First Baptist Church
Laurel Hill, Florida

1896 - 2007

1917-1950s Sketch by Mark Curenton


Hall of Pastors


Reverend Wiley F. Martin: August 1896

Reverend J. W. Wheeler: Early 1900s

Reverend C. T. Culpepper: 1911-1913

Reverend D. F. Sutley: 1913-1917(?)

Reverend Pitt M. Scott: 1917-1921(?)

Reverend C. L. Perry: 1921-1922

Reverend F. C. Hawke: 1922-1939

Reverend Archie Smith: 1940-1948

Reverend E. C. Fleming: 1949-1950

Reverend C. 0. Stewart: 1950-1957

Reverend J. A. Nichols: 1957-1962

Reverend Richard Adleman: 1962-1965

Reverend Jere Hendrix: 1965-1967

Reverend Albert Locke: 1967-1973

Reverend H. C. Rutledge: Interim April – Dec. 1973

Reverend Jim Boyd: December 1973 November 1975

Reverend H. C. Rutledge: Interim Nov. 75 - May 1976

Reverend Marvin Taylor: May 1976

Reverend Cecil Walker: 1977-1983

Reverend Burdette (Bud) Docter: 1983-1986

Reverend Ed McDaniel: Interim March - August 1986

Reverend Gary Younkers: August 1986 April 1990

Reverend Jeff Locke: April 1990 - April 1994

Reverend Mark McClard: Supply Preacher only

Reverend Jerry Everage: July 1994 - October 6, 1999

Dr. Ed Nichols: interim pastor November 26, 1999

Reverend Bud Docter: May 7, 2000 - February 25,2001

Dr. Ed Nichols: called as interim January 14, 2001

Dr. Ed Nichols: Pastor July 22, 2001 – Sept. 30, 2004

Reverend Mike McVay : December 26, 2004 - Present









Founded July 26, 1896


Under the Articles of: The Faith of the
Graves Baptist Association


Constituting the Presbytery

Rev. Wiley F. Martin      Rev. L.P. Gordon


Church Regular Conference



Elected Church Officers

A. Campbell              Minnie Barlow

C. C. Locke               Sarah J. Locke

Abigail Faulkner       Maggie Givens


Officers named the church:

The First Baptist Church of Laurel Hill , Florida .

After the church was organized in regular conference, Rev. Wiley F. Martin was elected as Moderator and Maggie M. Givens as church Clerk.

The first conference was held August 27, 1896. Rev. Wiley F. Martin was unanimously called as pastor.

The church services were held in the Masonic Temple , which stood on the grounds where the present building is now located.

In the early 1900s, the members conceived the idea of erecting a church building. It was decided the new building should be erected at Almarante; this was a central location for the greater number of membership. Leaving the Masonic Temple building and moving into the new church at Almarante, Rev. J. W. Wheeler was the first pastor.

In those days most of the congregation walked to church. A few came by horse and buggy. Rev. Wheeler lived in Flomaton , Alabama . He came by train, arriving on Saturday and returning on Monday.

As time marched on, the little community grew, church membership increased, and there was a need for another church building to be built, and this time within the city. In 1911 the church was erected on the grounds where the Assembly of God Church now stands.

Rev. C. T. Culpepper was called as Pastor. During this time, the Rev. P.M. Jones preached a revival and 17 candidates were received for baptism.

In 1913, Rev. D. L. Sutley was called as pastor, and was the first to be furnished with a home. The church agreed to pay him an annual salary of $200.00 for the pastoral year.

In May 1913, still under Rev. Sutley's leadership, a revival was held and there were 15 candidates for baptism. Baptismal services were held on May 31, 1913. Among these were Gladys Givens, daughter of Maggie M. Givens, and Charles Barlow, son of Minnie Barlow, who were charter members of the church.

In 1916 the church building was destroyed by a storm. For several weeks services were held in a vacant building formerly occupied by the Peoples Bank of Laurel Hill.

