New Era Baptist Church – The Church Journey
November 11, 2020 http://mynetzone.com/
I had the privilege to visit the New Era Baptist Church established in 1885. The following outlines a portion of the meticulously collected notes by the church over the last 135 years.
The first sermon by T. Holbert, November 22, 1885. December 1885, Rev. J. B. Walker was elected first pastor for 12 months. Sunday after the 4th Saturday in April, 1886, met at river at 8:00 A. M., for the purpose of attending to one of the ordinances of God’s house, to wit, baptism, (5 baptized). August, 1886. 
In July 1889 organized a Sabbath School with J. B. Walker, Supt., A. Mashburn, Assis. Supt., and C. W. McMahan as secretary. December 1889, the church voted to hold a meeting of days with the help of five Elders. It continued for 16 days with 9 conversions and 5 renewals. January 1890, met for baptism in the river. May 1891, Rev. j. B. Walker sent to Southern Baptist Convention. 
January 1894, Rev. lven Hurst elected as pastor. He accepts on condition church pay him $30 a year in quarterly payments. January 1895, no preaching, pastor could not come because of high water. February 1895, no church session because of the snow and intense cold weather. August 1895, 14-day meeting led by Pastor W. A. Kite, with the help of Rev. Levi Bronson, J. B. Walker, and others, there were 37 professions. September 1897, met at the river at 8:00 A.M. to baptize two. 
March 1898 C. T. Ogle and W. D. Bryan was appointed to look after the enlargement of the Shilough Cemetery. August 1900, what started out as prayer meetings turned into a 16-day revival. There were 16 baptized and 6 restored to the church. December 1901, the day set apart to elect a pastor. It rained so hard all day that the church failed to meet. Another date was set. September 1902, charges were brought against Bro. Mathes and Bro. Gibson for taking too much whiskey, and Bro. Norton for profanity. November 1902, the church passed a resolution against drunkenness, that whereas drunkenness was the greatest vile the church has to contend with. Therefore, be it resolved that we will not tolerate drunkenness in the church. 
July 1916, the church received $200 for their interest in the meeting house. Plans for new building with John Salts chairman of the committees. September 191 6, bought from Will Bryan the sight for the church at $40. April 191 8, George McMahan, Sec. of Trustees to present application for aid to the amount of $300 to the Home Mission Board. Dedication services for new church building was 3rd Sunday in Sept. 1918. 
September 1922, there were 107 enrolled in Sunday School with 65 average attendance. July 1927, Bro. Ernest Franklin baptized at end of revival. Organist, and Mary Bird (Ogle), Ass. Organist. Sunday September 8, 1929, the following were baptized at 9:00 and then went to church for worship: Reba Brewer, Joy Flynn, Lois Hall, Kathleen Jenkins, Victoria Shalts, Haskell Franklin, James Flynn, Oliver Norton, Joe Gibson, Dolph McCarter, Arlie Matthews, Paul Atchley, Anna Mae Atchley, Wade Williams. 
February 14,1931, a piano was bought for $75. May 1943, motion made to put service flag in church. A star was to be placed on the flag for each boy in the community who was enlisted in the arms services. Also, a star for each boy who lost his life in World War II. The church lost 3 members. June 1944, a drive to raise money for the bldg. of East Tenn. Baptist Hospital was discussed and $128.50 was pledged by the church. July 1948, Trustees given authority to put church on foundation and grade the place to put it. 
November 1948, committee appointed to wire church for electric lights. November 1953, the Young People Class canned 200 cans for Orphan’s Home. August 1955, a motion to start classrooms in the front of church. June 1957, a gift of $225 was given by Mr. and Mrs. John Q. McMahan to start a parsonage fund if the church decides to build a parsonage. September 1957, Motion to buy new benches and church furniture. August 1958 Motion to buy % acre of land from Mr. and Mrs. Zack Jenkins. August 1959, Motion to buy Church Covenant to be framed and covered with glass. January 1960, Electricity was installed in church building. September 1960, Motion to build bathrooms baptistery, and extra classrooms. 
September 1963, Motion to buy oil furnace from John Coleman for $1 820.1 1. July 1964, Motion to accept lot for parsonage and $250. April 1965, Motion to buy Everett piano from Lynn Shelly Co. for $740. Church first Homecoming 1971, Carpet put on church floor in 1973, Cathedral glass put in windows in 1974, and water cooler added in 1974. 
The drive to the church is off a winding country road just outside Pigeon Forge, Tn. The church is located at the top of a hill surrounded by lush timberland that provides a comforting backdrop.
During my research I enjoyed the detailed history that was provided on the church website. I only capture a portion of the notes for this writeup, so if you would like to see more please visit the church website. The outline of activities is a perfect example on how modern conveniences have changed over the years with electricity and modern plumbing, but the mission of the church has not changed and is still the same today. It still consists of preaching and teaching, announcing and testifying, making disciples and bearing witness, and most important saving the lost souls in the name of Jesus.
I spent time walking around taking several pictures for this story. Once I finished with the pictures, I stood next to the beautiful white church spending time in prayer. I really cherished this time as It was very quiet providing a mood of spiritual serenity that nourished my soul.
Last week we conducted a presidential election in the United States. One week later the votes are still being counted, and it may be weeks before we have the certified final results. In the end we may feel we have little CONTROL in what happens within our government. The good news is WE CAN CONTROL OUR PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST. God loves you and has not forgotten you. Put your faith in God. God is always trying to get our attention. Has he grasped yours yet? Please continue to pray for our country, pray for healing of our nation.
Prayer can be challenging, especially when answers are slow in coming and the world around us seems to be spinning out of control. But when we can come into God’s presence, lean into His embrace, saturate our minds and hearts with His truth, and rest in His plan, He will enable us to find the steady, faithful path He has planned for us.
With the National emergency for the COVID-19 virus many churches have a reduced schedule. At the time of my visit the church was closed, so I spent time outside the church in meditation and prayer.
Church Website: http://www.newerabaptistchurch.org/index.htm
Date Visited: 2020 November 5th.
Location: 1389 New Era Road, Sevierville, Tn
If you would like to learn more about this church, upcoming events, or listen to a sermon I encourage you to visit the church website listed above.
May our Lord continue to bless this church in Jesus name.
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.)” – (Matthew 11:28)
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
PICTURE GALLERY: The inside picture is from the church website
- New Era Baptist Church website, “History” (2020, November 10) Retrieved from http://www.newerabaptistchurch.org/index_files/HISTORY.htm