Seneca River Missionary
Seneca River Missionary Baptist Association
The roots of the Seneca River Missionary Baptist Association date back to three years after the closing of the Civil War when it was part of the Rocky River Association. In 1879 ten churches were granted letters of dismissions from the Rocky River Association to organize the Seneca River Baptist Association for their convenience. The ten churches were Snow Hill, Parker; now known as Shiloh, Mt. Sinai, Cheohee, Flat Rock, Double Springs, Pleasant Hill, Mt. Nebo No. 1, Abel, and New Light.
The first session was held at the Snow Hill Baptist Church with the Reverend J. W. Keith, Moderator; Reverend W. R. Parker, clerk; and Reverend G. H. Oglesby, Treasurer.
In 1880, the association met with the Mt. Sinai Baptist Church. This possibly was the first meeting of this organization held in Oconee County. Reverend Milton Lindsay, Moderator; Reverend W. R. Parker, Clerk, and Brother C. K. Grant, Treasurer.
We have no record of the official officers or the annual meetings of the association until 1901. At this time, it met at the St. Mark Baptist Church.
In 1912 the Reverend J. S. Steward was elected moderator; Brother W. J. Thomas, Clerk; and Brother W. F. Ferguson, Treasurer. Due to the illness of Brother Thomas, the Reverend J. W. Beeks was elected as clerk.
According to records available, following the death of Reverend Steward in 1929, the Reverend J.D. Hicks was elected moderator and Brother J. C. Childers was elected treasurer. Reverend J. W. Beeks remained as clerk.
In 1944 the Reverend J. C. McDowell was elected moderator; Reverend J. W. Beeks, Clerk and Brother B.F. Childers, Treasurer. During Reverend. J. C. McDowell’s early administration as moderator he said, “I am happy and rejoice in paying tribute to the founders of this association though their bodies are resting in the earth and their souls have returned to God who gave it. The work of their hands is moving on.” Reverend J. C. McDowell served in this capacity for twenty-five years. In 1965, the Reverend W. J. Owens was elected moderator, and Reverend J. C. McDowell was moderator emeritus until his passing in 1977.
During the annual session of the association in August 1967, the Reverend Robert Lee Walker, was elected to lead the Seneca River Association. Reverend H. L. Sullivan, Vice-Moderator, Brother A. O. Wallace, Clerk, Brother H. T. Childers, Assistant Clerk and Brother Eddie Pettigrew, Treasurer. In 1968, Reverend Walker presided at his first session held at Ebenezer. It was at this session that Moderator Walker recommended to the august body to organize a Baptist Brotherhood Convention, Ushers Convention and a musical festival. All of these recommendations were accepted by the association and were executed during the next associational year.
In 1969, the annual session met at the Flat Rock Baptist Church near Walhalla. During this session, the association voted to change its annual meeting days from the Thursday and Friday before the fourth Lord’s Day in August to the fifth Saturday and Sunday during a summer month -July, August, or September. This change of meeting days has increased the attendance and the participation in the work of the association tremendously.
During the annual session in 1978 hosted by the New Promiseland Baptist Church, at the Seneca Institute Family Life Center, Brother Eddie Pettigrew resigned as treasurer and the body voted him Treasurer Emeritus and elected Brother Leroy Craig as treasurer to serve with the remaining officers.
The Seneca River Baptist Association has made substantial contributions to Morris College, Benedict Colleges, Friendship Junior College, and the foreign mission boards of the National Baptist Conventions. The association, along with its auxiliary bodies, has also assisted the Seneca River Improvement Association to erect the Seneca Institute Family Life Center on the site of old Seneca Junior College.
After serving as moderator of the Seneca River Baptist Association for fourteen years Reverend Robert L. Walker tended his resignation effective December 31, 1981. Vice Moderator Reverend H. L. Sullivan served as acting moderator until the annual session in 1982.
In 1982 at the annual session was held with the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Westminster, Reverend H. L. Sullivan was elected moderator, Reverend Thomas L Allen, Sr., Vice moderator; Brother A.O. Wallace, clerk, Brother H. T. Childers, Asst. Clerk; and Brother Leroy Craig, treasurer.
The election of 1983 retained all officers with the exception of the office of Assistant Secretary. Brother James Vernor was elected to fill the office of Assistant Secretary at this Annual Session held at the Abel Baptist Church, Clemson.