After a few weeks, the Presbyterians, having services on alternate Sundays, tendered the use of their church building.

In 1917 another church was built on the same grounds, with Rev. Pitt M. Scott as the new pastor. Being a carpenter by occupation, along with deacons and brethren of the church, they readied a new building for occupancy in just a short time. He received a generous salary of $8.00 per Sunday, with services being held twice a month. A verse of scripture sums up Brother Scott's faithfulness to the Lord:

"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might: for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest." (Ecclesiastes 9:10).


The church, being a recipient of the Home Mission Board, received a gift of $300.00 to help pay the debt incurred in the new building.

The minutes of the September 9, 1923 meeting shows dedication ceremony of the new church and the mortgage being burned on the alter by Brother Scott.

Brother C. L. Petty, served in 1921 - 22. Also, Brother F. C. Hawk pastored the church around 1922 to 1939. One thing that really impressed the members about Brother Hawk was how faithful he was. He held the honor of having served as pastor for the greatest length of time. He served a total of 17 years, traveling a distance of 75 miles. He was a real missionary. A verse of scripture to describe Brother Hawk is Matthew 25:21:

"Well done, thy good and faithful servant."


Rev. Archie Smith served as pastor from 1940 to 1948 and Rev. E. C. Fleming served for a brief period of time in 1949.

It was around 1950 when Rev. C. 0. Stewart was called as pastor. He was a crusader, a builder, a leader, and a devoted servant of the Lord. Under his leadership, the members of the church looked beyond the walls of the old building and envisioned a larger and more modern building. Being encouraged and working together, they put their ideas in motion, and with the help and guidance of our Heavenly Father, they located a site to erect a building. In May 1951, the church negotiated with the Laurel Hill Masonic Lodge to purchase the property were the church is presently located at a cost of $800.00. The site for the present building is "your old stomping ground," right where it began in an old Masonic Temple in 1896. "Thank you, Lord, for your guidance and knowledge with which you endowed these Christians." Members of the church donated trees, which were carried to a saw mill and cut into material that was used for the roof. The men did the work and the ladies prepared lunch. It was said that Brother Stewart commented: "I am a servant and a builder. Where there is building to be done, the Spirit of the Lord directs me into the field. When the mission is accomplished, then it is time for me to move on into another field.

Brother Stewart resigned in 1957.

Time moves on. Brother J. A. Nichols moved onto the field and pastored the church following Brother Stewart. It was during his pastorate that the pastorium was built. Brother Nichols resigned in 1962.

Then Brother Richard Adleman came on the scene. He was a student from Baptist Bible institute in Graceville , Florida . He was also the first to occupy the pastorium. He resigned in 1965 after a two-year tenure.

Brother Jerry Hendrix followed Brother Adleman. He ordained a panel of deacons, namely:

Bruce Boyette        John W. Harrison

Doyle Carroll         Shelby McCart

Chester Carter       Douglas Rogers

Bruce Caton           Rayvon Steele

B. F. Edenfield       Joe Wynn

Brother Clayton Peters came as a deacon from Svea.

It was under Brother Hendrix' leadership that remodeling of the church was undertaken. The first carpet was laid and the old slatted benches were replaced with new padded pews which added much beauty and comfort to the sanctuary. Also, the church debt was liquidated, and a bond burning service was held.  Brother Hendrix resigned in 1967.

Then Brother Albert Locke became the pastor. The church grew tremendously in membership. Young married couples and youth outnumbered middle aged and seniors. Again, there was a lot of work done; great improvements were achieved. It was during his pastorate that the fellowship and activities building was built. A presentation and dedication ceremony was held with Brother M.A. Fortune presiding. The challenge lay ahead for new members, spiritual outreach, and dedicated Christians to carry on the work that had been placed before them. Brother Locke resigned April 29, 1973.

Brother H. C. Rutledge was our interim pastor for about eight months.

