Valley Grove Baptist Church – The Church Journey

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VG Church Front

21 January 2020

Valley Grove Baptist Church:

I had the privilege to visit Valley Grove Baptist Church. This church was founded back in the late 1800s. The church has continued to grow over the years expanding the number of buildings including a large sanctuary and recreation center.  I reviewed some old newspapers, and found the following from the early days of the church.  The church was organized on February 19, 1895 a few Christians of the location 9 miles south of Knoxville began to feel the great importance, and necessity of organizing a church in the community.  April 6, of 1895 they met in the White’s Chapel School House, and a committee of 6 was appointed to draw up building plans. The building was 35 feet wide and 16 feet high. After completion the building was dedicated the last Sunday in April 1897.  This was the first structure built, but later was replaced by the current buildings that are in place today. [3]

In 1940 the congregation began construction of a larger church building made of stone to replace the original building. They celebrated the completion of the church 26 April 1942 with a lunch on the church grounds followed by special music and a sermon.[4]

In 21 August 1943 The Knoxville News-Sentinel article, which was printed during World War II reported that Valley Grove Baptist Church had 75 men in the armed forces. The church also furnished two chaplains. [5]

The Knoxville Journal, 03 November 1962 reported the church was the second largest “open country” church in the Southern Baptist convention.  Rev. Creed S. McCoy was the pastor at the time.  In 1957 the current sanctuary was built. The paper reported the sanctuary that was built in 1957 seats 1200. [2]

Fellowship:

During my visit I had the privilege of meeting Keith Vaughan Senior Pastor.  We had wonderful conversation, and pastor Vaughan finished our time together with a prayer.

Details:   

Church Website: http://www.valleygrove.org/

Date Visited: 2020 January 16th

Location: Valley Grove Baptist church is located at 9000 Sevierville Pike, Knoxville, TN.

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The current sanctuary was built in 1957, and the exterior is made of solid red bricks. The front of the building has a Colonial Revival look with concrete steps leading up to the main entry, which features wooden double doors allowing access to the sanctuary.

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The church has a stunning steeple with a brick tower supporting the belfry and lantern topped with a green spire pointing up into the blue sky. The spare appears to be made of copper, but I was unable to verify this from my view.  The church side walls have large rounded top arched windows going down the side of the building. The windows allow natural light to flow into the sanctuary. 

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The sanctuary completed in 1957 has very high ceilings allowing room for balcony seating.   The Knoxville Journal, 03 November 1962 reported that the sanctuary holds 1200 people. I am not sure if that number has changed over the years.

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To the right of the red brick sanctuary there is a beautiful brown cobblestone building that was built in 1940. This was used as the main church until the red brick sanctuary was completed in 1957. In April of 1942 an all-day service was held to celebrate the completion of this new building.[5] The picture below shows the church under construction from 09 November 1940 The Knoxville Journal.  The original building had a bell tower extending above the rooftop.

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The above picture shows a close up of the stone and a window framed with a red brick accent.

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The above picture shows the side of the stone building that was built in 1940. Each window is encapsulated with a red brick accent.

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There is a large recreation center built on the church grounds.

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An old cemetery is located on the church grounds.

Final Thoughts:

Valley Grove Baptist Church is a church with a deep history that continues to thrive.  I met with Keith Vaughan Senior Pastor of the church. The church hosts a pre-school during the week, so I was not able to go inside during my visit, which is completely understandable. This did not diminish my visit by any means. With permission from the pastor I spent time outside the church focusing on four locations on the church grounds praying. My first stop was the entrance to the church sanctuary. It was very satisfying touching the church walls with my hand during my prayer time. Then I went to the older church built in 1940, followed by a stop where the church offices are located. The last stop was at the flagpole in front of the building. At this location they have a dedication to those who have served in the Armed forces to defend our religious freedoms.  There was plenty to pray for at each location. (Congregation, community outreach, leadership, administration, and the Armed forces).   

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In the past I have listened to the weekly broadcasted church service on the local radio station 620 AM during Sunday afternoon. Senior Pastor Keith Vaughan provides excellent biblical sermons full of the holy spirit.  I encourage you go to the website and watch one of his videotaped sermons http://www.valleygrove.org/watch/

In closing I found there is a plethora of past history on this church available in old newspapers. During my research I also found another Valley Grove Church on Ball Camp Pike located on the west side of Knoxville, TN.  I could have spent another week on this write up. Maybe I’ll go back at a later date to expand on this. For now, I am excited to continue this journey by visiting other churches.

A final note I changed the essay style framework used in the previous weeks. to a shorter outline with less repetition. I hope this provides a better reading experience going forward.  

What to Expect Following This Journey:  This journey is not about reviewing or comparing one church to another. That is why I do not go into details on all the good things each church is doing. As a visitor I just don’t have the insight on everything each church is involved in. This blog is just covering my journey, my experiences, my reflection during each visit as I spend time in prayer and meditation.  If you would like to learn more about each church, I encourage you to visit the church website. If available I always list the website in the detail section.

 May our Lord continue to bless this church in Jesus name.

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”(MATTHEW 5:16) NIV

Please Pray for all our churches as they continue to face challenges in the year 2020.

May this find you well and happy, God Bless

References:

  1. Valley Grove Baptist Church website (2020, January, 16) Retrieved from http://www.valleygrove.org/
  2. Newspapers.com, “Open Country, Pastor to Start Revival Here; Name Familiar”. The Knoxville Journal, (Knoxville Tennessee) 03 November 1962. Page 2.
  3. Newspapers.com, “Dedicatory Exercises of Valley Grove Baptist Church Conducted Sunday”. The Journal and Tribune, (Knoxville Tennessee) 25 June 1900. Page 8.
  4. Newspapers.com, “Will Celebrate Church Opening”. The Knoxville Journal, (Knoxville Tennessee) 25 April 1942. Page 2.
  5. Newspapers.com, “Dedication at Valley Grove”. The Knoxville News Sentinel, (Knoxville Tennessee) 21 August 1943. Page 10.

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