History of EBC
Elizabeth Baptist Church began as a dream placed in the heart of Elizabeth Love Wilson in the late 1800s. According to reliable sources, this saint of God would bring her cow to graze upon the grassy land where the church now stands. As the cow grazed, Elizabeth prayed, often with another early saint of the congregation, Mary Jane Borders Mauney. As the two women sat they saw more than a cow grazing. They saw a church combating the evil influence of a nearby liquor still and providing a place of worship closer than the 7 to 15 miles people were traveling one way over rough roads at that time.Early in 1883, God sent C.F. Felmet to lead the people of this community in a brush arbor revival. During this revival, or shortly thereafter, a Sunday School was organized. In September of the same year, the congregation petitioned for membership and was accepted into the Kings Mountain Baptist Association as a new church.
Our present building is the fourth our congregation has used over the past century. The first was a wooden frame building constructed in 1884 which was heated by a pot bellied stove, lighted by kerosene lamps, and divided into Sunday School rooms by curtains hanging from wires that stretched from wall to wall. Two more buildings housed our church from 1910 through 1954. The “yellow brick church” was replaced in 1940 by a third building whose sanctuary held 500 people! On December 13, 1954 a catastrophe that still lives in the minds of Elizabethans took place.
At around 6:00 p.m. an unnamed man observed smoke coming from the church. A short time later the smoke erupted into a seething mass of flame which soon left only burned and scarred brick. Standing in the glow of the fire, many of the saints wept unashamedly. Their building, poorly insured against such a fire, was gone. As Pastor Zeno Wall put it, “We don't even have a song book.” But out of the ashes, a spirit arose which stood against all odds. Elizabeth Baptist Church, using the facilities of nearby Elizabeth School, continued to minister, to sacrifice, and to pray. Eight hundred and two days later on Sunday, February 24, 1957, they entered what the Biblical Recorder referred to as “one of the most attractive churches in the state and beyond.”
The past few years have been marked by key events such as a spiritual directions process and the development of numerous new ministries. These include an annual ministry fair, the disaster relief ministry, the handyman ministry, the GLAD bag ministry to welcome church guests, youth coffee houses, the church and the youth ministry websites, the new member class, the orchestra and praise band, the addition of the minister to preschool and children position, and the conversion of the parsonage to a youth house. Elizabethans have ministered to many on mission trips to the NC mountains, Alaska, Florida, Hawaii, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Ukraine, Puerto Rico, and South Africa, as well as right here in Cleveland County working with the homeless shelter, hospice, the crisis pregnancy center and the Greater Cleveland County Baptist Association. Under the leadership of our Lord, we have continued in the heritage left to us by our spiritual forefathers. Through prayer and sacrificial giving of time, talent, and money, our church is affecting lives from Cleveland County to the ends of the earth.