Nances Creek News: Church has been through many changes
by Thyra Smith
Special to The Star
May 08, 2013 | 1055 views |  0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Reverend Emory (Doc) Word organized the Nances Creek Congregational Holiness Church on September 22, 1946.  Services were held at the homes of Mr. and Mrs. R. W. Doss until the church was built.  First Emory Word came to visit with Mitchell and Emma Doss and brought up about fixing a brush arbor to hold church services in it. With bad weather, services were held at the homes. Soon several of the men in the community began cutting limbs from sweet gum trees and while finishing sawdust was brought in for the flooring. Brother Word was fulfilling a promise he had made to the Lord while serving overseas during World War II.  He had told God if He would bring him home safe he would carry the message of God’s love to everyone he could.

R. W. Doss and L. M. Doss donated the land for the building. The land was cleared by the men of the community.  The logs were debarked by hand and taken to Ervin Brown’s sawmill around two or three miles up the road for processing. Sanford Willis, Olan Penny and Elbert Doss were just a few of the names remembered as working on the church.

The church was dedicated to the Lord the third Sunday April 1947. According to the church records the charter members were Sanford Willis, Myra Willis, Stella Doss, Emma Doss, Fara Ponder, Murriel Rainey, Nettie Needham, Anna Smith, Agnes Goss, Lucindia Coley, Ruth Parkewr, Emory Word, and Bertha Word.

Within a year of starting the Nances Creek Church, Brother Word was led to begin a church in the Gadsden area and Rev. Howard Shell was called as the new pastor. This was the first church the young preacher had led.

New members were added and shortly after Howard and Vernettie Hitchcock became members, and Brother Sanford Willis was called to pastor a church. Since Brother Willis had been the only man, he had served as deacon. When he left, Brother Hitchcock became the deacon since he was the only male member.

Later that year Mrs. Fara Poner was joined on the membership roll by her husband Dewey Ponder. It was remembered that when Mr. Ponder was saved he jumped up from the altar and grabbed his wife to give her a loving hug. Mr. Ponder was later elected a deacon.

Many things happened during the time Rev. Shell was pastor.  One thing that is remembered is the first baptizing he performed.  His wife Ruby warned everyone that he did not know what he was doing. Mrs. Emma Doss told Mr. Hitchcock to go first and if she didn’t drown she would go second. Three others were baptized that day and all five survived.

There were no Sunday School rooms but classes were held in the one large room for different ages.

The first Homecoming meals were spread on the ground on cloths with food holding then down. The people attending sat around under the trees for shade. If it rained the food was taken inside and spread on a bench. A cement table was built and for many years until the Fellowship Hall was built.

There were no bathrooms as the younger people know them. There was only outside toilets. And there was no water. Mothers would bring jars of water for their children to drink. 

The first church was a one room wooden building. Then years later is was bricked and remodeled. In later years the first Fellowship Hall was built in the early 1980’s.  Then around 13 years ago the new church was built. The land there was first owned by Mitchell and Emma Doss, but was sold to Bobby Smith and years later he sold it to the church. Around three years ago the new Fellowship Hall was built.

A list of pastors over the years: Emory Word, Howard Shell, J. C. Surrett, Homer Wilkerson for a few days, W. O. Vanderford, Colvin Ray, Emory Word again for a short time, Richard Livingstin, Lytelle Murphy, Stanley Willis, Hubert Parris, Granville Young, Edward Lynn, James Rainey for a short time, James Grace, L. D. Hayes for a few days, Ray Brock, Orville Smith, Don Kirby, Floyd Willis for a short time, James Martin, and Floyd Willis, who has been the church’s pastor for the past several years.  At present time the intern pastor until election is Ben Grace.  He will then be the pastor.
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Nances Creek News: Church has been through many changes by Thyra Smith
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