South Carolina General Assembly
116th Session, 2005-2006

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S. 1237


Concurrent Resolution
Sponsors: Senators Jackson, Moore, Malloy, Ford, Anderson, Ryberg and Pinckney
Document Path: l:\council\bills\ms\7145ahb06.doc

Introduced in the Senate on March 9, 2006
Introduced in the House on March 15, 2006
Adopted by the General Assembly on March 15, 2006

Summary: Silver Bluff Baptist Church


     Date      Body   Action Description with journal page number
    3/9/2006  Senate  Introduced, adopted, sent to House SJ-4
   3/15/2006  House   Introduced, adopted, returned with concurrence HJ-12

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(Text matches printed bills. Document has been reformatted to meet World Wide Web specifications.)



Whereas, it is appropriate for the South Carolina General Assembly to recognize the work and contributions of historic black churches which provide spiritual encouragement, promote the Christian faith, and shape the lives of countless numbers; and

Whereas, there is no other religious institution more worthy of recognition than the historic Silver Bluff Baptist Church in Aiken County; and

Whereas, in the years 1735-1736 just after the settling of Augusta, Georgia, a group of exploring Englishmen came up the river looking for a town. They discovered interesting land about fifteen miles down the river. They settled on this piece of land and named it "Silver Bluff Landing". Among this group of Englishmen were two brothers: George and Jessie Golphin. Jessie Golphin was a missionary preacher who advocated freedom of religion. He was spiritually happy to be in a country where people had the liberty to serve God as their spirit dictated and not as the king dictated which was the law of England; and

Whereas, the first preacher to be ordained at Silver Bluff in 1773 was Reverend Palmer. His members included both colored and white people, with the colored outnumbering the white, causing whites to withdraw their membership from Silver Bluff; and

Whereas, Silver Bluff Baptist Church was the beginning of fertilization of the black church, from it came the Springfield Baptist Church located in Augusta, Georgia. It was organized in 1793 by Reverend Jessie Peters and George Liele; and

Whereas, again, Reverend Jessie Golphin was called to pastor, serving until 1814. In 1815, he went to glory to seek his reward. The church was briefly without a pastor until the Reverend Jacob Walker was ordained and called to pastor the church; and

Whereas, in 1815, Mr. George Golphin sold the church's land and the church moved near the Old Dead River Stream; and

Whereas, South Carolina's laws in 1844 denied Negroes the right to pastor. Consequently, the church had to get a white pastor, Dr. Bradley. Reverend Kelly Lowe would come from Augusta and preach occasionally. Dr. Bradley led the church to a new spot known as the "Seven Spring Branch"; and

Whereas, in 1866, the Reverend Henry Watts became the church's pastor. Under his pastoral leadership, the ground the church now stands on was purchased and deeds secured on the first Sunday in May 1866. Reverend Henry Watts, Reverend Johnson, J. W. Hand, and Reverend S. White led a group from Seven Spring Branch down to the present site; and

Whereas, in 1873, a larger church was built; the night came for Reverend Watts in 1877, and he went on to glory; and

Whereas, on January 5, 1879, the Reverend Coggie Danforth was called to pastor, and on October 17, 1917, he went to glory to seek his reward; and

Whereas, the Reverend Dan Lamback was called to pastor. He only served one year and went on to glory; and

Whereas, on November 5, 1919, the Reverend A. W. Vincent was called to pastor. Being a young man full of aspirations, he went to work and in 1920 remodeled the church at a cost of $5,000.00. During 1922-1923, he built a schoolhouse at a cost of $1,800.00; and

Whereas, in January, 1948, the church tore down the old church and built a brick church which is still in use. On the first Sunday in June, 1948, Reverend Vincent and a group of members at the church baptized Sister Rozelle Sims (Wimberly). A line was formed at the schoolhouse, and the congregants marched to the church while singing the hymn led by Reverend Jim Smith. At the door, Deacon Simon Hankinson led the congregants in prayer. Reverend Vincent led them in reciting the 122nd Psalm. On January 3, 1959, Reverend Vincent was called home; and

Whereas, on February 8, 1960, Reverend J. S. Gordon was called to pastor. In 1961, they built a pastor study and restrooms for men and women. Brother Warren Larry, Jr. was ordained deacon on September 5, 1966. A new roof was added to the church on December 1, 1966. The church was remodeled during 1969 and 1970. Also, central heat and air and speakers were installed. On July 1, 1972, Reverend J. S. Gordon was called from labor to reward; and

Whereas, on May 6, 1973, Reverend Thomas Sapp was called to pastor. He was officially installed June 24, 1973. During Reverend Sapp's tenure, Brother Bobby Henley was ordained to the deacon board on December 15, 1974. In March, 1975, Reverend Sapp resigned; and

Whereas, in June, 1975, Reverend Lessel Leonard was called to pastor. During his tenure an organ and piano were purchased. In November, 1978, Reverend Leonard resigned; and

Whereas, in February, 1979, Reverend Shelton C. Lee was called to pastor. He affiliated the church with the Storm Branch Association. Reverend Lee secured additional property at no cost to the church from Mr. Snyder. Reverend Lee died in April, 1980. In 1980, an indoor baptismal pool was installed; and

Whereas, in January, 1981, Reverend J. D. Shaw was called to pastor. During his administration, four deacons were added: Deacon Hearrie Thomas, Deacon Donald Henley, Deacon Monroe Sims, Jr., and Deacon Charles Wiggleton; and

Whereas, from 1990-1991, the church reorganized the trustee board, adding women for the first time in the history of the church: Rozelle Wimberly, Sandra M. Riley, Carolyn B. Scurry, and Virginia Smith. In 1994, Reverend Shaw resigned as pastor; and

Whereas, on October 14, 1995, Reverend Olen I. Jessie was called to pastor. Installation services were held on December 10, 1995. God sent the church another spirit filled leader. Under his leadership, the church held worship services every Sunday, Bible training was reinstituted on a weekly basis, a new membership orientation training class was formed, and The Silver Bluff Youth Choir was reinstituted. A church newsletter had also been formed-"The Silver Bluff Gazette" with the first publication beginning May, 1996. A Xerox copier was purchased and an athletic ministry was formed. Reverend Jessie resigned December, 1997; and

Whereas, on Saturday, March 20, 1999, Reverend Bennie Holmes was called as pastor. Installation service was held on Sunday, June 27, 1999. Reverend Holmes, a God-sent man, came to teach the "Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth (BIBLE)". He came with enthusiasm and is working on plans for the spiritual growth of this church. Another year of worshipping and praising God continued on with the vision God has given to Reverend Holmes. The spirit of this historic church has been renewed and as we look back, reflecting on our past, we enjoy the presence of God and pray faithfully to gain the wisdom and knowledge only He can impart. Its members pray that God will continue to "bless us and keep us"; and

Whereas, the members of the South Carolina General Assembly pray with the members of this congregation that this church may forever stand as a solid rock as it has stood for two hundred fifty years, a living monument of the Savior who died that all men may live and have eternal life. Now, therefore,

Be it resolved by the Senate, the House of Representatives concurring:

That the members of the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina, by this resolution, honor the rich history of Silver Bluff Baptist Church in Aiken County, the oldest black church in America, and recognize the great works of the church and its leaders over the past two hundred fifty years in spreading the Word of God and serving as the spiritual essence of black history.

Be it further resolved that a copy of this resolution be presented to Reverend Bennie Holmes on behalf of all those persons, both past and present, whose faith has been strengthened through worship at Silver Bluff Baptist Church in Aiken County.


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