Brother James Boyd, a very fine and faithful servant of the Lord, became the pastor on December 30, 1973. During his time serving the church, a lot of work was done, both physically and spiritually. During his time, the front was extended and the steeple installed. He ordained as deacons, P.P. Cadenhead, Jr., Rich Epperson, [guy] Steele, and Keith Free.

The church continued to grow with a large membership roll. Brother Boyd resigned November 26, 1975.

Again, Brother H. C. Rutledge was the interim pastor. Brother Rutledge was truly a man of God.

Psalms 40:2 explains how his foundation and his walk matched his talk.

"He brought me up also, out of a horrible pit, out to the

miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings."


"Wherever He leads, I'll go," was his Christian motto.

The church called Brother Marvin Taylor as pastor on May 24, 1976. During his pastorate he ordained Brother Walter A. Marion as a deacon. He also led Brother Walter Owens to the Lord and baptized him. He only served for a short time.

In 1977 the church called Brother Cecil Walker as pastor. Brother Walker was also a good shepherd. He brought the church to a closer walk and better understanding of the Lord. During his pastorate he ordained Brother Walter Owens and Brother Harry Kelley as deacons. He resigned in 1983.

Then Brother Burdette (Bud) Docter was called to pastor the church. Brother Bud was a quiet man. He was strong in his faith and a very mission-minded pastor. It was during his pastorate the building fund for bricking the church was started. He moved on to a new field in March 1986.

Brother Ed McDaniel served as interim pastor from March 1986 to August 10, 1986.

On August 10, 1986, the church called Brother Gary Younkers as pastor. During his pastorate, much work was done. The church building was bricked and central heat and air installed.

Brother Younkers resigned April 1, 1990.

Brother Jeffrey Locke came on the scene. Brother Locke was interim until he was called as pastor on November 11, 1990. Brother Locke was the youngest pastor ever called. Once again, there was a lot of work that needed to be done. The pastorium was carpeted, painted inside and out, and central air installed. New carpet was laid in the sanctuary and new baptistery drapes hung. This had been a long-awaited pleasure. During his pastorate 15 candidates were baptized. He performed two marriages and recommended two brothers as Gideons. They were Chester Carter and Bill Ansley.

Brother Locke resigned April 19, 1994. He, his wife Debbi, and their two daughters, Mandl and Becca, moved on to another church field.

Brother Mark McClard supplied the pulpit until July 17, 1994 when Brother Jerry Everage accepted a call to serve the church. He had envisioned and helped carry on a lot of things in the church and association. There was also some repair work done. The church and pastorium were damaged on October 4, 1995, when Hurricane Opal swept through Northwest Florida and played havoc on the little town and surrounding community of Laurel Hill.  Brother Jerry baptized three candidates and performed three weddings. He also became a student at the Florida Baptist Theological College in Graceville , Florida , on January 15, 1996. He was very excited about being our pastor when we celebrated our 100th birthday. Brother Jerry and his wife Joyce were able to mark this celebration down in their church diary as a reminder of the great joy they had as the pastor of First Baptist Church of Laurel Hill.


Second 100 years

First Baptist Church

Laurel Hill, Florida



As the second hundred years dawned, we saw the need to establish a youth director.  Brother Gerald Ward was the first to accept this position from June 1997 until his resignation in January 1999.  Brother Harold King was ordained as deacon in July 1997.  A period of upgrades were accomplished from December 1997 to February 1998, which included a new lighted sign in front of the church, repair of the steeple, and the completion of the Pastorium storage shed and a lawn mower shed at the activity building.  Brother Jerry Everage resigned as Pastor October 6, 1999.

November 26, 1999 Dr. Ed Nichols was called as interim Pastor until Bro. Burdette (Bud) Docter was called into the Pastoral position May 7, 2000.