New Galilee Baptist Church in Walhalla hosted the 1984 Annual Session where the following officers were elected to serve: Reverend Thomas L. Allen, Sr., Moderator; Reverend Samuel K. Lewis, Vice Moderator; Brother Allen O Wallace, Clerk; Brother James H. Verner, Assistant Clerk; Brother David Green, Jr. Treasurer and Brother Charles B. Watson, Sr., Music Director. These elected officers served in their respective office until the One Hundred and Tenth Annual Session in 1988, hosted by the Flat Rock Baptist Church of Walhalla, when Vice Moderator, Reverend Samuel K. Lewis tended his resignation due to moving out of the area. Reverend Wendell L. Thompson was elected to serve as Vice Moderator.
At the 1990 Annual Session hosted by the St. Mark Baptist Church, Westminster, Reverend Sidney H. Davis, Sr. was elected to serve as Vice Moderator during the election of officers.
Reverend William E. Cureton, Sr., spoke to The Seneca River Missionary Baptist Association during the 1991 Annual Session pertaining to Article V Application for Ordination Section 4 of the Constitution that states “September 29-30, 1984 - The Seneca River Missionary Baptist Association ruled that no women would be ordained to the ministry”. After a vote the Body of the Seneca River Missionary Baptist Association record to delete Section 4 of Article V Application for Ordination. This session was hosted by the New Prospect Baptist Church.
The first ordination of women by The Seneca River Missionary Baptist Association into the ministry was held on July 11, 1993 in the persons of Sister Elvira C. Reaves, Sister Yvonne Scott, and Sister Margaret Benson.
Reverend Sidney H. Davis, Sr. served in the position of Vice Moderator until elected as moderator at the 120th Annual Session in 1998 hosted by the New Hope Baptist Church, Clemson. Also at this session Reverend Tommy B. Orr was elect Vice Moderator; Brother James H. Verner, Clerk; Brother Anthony Scott, Assistant Clerk; Brother Dexter Robinson, Assistant Treasurer and Reverend Thomas L. Allen, Sr. named Moderator Emeritus and Brother Allen O. Wallace, Clerk Emeritus.
Brother David Walker completed the unexpired term of Brother Charles B. Watson, Sr. and was elected Music Director during the 122nd Annual Session held with the Shiloh Baptist Church, Townville.
At the 123rd Annual Session, during the election of officers, a letter of resignation was read from Assistant Treasurer, Brother Dexter Robinson and Brother David Green, Jr. asked to be relieved as treasurer. The requests were granted by the body and Brother Feaster Hampton was elected treasurer and all other officers were retained. Brother Green was relieved as treasurer but agreed to serve as Assistant Treasurer to help Brother Hampton until an Assistant Treasurer was elected. St. Peter was the host for this session.
The Double Springs Baptist Church hosted the 124th session where all officers were retained but still no Assistant Treasurer.
That Assistant Treasurer in the person of Reverend Deborah Smith was elected in 2003 at the 125th Annual Session held with New Canaan.
The 128th session was hosted by Travelers Rest and Reverend William E. Cureton, Sr. and Reverend Marvin Peoples were elected moderator and vice moderator respectfully along with Sister Pearlee Lee being elected as Assistant Musician.
Also during this session the association was informed of receiving a Certificate of Incorporation from the office of the Secretary of State after being in existence for 128 years without such recognition.
During the 130th Annual Session Assistant Clerk, Reverend Anthony Scott was elected clerk and Sister Cecelia W. McWhorter was elected Assistant clerk. Reverend Anthony Scott remained clerk until the 131st Annual Session when he resigned and Sister Cecelia W. McWhorter was elected the first female clerk of the association.
Ozion Baptist Church hosted the 132nd Annual Session, where Reverend Marvin Peoples was elected Moderator, Reverend Edward R. Scott, Vice Moderator and Reverend Bobby Poole, Assistant Clerk all other officers remained.
Officers elected at the 136th Annual Session in 2015 were: Moderator, Reverend Edward R. Scott; Vice Moderator, Reverend Rondey Bolden; Clerk, Sister Annette K. Burney; Assistant Clerk, Minister Kenneth Rogers; Treasurer Brother George Randolph; Assistant Treasurer, Brother Ray Reese; Musician Brother David Walker; and Assistant Musician, Sister Pearlee Lee.
The Seneca River Missionary Baptist Association has been granted the 501(c)(3) status by the Internal Revenue Service as it approached the 140th Annual Session.
“To God be the Glory” for the men and women that have worked diligently in the up building of this association for 140 years.
Meaning of Logo
Mountains representing the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains
Water representing the Seneca River
Cross representing the Blood, God’s Word, and Jesus Christ
Dove representing the Holy Spirit
Sun representing Spiritual Enlightment