Historical Overview at the 75th Anniversary
(Historical Overview and Chronological History written by Dr. Glen Taul for the 75th Anniversary Celebration)
On a Wednesday evening, 75 years ago, 120 Baptists met in the Boyle County Court House, and voted to form a new congregation. They were known as the "New Baptist Church". Five months later, the congregation adopted the name "Lexington Avenue Baptist Church" when it purchased the property at the northeast corner of Fourth Street and Lexington Avenue.
From the beginning, the congregates exercised faith, determination, and vision to spread the gospel. With the leadership of its first pastor, Dr. C.C. Warren, they built a church home in 1929, which has been used as a base ever since to reach out and minister to the Danville-Boyle County community and beyond. They sponsored missions in Baughman Heights, West Danville, Scudder, and Dillehay during the 1930s and 1940s. Two missionsHedgeville and Calvarybecame independent churches. They supported its own members as Baptist foreign missionaries, and sent teams on mission trips to Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Saint Louis, and Hopkinsville. Women have taken the lead in ministering to the poor of the community, which included canning fresh vegetables in the 1930s and supplying gift stockings and boxes for children through programs of the Salvation Army and Samaritan's Purse.
The congregation grew from the 383 charter members to over a thousand by the 1940s. The facilities of the church expanded along with the membership. Additional property around the church was purchased, and the parking area was increased to accommodate the additional automobiles. In 1969, during the pastorate of Dr. Austin Roberts, the Educational Building was dedicated to provide additional space for Sunday school, Training Union and fellowship.
While Lexington Avenue is still Baptist, it has sought to be a light of moderation in denominational life. It has been an active member of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Kentucky Baptist Convention, and South District Association for most of its history. But because of the controversy engulfing Southern Baptists during the last 20 years, loyalties have shifted. Exercising its choice as an independent congregation, Lexington Avenue is still affiliated with Southern Baptists, but it is also affiliated with Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, the Kentucky Baptist Fellowship, and the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
Like other Christians, the members of Lexington Avenue Baptist Church are struggling to respond to the new challenges our ancestors did not have to face. Values are different and temptations seem greater. How do we integrate God's message into our lives and be a living message to those around us?
Glen Taul, Ph.D.
Member of Lexington Avenue Baptist Church
Chronological History, 1927-2002
Winter: More than 500 members of First Baptist Church, Broadway Street, Danville, Kentucky, leave, and a series of cottage prayer meetings are held.
October 24: Woman's Missionary Union is formed in the home of Mrs. Robert L. Arnold, with 24 members present. Mrs. Effie Drake is elected president.
December 7: 120 Baptists meet for Wednesday evening prayer meeting in Boyle County Courthouse, and organize the "New Baptist Church." Rev. C.W. Knight, pastor of Harrodsburg Baptist Church, led in prayer, and then motions were adopted to separate from First Baptist Church and to adopt the covenant and articles of faith adopted by Baptists in 1823.
December 11: Sunday School organized, with Clarence Shinkle as superintendent, and Rev. S.L. Lamb, a Southern Seminary student, preaches the first sermon. Ruth Rogers Breeding makes first profession of faith.
February 8: Dr. C.C. Warren accepts call as New Baptist Church's first pastor.
May 9: Church named Lexington Avenue Baptist Church
July 9: Lot at Lexington Avenue and Fourth Street purchased.
August: Church joins South District Association.
Labor Day: Ground is ceremonially broken for new church building.
May 19: Corner stone laid for new church building.
January 19-26: New church building is dedicated with a week's worth of worship services.
September 9: Women are praised for faithful work in canning 144 quarts of fruit and vegetables for the needy people during the approaching winter.
October 28: This Wednesday evening service is designated as "Fellowship night". Members are given the opportunity "to contribute clothing, food, etc."
January: Baptist Brotherhood organized, with 113 members. Dr. P.C. Sanders elected president.
September: Deacons begin holding prayer meetings in West Danville and Sunday School at Scudders.
June: Deacons begin a mission thrust at Joe Driesler's and Dillehay.
January: In addition to mission services held at Scudder and Dillehay, services are started at Baughman Heights.
November: Mission schools are held at Hedgeville and Scudder.
Winter: A series of plays are produced in the lower auditorium of the church. Plays, with Christian themes, are regularly produced through the 1960s.
April 3: Dr. C.C. Warren resigns as pastor.
October 9: Dr. Elwyn N. Wilkinson is called as pastor.
December 31: Watch Night service is held to bring in the New Year.
September: Chimes, donated by J.A. Chestnut and his wife, are installed.
July 1: Rev. Wilkinson resigns as pastor.
October: Dr. Ralph Couey succeeds Dr. Wilkinson as pastor.
March 11: A full day of dedication services are held in observance of the debt being paid on the church building.
June 29: W.L. Hughen is hired as first full time music/Baptist Training Union Director.
Church adopts rotation system for deacon service. Membership totals 24 men, serving four-year terms. By drawing lots, six will serve one year; six, two years; six, three years; and six, four years. Secret ballots are sent to each member of the church to choose from a slate of nominees.
July 1: Dr. Couey resigns as pastor.
October 7: Congregation votes to leave the church open each weekday (except Friday), from 7 A.M.-5 P.M. for prayer time. People are encouraged to come for prayer and meditation.
February: Dr. Elroy Lamb is called as pastor.
April 7: Sara Dean is hired as first full time Director of Youth Activities.
Christmas Eve: Candlelight/Communion Service is held.
October 10: Carroll Caldwell is called as pastor of Hedgeville Mission.