An ordination service for Shelley Reeves, Earl Jernigan and RJ Brown was held in September of 2000.   The process of installing metal roofs on the church buildings was started in October of 2000 and was finally completed in April of 2002.  Tommy Ward, a previously ordained deacon, was made a Deacon of Laurel Hill Church February 7, 2001.  February 25, 2001 Bro. Bud Docter resigned as Pastor so that he and his wife Becky could become “House Parents” at the Florida Baptist Children’s Home in Pensacola .

Dr. Ed Nichols was again called to interim on January 14, 2001 until he accepted the call to Pastor on July 22, 2001.  As the city of Laurel Hill was in need of a new polling place, the Supervisor of Elections was granted the use of the Fellowship Hall as needed in July of 2001.  All the rooms located in the east wing underwent major renovation in June and July of 2002, producing a great environment for education and office space. Throughout 2001 until December of 2002 a Food Pantry was operated, providing nearly 500 pounds of food per month to over 25 families in the Laurel Hill community.  While a great good of feeding those in need was being accomplished, the greater good of feeding souls was waning and the Pantry was closed. In January 2003 the sound system of the church was relocated and upgraded. By April of 2004 central heat and air was installed in the Fellowship hall and an A/C upgrade was finished in the Sanctuary.  

September 30, 2004 Dr. Ed Nichols resigned.

Rev. Mike McVay was called to Pastor on December 26, 2004.  A short time later we started a Youth/Recreation night every Friday at 6pm.  The program quickly expanded to include the whole community of Laurel Hill offering recreation, food, and Bible study.  In the spring of 2006 we were given the opportunity to computerize our record keeping systems into the 21st century.  Four used computer systems were bought and networked together, with capabilities of file interaction and internet.    The Ola Richbourg property was purchased in February of 2006, and later in May the two 100’ by 100’ lots located on the NE corner of First Ave. and First St. were donated to the church anonymously.  In June of 2006 we saw the purchase of a new professional Allen organ for the Sanctuary. A 1991 15 passenger Dodge Van was donated to the church in October of 2006.  While it does get used regularly by the youth, there have been a few outings where adults have put it to good use.  We believe the Lord is the author of the recent growth and for this reason we have initiated a search committee for a full time Youth Pastor which is expected to be filled soon.

2006-2007 has seen major renovations with the completion of the addition and remodeling of the front of the church to include a new foyer, restrooms, covered drive thru and a concrete circle driveway.

Since Pastor Mike’s arrival almost 3 years ago, we have seen tremendous growth in activity, people, and property.  He has tirelessly traveled long distances to visit the sick, grown and harvested crops to feed the hungry, and earnestly sought the souls of the lost in every venue.  While the leadership of Pastor Mike has been instrumental in our growth, he will be the first to remind everyone that it is God who gives the increase.  May God continue to give him the strength.


Thank You


Over the years, several men have been ordained as ministers of the gospel.  Many others have accepted the call to serve the Lord as dedicated teachers, directors, and workers in the field. All are saints in the ministry, for through these doors have passed some of the best and most consecrated Christian people in the world.


As we prayerfully move forward to reach another soul, may the Spirit of the Lord richly bless you in this church family.



