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Shady Grove Baptist Church History


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Mike Jones
Copyright © 1996-2006
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Mike Jones

Shady Grove Baptist Church was organized on November 25, 1881, under a brush arbor near the site of the present church building, two miles south of Cherryville on Highway 274. Mount Zion, one of the oldest Baptist churches in Gaston County, was the moving spirit in the organization of the church at Shady Grove.

Thirty-one Charter Members were formed into a Baptist Church called Shady Grove. It is thought that the name Shady Grove was chosen because of the beautiful grove in which the church was to be located. In the early days, many families came to church by wagon, buggy, or surrey. During the services, the teams of mules and horses were tied to the trees in the grove. Today, only a few trees remain as part of the original grove.

The original one and three-fourth acres of land for the church building and cemetery were donated. The church later bought more land to enlarge the cemetery. The first building was erected during the winter of 1881. In the minutes of the Kings Mountain Association for 1900, the value of Shady Grove Church property was listed at $ 200.00. By the year 1910, it increased. in value to $500. 00.

The early church building was a one-room frame structure and remained a part of the church building until the completion of the brick structure in 1951. During the early years, Shady Grove had a growth in membership from 31 charter members in 1881 to 136 members in 1918. Contributions; increased from $44. l 0 in 1881 to $184.00 in 1918.

In 1940 a building fund was begun. This fund grew steadily and in 1949 plans were made and work was begun on a new building. It was decided that the new church would be built by free labor in as much as possible. Through the cooperation, dedication and leadership of the membership, the pastor, many outside the membership, and the blessings of Almighty God, the new sanctuary was completed in 1950.

The years of 1919-1950 were years of growth and progress at Shady Grove. The church membership increased from 146 in 1920 to 249 in 1950. The Sunday School enrollment grew from 43 in 1920 to 298 in 1950 and 333 in 1951. Contributions increased from $999.00 in 1920 to $8,305.00 in 1950. The value of church property and grounds climbed from $700.00 in 1920 to $75,000.00 when the new brick sanctuary was dedicated in 1951.

On February 18, 1951, Shady Grove Baptist Church observed dedication services for the new church building. The Building Committee reported the church raised $81,092.50 and spent $80.000.00 with the balance on hand of $1,092.50.

In 1956, the congregation purchased land in order to build a church parsonage. The next year the parsonage was completed. One acre of land adjoining the church property was purchased on April 25, 1962, for the purpose of building an Educational Building for the Sunday School, but the Educational Building was not constructed. before tragedy struck the congregation.

On March 6, 1963, fire gutted the church sanctuary. The congregation found themselves without a church building. While reconstruction was taking place, services were held in Tryon School. On August 1, 1963. the congregation re-entered their reconstructed building. In 1964, the new Educational Building was completed.

The statistical report from the 1980 Annual of the Gaston Baptist Association shows 474 members at Shady Grove with 312 enrolled in Sunday School and. the value of church property at $400,000.00.

Shady Grove Baptist Church continued to grow. Part of the growth was a need for additional classrooms; and a place for church activities and fellowship. On October 13, 1991, a ground breaking service was held for the Family Life Center. The funding for the new building was provided through the "Challenge to Build" program. The building was completed and dedicated in August 1992, and the balance on the building was paid in full in August, 1997. The growth at Shady Grove continues.