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Poplar Springs marks 100th anniversarycomment (0)

September 18, 2008

By Jenny R. Riddle

Though the church doors closed briefly one time and nearly closed another, Poplar Springs Baptist Church, Ashville, “remains a shining beacon for the Lord in the community,” so states the church history.

And the centennial celebration Aug. 17 served as a testament to the fact that God is still working in the St. Clair Baptist Association congregation.

Sherry Runyans, a church member for more than 20 years, remembers the difficult circumstances in 2000–2001, when membership dropped to a low of 10 and Poplar Springs Baptist almost closed.

In 2002, the current pastor, Richard Crocker, was called, and the church has been adding members through baptisms and transfers of letter ever since. There are currently 51 resident members.

Runyans believes Poplar Springs’ future will be “strong and vibrant.”

In the early 1960s, the church did close for a six-week period. Although D.M. Harris had recently given up his ministerial post at Poplar Springs, he offered to serve as pastor again so it could reopen.

Over the years, Poplar Springs’ members also have stepped in to keep the church going by providing a new vision.
Evelyn Banks, a member for 65 years, restarted the Sunday School program in 1945 with nothing but her vision and 17 cents to purchase the supplies. One year later, 96 people were attending Sunday School.

The congregation still gathers for worship in a building that was constructed in 1909. Of course, it has undergone a few changes in its lifetime. In 1965, brick was added to the exterior and paneling to the interior. A fellowship hall with a full kitchen was added in 1984.

At the anniversary celebration service, St. Clair Association Director of Missions Ben Chandler spoke and the Sonrise Trio provided special music. Following the service, four former pastors joined the celebration as everyone enjoyed a covered-dish luncheon.

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