First Baptist Church

of Laurel Hill

2008 Addendum to History Booklet 1896 – 2007

Minister of Music                     Pastor                  Youth Director

Bro. David Jackson       Rev. Mike McVay         StacyWilliams

The year was extremely active in our youth development. Brother Dan Johnson was called as Youth Pastor in November ‘07. He, his wife Jessica and daughter Trinity moved immediately into the pastorium. Brother Mike and Runae moved into their travel trailer while the newly purchased Richbourg house was put into major renovation. Several youth participated in Crestview’s Christmas Parade. In June the Pathfinder Challenge hosted several churches (K-6 grade) and went to Marianna Caverns with about 15 children and 5 adults. Later on in the same month the Youth Extreme MounTEEN Challenge went to Tennessee with about 23 youth and 9 adults, again hosting several community churches. Our July 2008 Vacation Bible School “Outrigger Island” boasted of 75 enrolled and an average attendance of 47. $241.61 collected for missions and Pastor Mike got the pie. July 13, 2008 Bro. Dan resigned as Youth Pastor, effective immediately. This was not the end of the youth development. Stacy Williams immediately took the responsibility of youth leader, and in the September business meeting was officially elected as Youth Director and provided the pastorium. Under Sister Stacy’s leadership we have seen tremendous growth with our children and youth. We have seen as many as 53 children and youth onWednesday evening, 70+ on Friday and increasing numbers in Sunday School, Sunday Morning and Sunday Evening Worship services. That’s not the best news!! , turn to the next page!! The BEST news of the year has to do with the Salvation of those who have chosen to follow Jesus our Christ !! We have enjoyed the Baptism of 12 believers in the last Church year, with 4 of them choosing to be Baptized in the creek. There are some who have proclaimed Christ as Lord and planning future Baptism, and a number of others who have rededicated their life to the work of the Lord and have joined this body. Glory to those yielding in Obedience. Truly a tremendous year in the moving of the Spirit ! Other noteworthy activities this year – December ’07 we collected hats and mittens for Head Start ages 3&4, and approved our facilities to host a monthly meeting for the ‘Alzheimer Support Group. In February we had the Church Van lettered with the church name and a ‘Hobos for Christ’motif . In March we held our annual Easter Sunrise Service at Clary Park, followed by breakfast. Also in March Brother KenWeeks resigned as Church pianist and Sister Colleen Barrett volunteered to fill this position, and is doing a great job. In May, the land across from the pastorium was cleared to make way for a ball field; Special Thanks to Timmy Strickland, Mike Barrett, and Keith Free for providing equipment and operational know how. We also held Pastor’s Appreciation Day and invited Dr. Gene Strickland to speak. Pastor Mike and Runae moved into the newly (inside) refurbished pastorium, ‘Richbourg House’, October 2, 2008 

Those in Memoriam
September 2007 – October 2008 
Junior Cadenhead         Velma Adams
Alma Smith                    John Harrison


First Baptist Church

of Laurel Hill

2009 Addendum to History Booklet 1896 – 2007

Minister of Music               Pastor                Youth Director
Bro. David Jackson  
Rev. Mike McVay      StacyWilliams

Homecoming October, 2008 Bro. Mike McVay spoke in the a.m. service. Samantha Purvines and Sweetwater Run provided music for the afternoon service. 

* Sound system committee was given authority to begin working on a new sound system and sound booth in October. Physical work started in June and will be ongoing as donations continue to be received. 
* The OBA fall associational meeting was held at LHBC October 20th and we fed over 200 people. 
* Fall Festival was held October 31st, open to the whole neighborhood to include bonfire ministry and hayride. This was a successful event in outreach. 
* In February, 2009 we received our second church van free of charge from Live Oak Baptist Church. 
* Bro. Mike’s and Runae’s birthday and anniversary celebration was held after the evening service in February. 
* On April 12th we held the Easter Sunrise Service at the church and afterward breakfast was served with 32 attending. 
* The youth were engaged in a number of activities throughout the year. Youth motivational speaker Willie Spears from Atlanta and J.D. Compton Concert were among those supporting our church youth outreach. 
* In May, Pastor Appreciation Day and Senior Recognition was held in lieu of our regular 5th Sunday night fellowship. 
* In June we held the Baccalaureate Service for graduating seniors and fed the seniors, their families and friends. Approx. 170 was in attendance. 
* VBS Boomerang Express, was held June 8th – 12th with Stacy Williams directing. We averaged 48 for the week and had an enrollment of 60. We collected $505 for the missionaries. The boys lost and Mike Barrett got the pie!! 
* Youth Camp was held at Sunset King Lake during the week of June 19-23rd with 5 girls, 5 boys, and 3 supervisors. 

The BEST news of the year has to do with the Salvation of those who have chosen to follow Jesus our Christ !! 

