History of VPBC

A Short History of Vernant Park Baptist Church

In the year 1914, Rev. H.V. Daffin, County Missionary, came to the Vernant Park Community and aroused the desire for a Christian work to be organized. Under the leadership of Rev. M.E. Hulbert a work was organized on April 25,1914, with five members. One year later a Sunday School was begun. Meetings were held for about nine years when interest began to lag and services were stopped. In 1928, Rev. B.M. Barnett revived the interest in a church in the hearts of the people. A group of people from the Vernant Park Community joined with a group in the Magnolia Springs Community; a revival was held in a tent and thirty-seven members were added. As a result of this a church was officially organized, and the Baldwin Baptist Association was petitioned and the church was accepted as a member of the Baldwin Baptist Association. Regular church services were then held in the Magnolia Springs Community Hall. Despite the fact that these were the depression years and the work of the church struggled slowly, God didn’t let His work die.
The church continued to meet in the Magnolia Springs Community Hall until 1933, when the meeting place was changed back to the Vernant Park Community, to the home of Mr. Albert Lipscomb. After several meetings this home was burned accidentally and the church was moved to another home, then finally to the back room of the community store. Soon the necessary of a building was felt and a small building (12’x 20’) was constructed in 1933. It was built without any special solicitation of funds, since as one historian has said of the willingness of the people to give, “the people felt this was the least they could do in return to Him who had done so much for them”. It was soon necessary to have a larger building and in August 1937, a new auditorium was begun. Later, in 1948 seven rooms for educational space were added to the back of this building and the auditorium was enlarged.
Prior to 1937, at least three deacons served the church. In 1937, three men were selected to serve as deacons bringing the total to four: Albert R. Lipscomb, Clyde Lipscomb, Ira Lipscomb, and Lloyd Shepard. Then in the following years additional deacons were selected as follows: Lawrence Lipscomb (1967), David Russell(1972), Wilmer Lipscomb Jr. (1975), Oswalt Lipscomb (1977), Roy Russell (1977), Frank Sims (1981), Edward Lipscomb (1983), Albert M. Lipscomb (1983), Howard Graham (1990), Bruce Sims (1992) and Bob Kaiser (20??). On March 13, 1938, the Training Union was officially organized. The church had 52 members at this time and 22 were enrolled in the new Training Union. In 1940, report was given of the beginning of a Women’s Organization. In 1941, the church, having moved from the Magnolia Community, changed its name from Magnolia Springs Baptist Church to Vernant Park Baptist Church. In 1944, the church reported its first Vacation Bible School. There were 85 members on the church roll. The V.B.S enrolled 25. In 1947, report was made that regular prayer meeting services were being held in the church. God continued to prosper His work.
In 1950, a pastor’s home was built and dedicated. The church moved from half-time to full-time services and the pastor was living on the church field. Because of the growth and development of the Magnolia Springs Community, in 1952, a mission work was begun there. That work took root and a church was established in Magnolia Springs in 1953. Vernant Park Baptist Church supported the new ministry as a mission and some of the members of Vernant Park transferred their membership. Bro. Gerald Blackburn was their first pastor. He, along with his brother Harold Blackburn, also served as Associational missionaries of Baldwin Baptist Association.
Vernant Park continued to grow. The membership as of October 1, 1962, was 145 (70 resident and 75 non-resident). A building committee was appointed with Mr. Albert Lipscomb as chairman, and in January, 1962, construction was begun on a recreation (26’ x 44’). This was completed and dedicated in 1966. In 1968, a men’s organization was formed. This led the church in having a men’s and women’s missionary organization. In 1971, the church began a bus ministry with the purchase of a Volkswagon Van in February, 1971. God blessed this ministry and with its growth the church purchased a larger van in December, 1974. In 1972, an organ was purchased for the church. In 1975, the church letter reported the church having 191 members. In October, 1975, ground-breaking services were held for the addition of an educational building (32’ x 60’). This was added to the west end of the existing recreational building. Dedication services for the building were held on July 11, 1976. God’s work continued to move forward.
In 1976-77, an educational fund was established, many improvements were made to the pastorium, including insulation, carpet, reworking the windows etc. A building fund was established in April 1977 and a committee was elected to begin studying the need for a new sanctuary. In February 1977, a minister of music and youth was called (David Delegal) and the choir acquired choir robes. A puppet ministry was established. Mrs. Grace “Miss Bobbie” Lipscomb was recognized for forty (40) years of continuous service as pianist of the church. On July 9, 1978, the church celebrated its 50th anniversary as a member of the Southern Baptist Convention. On this occasion seven individuals who were baptized in 1928, as members of the church were in attendance. In February 1980, a new sanctuary (resulting from the committee formed in 1977) was completed and the first service was held in it on February 24, with pastor George Shaddix preaching. The old sanctuary was converted into classrooms.
In November 1982, Rev. William “Bro. Bill” Stephens was called as pastor. The church on 1987 recognized Clyde Lipscomb for 50 years as Church Treasurer. In 1992, the Cemetery Committee brought a proposal to the church to build a cemetery entrance gate. The gate was completed in February 1998, the church selected a committee to study the possibility of converting the old sanctuary into a fellowship hall (to include a kitchen and two restrooms), to convert the then current fellowship hall into four classrooms, and to convert the small original church building into a library. The church approved this project and in April 1998, the work began. The renovation project was completed in December 1998, and was first utilized after the Christmas Cantata in 1988.
In the year 2000, we began a new century in service to our Lord. In 2003, the church celebrated it’s 75th Anniversary. In October of 2007 the church in recognition for his 25 years as pastor and her service as music director gave Bro. Bill and Elaine Stephens a trip to Israel. After 30 years of ministry, in 2012, Bro. Bill announced his retirement. Vernant Park recognized David Russell in 2013 for his 41 years as a deacon. A Pastor Search Committee was elected and after over a year of prayerful consideration and the church’s approval called Rev. Andrew “Bro. Andy” McClellan and family in 2013.  God’s work continues today, come and join us to see what great things will be accomplished for the kingdom of God in this era of our Vernant Park Baptist Church history.