November 7: Committee of five appointed, which includes Hedgeville Mission pastor, to establish a mission on the South edge of Danville.
May 22: Congregation supports the ambition of Jennye Hollowell to enter Southern Seminary to prepare for the medical mission field. Method of electing deacons amended: nominating committee nominates a maximum of ten men; list is submitted to November business meeting; election is subsequently held and announced. Men receiving highest votes are elected.
July 9: Carroll Caldwell resigns as mission pastor of Hedgeville.
September 24: Family Night Plan adopted. Meetings of organizations and committees, which were held throughout the week, are consolidated on Wednesday nights. The schedule includes Family Supper, meetings, worship and meetings of Junior G.A.s and R.A.s and Cherub Choir rehearsal, and Chancel Choir Rehearsal.
August 5: Calvary Baptist Chapel is established in the Paula-Baughman Heights area of Danville. It is founded in memory of Mrs. Essie Moore Barnett and Mrs. R.E. Ellis.
September 9: Rembert Turluck is called as pastor of Calvary Baptist Chapel.
December 16: Calvary is given independent control of its finances.
November 4: Earl Leininger is called as pastor of the Hedgeville Mission. He is a student at Southern Seminary.
February 7: Calvary Baptist Chapel becomes an independent church.
February 3: Rev. Truluck resigns as its pastor.
March 21: C. Earl Leininger resigns as pastor of Hedgeville Chapel.
April 18: Harold Butler, a Southern Seminary student, is called as pastor.
August 15: Congregation approves campaign to raise travel funds for Han Suhng Hui from Korea to the United States for pursuing a degree at Georgetown College.
September 4: Congregation grants permission to Mrs. Bessie Clark to operate a church sponsored kindergarten three mornings a week during the 1963-1964 school year.
October 6: Dr. Lamb resigns as pastor after evening worship service. It is accepted at a special business meeting.
January 8: Dr. William Austin Roberts, of Aiken, South Carolina, is called as pastor. He starts on February 1.
June 8: Albert Bryant is called as pastor of Hedgeville Chapel.
April 7: First issue of The Key is published. LABC's newsletter was previously unnamed.
August 24: Educational Building is dedicated. Dr. James L. Sullivan, Executive Director of the Southern Baptist Sunday School Board, delivers the dedicatory sermon. The 26,000 square-foot building houses five nurseries, pre-school four- and five-year olds, a kitchen, the dining room, which is converted into classrooms on Sundays for adults, grades one through six, junior high, college and young adult.
June 6: First church wide picnic. It is held on the farm of Scott Rogers, from 4-9 P.M. Cost is 75 cents for a chicken, or 35 cents for a quarter chicken.
October 7: Hedgeville Baptist Mission is given its independence and becomes a church.
March 26-29: Lay Evangelism School, led by Dr. Finley Baird, is held.
August 13: Junior Deacons sponsor a Drive-In Service on Sunday evening in the church's parking lot.
October 18-22: Layman's Revival is held.
Ordination of women is discussed. Congregation passes a resolution stating: "As a member of the South District Association we recognize that we have no ecclesiastical authority over a sister church and wish to exercise none. We would like, however, to emphasize that it is essential the Lord's churches offer their love and support to one another at all times."
February 10: Dr. Roberts resigns as pastor.
March 10: Puppet ministry starts under the direction of Linda Sparrow.
September 12: Dr. Robert Baker is called as pastor.
September 18: First Sunday morning worship service signed for the deaf.
November 20: Family Thanksgiving Feast: On the suggestion of H.K. Kingkade, congregation observes its first Thanksgiving with a feast.
October 10: Mike and Debbie Rogers are appointed missionaries to Venezuela. Congregation commits to provide housing during furloughs.
July: Women are eligible to serve as deacons for the first time. Old election procedure is abolished. Every member who is older than 18 years, and has been a member for two consecutive years, is eligible to serve as deacon.
May 20: As part of "Together We Build" campaign, congregation designates a percent of funds raised for missions, which includes the Baptist Camp near Valencia, Venezuela, local missions, and a fund for seed money to support members involved in mission efforts.
Summer: A team of 15, led by Dr. Baker, works with missionaries for two weeks in Valencia and Caracas, Venezuela.
June: Danville Deaf Baptist Mission begins meeting at LABC.
August 31: Dr. Baker resigns as pastor.
September 29: Evelyn Crooke is the first woman to be ordained a deacon by Lexington Avenue Baptist Church.
In response to the controversy in the Southern Baptist Convention, congregation adopts a policy allowing members to choose where to donate their mission offerings, the Cooperative Program or the Kentucky Baptist Fellowship.
June 14: Dr. Tim Noel succeeds Dr. Baker and preaches his first sermon.
Congregation raises funds and members volunteer to build a Habitat for Humanity house in Junction City.
January 13: Congregation votes to remain connected to the Southern Baptist Convention by continuing to send messengers and to give $2,500 to the Cooperative Program. It also voted that loose offerings and undesignated tithes be sent to both the Cooperative and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship programs based on a proportional formula.
January 24: Jo Garnett is ordained to the Gospel Ministry. She is the first woman ordained as a minister by the congregation. Before being ordained, she began serving as minister of children in 1984.
November 17: By a vote of 71 to 9, congregation withdraws from South District Association.
February 14: Dr. Noel preaches his last sermon at LABC.
October 10: Dr. S. Thomas Valentine succeeds Dr. Noel as LABC's eighth pastor and preaches his first sermon.
February 2: Rededication of church sanctuary after major renovations are completed. Seventy-Fifth Anniversary celebrated.