HUNTERSVILLE – First Baptist Huntersville has been digging up the church’s past as it re-envisions the future. During this time between senior pastors, a transition team has been soliciting photos and stories from the church’s 115-year history.
Lake Norman transplants may not know that First Baptist Huntersville helped start four other churches in the area: Davidson Chapel, Christ Community, Lake Norman Baptist and Lakehaven Community.
• Davidson Chapel, est. 1954: FBH began Davidson Chapel to reach the community around The Cotton Mill in Davidson. The church rented a little mill house there, and two years later, helped the new congregation put up a building. Pastor Emeritus Spurgeon Dorton said the first pastor of Davidson Chapel was a bi-vocational bricklayer, and he and other bricklayers literally built the chapel. The church shut down within the past five years.
• Christ Community, est. 1960: Bev Clayton, a member of the transition team, said that in the 1960s, FBH wanted to reach out to mill workers who lived on the other side of the tracks from the church and worked at Magla Mill, which made ironing board covers. Most of these mill families wouldn’t attend First Baptist because they saw it as “a rich person’s church,” Clayton said. So the church rented a house in the middle of Magla Mill Village and started holding Sunday School services there, calling it East Huntersville Baptist Mission.
In 1985, FBH erected a church building near Ramah Church and N.C. 115, which is now owned by New Beginnings Moravian. East Huntersville Baptist paid FBH $1 for the building. In 1997, the church plant built its current building on N.C. 115 on a field that grew peas, and in 1998, the church changed its name to Christ Community.
• Lake Norman Baptist, est. 1982: The Metrolina Baptist Association funded the start-up of Lake Norman Baptist in 1982, according to Pastor Dorton, who was chairman of the Metrolina Missions Committee at the time. FBH members formed the start-up core group, which first held its meetings at FBH and used its offices. When the time came to build, Dorton helped obtain the Lake Norman Baptist property at Catawba Avenue and N.C. 73.
• Lake Haven, est. 1989: First Baptist started a Sunday School class in 1989 inside a trailer in Wildwood Green, now called Huntington Green. When they built the structure that exists today, Clayton said people from all over town pitched in, helping raise the building in only one week.
After holding listening sessions and guided prayer and scripture study, the FBH transition team will begin its search for a senior pastor later this summer.
It will likely look for someone who can continue the church’s longstanding tradition of reaching out to the Lake Norman community.