And that’s true whether it means serving a monthly meal for the community, hosting a fall festival or sponsoring missionaries overseas, she adds.
When the mission began in the summer of 1913, it was known as the Amazon Mission and was organized with 24 charter members. One of those charter members, Solomon Petree, donated land at the forks of Fisher Ferry Street and Bryan Road, and that’s where the first church building was located.
That first building was actually the original building from First Baptist, which was relocated to the new mission’s plot of land. The mission became known as Southside Baptist in 1920, when it became a member of the Liberty Baptist Association.
Hulin, who serves as the church treasurer, still remembers that original building that Southside Baptist occupied.
“I can remember as a child going down in the basement, down these little narrow steps, to Sunday school classes down there,” she says.
“We started building the new church in 1952, and we got in there within the next couple of years. Then we used the old church as kind of a fellowship hall for several years, until 1962, when we started building a three-story educational building at the back of the present church.”
Another longtime member of Southside Baptist, Esther House, also remembers the original church building, which once stood where a service station now stands.
“It breaks my heart to see that service station in the forks of the road where the old church was,” House says. “But the church has grown a lot. We did a complete renovation of the sanctuary since we built the new building.”
According to House, the church has had nearly three dozen pastors — some of them supply pastors — since its founding. The current pastor is the Rev. Tommy Sizemore Jr.
The congregation will celebrate the church’s 100th anniversary this weekend with a full slate of activities throughout the day Saturday, followed by homecoming services and a covered-dish lunch on Sunday.
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Southside Baptist Church, located at 712 Fisher Ferry St. in Thomasville, will celebrate its 100th anniversary this weekend.
On Saturday, there will be a 5K run/walk beginning at 10 a.m., a cookout at noon, and an afternoon of games for children and adults, a children’s bounce house, and special singing.
On Sunday, a homecoming service at 10:50 a.m. will feature guest speaker the Rev. Dr. Lawrence Clapp of South Elm Street Baptist Church in Greensboro, who is the son of former Southside pastor E.W. Clapp. A covered-dish lunch will follow the service.
All events are open to the public.