We have enjoyed the baptism of 16 believers in the last Church year, with some of them choosing to be baptized in the creek. There are some who have proclaimed Christ as Lord and planning future baptism, and a number of others who have rededicated their life to the work of the Lord and have joined this body. There have also been 4 transfers of letter into this congregation. Glory to those yielding in Obedience. 

Those in Memoriam 
30 September 2008 – 1 October 2009 
B F Edenfield           Pearlie Strickland 
Estelle Pridgen                   Glen Busby 
Lola Mae Peters               Henry Jones 
Rufus Armstrong             Eloise Stokes 
Alice Minker


First Baptist Church

of Laurel Hill

2010 Addendum to History Booklet 1896 – 2007

Minister of Music Pastor Youth Director

Bro. David Jackson Rev.Mike McVay

Last year at Homecoming, 2009 Rev. “Bud” Docter spoke in the a.m.
service, followed by lunch in the Fellowship Hall. Samantha Purvines
and Sweetwater Run provided music in the afternoon service.

Sponsored two booths at the Hobo Festival October 10th for the
Dillon Crawford Benefit and Cub Scout Pack 505.

Youth went to FBC in Crestview for a production of “Heaven’s Gates
& Hell’s Flames” Oct 30th

Held Fall Festival at the church encouraging Christian alternatives to
the local community. We had two hundred plus join in the festivities.

We hosted Harvest Supper at the church Nov 18th with several
churches in attendance.

The Sound Booth was in full operation by Christmas, more equipment
is still being added as the need is presented.

We sponsored appreciation dinners for our LHS Cross Country, Boys
Basketball, Girls Basketball, Volleyball, Softball and Baseball Teams.

First Baptist Laurel Hill led the way to start Good News Bible Club at
LH School. The first Club met January 13th for K thru 6 grades after
school every Wednesday from 2:30-4:00 PM. Now teaching, learning
Bible verses, music, games and much more invites Our Lord back into
the school. A number of children committed to follow Christ.
Good News Club began for 2010/11 onWednesday, September 15th.

On February 7th we hosted the Annual Blue and Gold Awards Banquet
for Cub Scouts Pack 505

The Richburg House received a new roof. Much more work to do.

The church carried a full page ad in the school’s yearbook with the
Laurel Hill “HOBO” on the front and back covers.

On April 4th we held the Easter Sunrise Service at the church at
6:30AM and afterward breakfast was prepared by the Brotherhood.

The Church Observed Pastor Appreciation Day on May2nd for Bro.
Mike. Special music was provided by Sweetwater Run with a covered
dish lunch afterward.

Many observed the 59th annual National Day of Prayer on May 6th.
This included a Prayer Walk which started and ended at the church.
We walked and prayed at the city offices, through area neighborhoods
and through the school grounds.

We held the Baccalaureate Service for graduating seniors on Wed.,
June 9th and provided hamburgers, french fries, and banana pudding as
per requested. We fed approx. 170.

VBS was held June 14-18. Our theme this year was “Saddle Ridge
Ranch” with Stacy Williams directing. We had 55 enrolled and
collected 292.10 for the missionaries. The boys lost and Chris Reeves
got the pie!!

Held a Sunday School On Time/Attendance Drive. All the students of
the class with the highest percentage increase of on-time attendance for
July and August compared to May and June got to throw a pie at Pastor
Mike and Bro. Tony. Mrs. Dee Dee’s class won the toss!!

We held a prayer walk around the school on Tuesday, Sept. 21st in
preparation for “See you at the Pole” which was held on Sept. 22nd.

Baptisms: 5

Additions: 8 by transfer of letter or statement of faith

In Memoriam
30 September 2009 - 1 October 2010

Helen Cadenhead                 Faye Hart

Wilma Jones                   Sybil Harrison








  by First Baptist Church, 3972 2nd Avenue, Laurel Hill, FL 32567 Phone 850-652-4192    EMAIL