Dr. James A. Raye Passion Week - April 3-7, 2023; 7:00 pm Nightly
Dr. James A. Raye Passion Week - April 3-7, 2023; 7:00 pm Nightly
Near the end of slavery, when slaves were allowed some measure of freedom to worship together, an inspired group of people of the Cedar Grove Community was granted permission by the late Duncan Campbell to hold worship services in a shelter previously used to house cattle. Unfortunately, there is no record of the year or how long services were held in this shelter.
On January 26, 1874, the first recorded date of our church history, the following persons met to officially organize and give the church its name: Elias Davis, Reverend J.M. Council, Jim Fisher, Reverend Lewis Humphrey, Reverend William Johnson, Archie Odom and Duncan Biggs. At this meeting, it was decided that that the church should be dedicated and named Cedar Grove Missionary Baptist Church. Membership of the church included such families as Sam Brown, Blount Currie, W.C. Crawford, Jack Carlyle, Haywood McNeil, Alford Carlyle, Ismish Crawford, Dave Crawford, Alex Biggs, Enoch Lewis, and some others.
On January 6, 1886, the people purchased the first tract of land from R.B. McGregory to build a suitable place to worship and set their ‘land mark’. Serving as trustees were, Jack Carlyle, Alford Carlyle, and David Currie. It is believed that the first building was of wood and Reverend J.M. Council was leading the people toward their new goals.
In 1878, the first Sunday School was established with W.H. McNeal as superintendent and W.C. Biggs was the Bible School leader. Under the leadership of Reverend Alex Moore, who is named as Cedar Grove’s first Pastor, the first corner stone was set in place. The deacons were Jack Carlyle, Enoch Lewis and Blount Currie. Reverend Moore served as Pastor from 1896 to 1905.
In 1905, the first business meeting and Holy Communion was observed under the leadership of Reverend J.M. Council, who served the church unofficially for a number of years. Because of the lack of keeping records and lost records many of the noble deeds and activities of our church history are missing. However, during those early years, Cedar Grove prospered spiritually and materially under the leadership of dedicated leaders and members to whom we owe our love and thanks. From 1935 to 1961 under the leadership of Reverend C.F. Worley a more detail record of the church and its programs were recorded.
On December 25, 1943, during prayer service, the church was destroyed by fire. Only a few pews, the Bible and pieces of the pulpit set were saved. While a new building of cinder blocks was under construction services were held for ninety days in the school house.
In 1944, the church building was completed, a second tract of land was purchased and the second corner stone was set in place under the leadership of Pastor Worley and deacons, Alex Carlyle, Whitt Crawford, Angus McMillan, Alex Biggs, Isiah Thompson, Johnny Harrell, John D. Evans and John T. Biggs. James McKinnon, John T. Biggs and Angus McDonald were serving as trustees. During Reverend Worley’s administration may improvements were made to include bathrooms, baptismal pool, Sunday School rooms, carpet, new pews, and pulpit furniture and a piano. Reverend Worley served the church for 26 years.
From 1961 to 1965, Reverend Lacy E. Simpson served Cedar Grove adding a dining room and kitchen. He added to the church program and advanced the role of the members. In 1965, Reverend J.D. Herring came to lead the people of Cedar Grove until 1971. During the 6 years under Reverend Herring, the church improved. Brick were laid over the cinder blocks, a pastor’s study, Sunday School rooms, choir stand was added, a youth choir was organized, a recreation program was started and the walks were paved.
In 1972, Dr. James A. Raye, Sr. was called to be the 14th Pastor of Cedar Grove. Under his leadership, the youth and recreation program were advanced, the church building was renovated to include inside paneling, central heat-air, hot water heater, landscaping, addition to church steeple, addition to and furnishing of kitchen and pastor’s study.
On the night of October 22, 1981, the Fellowship Annex was destroyed by fire. Together with the help of leadership of God, on September 6, 1987, a new Chapel-Educational Annex with kitchen, six classrooms and two bathrooms were dedicated to the glory of God as phase I of our new building program.
On September 21, 1997, we dedicated to the Glory of God a new Sanctuary, phase II of our building program. The stained glassed windows, hanging lights, fans, refinishing and padding of pews, pulpit furniture, deacons chairs, flower stands and new sound system were given as gifts from the members of the church and their families.
He was instrumental in improvements to the church property such as paving of the parking lot and landscaping. He was also instrumental in the Green Manor Rehabilitation Outreach Ministry. On January 30, 2005, he dedicated the Church Library. In October 2006, renovations of the fellowship hall begin with replacing the floor, widening the kitchen, and putting new tiles in all rooms.
Deacons serving with Dr. Raye during his 43 year tenure: Alex Carlyle, Alex Biggs, John D. Evans, John T. Biggs, Walter Caldwell, Angus McDonald, James McDonald, Gus McNair, Roscoe McMillan, James Anderson, Willie Raye, Roosevelt McEachern, Dimitric Rozier, David Patterson and Trustees, D.J. Biggs, Layten King, Bobby Evans, Robert Ray, Robert Lewis, Jack Madison, Wade Lewis, Harold Johnson, Lymon Cromartie, Rodney Cox, Chauncey Graham, Roy Brown. The church nominated and voted in Deacon Norfolk McNair, Trustee Brent Adkins, and Trustee Bro. Joseph Patterson.
Cedar Grove Missionary Baptist Church was blessed with a new pastor, Charlie J. Ross, Jr. in June 2017. Under his leadership, Cedar Grove have revamped conference, added communion every 1st Sunday, added new drums, wood doors to the front of the church, audio visual system and T.Vs for the Sanctuary and the Fellowship Hall, other remodeling and upgrading of the existing structure.
On September 22, 2019 Cedar Grove Missionary was established as a Station Church. On October 14, 2019 Cedar Grove Missionary Church became a member of the Union of Union Missionary Baptist Association, Inc.
PASTORS OF CEDAR GROVE FROM starting 1896- Present
Reverend Alex Moore – 1896 – 1905
Reverend J.M. Council – 1905-1906
Reverend W.C. Pope – 1906-1910
Reverend C. Copeland – 1910-1911 (died in pulpit)
Reverend W.C. Pope – 1911-1912 (recalled)
Reverend W.R. Myrick – 1912-1919
Reverend W.D. Mitchell – 1919-1925
Reverend D.B. Boyd – 1925-1928
Reverend A.B. Reeves – 1928-1933
Reverend W.C. Pope – 1933-1935 (recalled)
Reverend C.F. Worley – 1935-1961
Reverend Lacy E. Simpson – 1961-1965
Reverend J.D. Herring – 1965-1971
Reverend James A. Raye, Sr. – 1971-2016
Pastor C.J. Ross 2017- Present
Copyright © 2018-2022 Cedar Grove Missionary Baptist Church - All Rights Reserved.
Karen Adkins, CGBMC Webpage Administrator