History of Louisa Baptist Church

Boxley Cabin, Upper Goldmine Baptist Church
            On Friday, September 11, 1829, the following entry is recorded in the minutes of the Goshen Baptist Association: “Letters from 2 newly constituted Churches, (viz. Free-Union and Upper Gold-Mine) were received; and, upon satisfactory evidence of their faith and order, their messengers received the right hand of fellowship from the moderator, and were invited to seats, as members of our body.”  This was the beginning of Louisa Baptist Church, known then as Upper Gold-Mine.

            The newly constituted Upper Gold-Mine Baptist Church met for worship in a wood-frame structure somewhere north of the railroad tracks on Ellisville Road in Louisa Court House.  The nine charter members of the church were served by Pastor W.Y. Hiter, who also served Lower Gold-Mine, Roundabout, and Laurel-Spring Baptist Churches.

            The new church grew rapidly with the growing court house town. Within two years the membership was 78.  After 20 years the membership had reached 223, many of whom were slaves owned by the white members of the church.  The church had outgrown the old white frame building and undertook the construction of a more adequate and permanent building.

            On the 4th Saturday in June, 1849, a contract was let “to build the house (of worship) 36 ft. by 48 ft. of brick neatly, comfortably, and substantially and finish it completely for the sum of $1,575.” The new building was built at the Court House on Land given to the church by one, Elisha Melton. On October 4, 1849 the old frame meeting house was sold to Mr. Melton for $150. The church members met in the Court House until the new church was completed.  In August 1850, the dedication service was held, and the sermon was delivered by Reverend Allen.

            The Sunday School of the church was organized in 1853 with 40 “scholars” enrolled.  By 1860 there were 279 members of Upper Gold-Mine Baptist Church: 75 white members and 184 “coloured” members. From 1861 through 1866 there were no records of statistical reports in the Goshen Baptist Association. In our business meeting record book an unknown writer apologized for not making entries in the book because of the war.  The writer quoted that “Saturday meetings have been stopped because of interruptions by troops.” In 1867, the church listed 96 white members and 0 “coloured” members.  There was an enrollment of 78 in Sunday School.

            The name of the church was changed in 1885 to Louisa Baptist Church. The membership in that year was 80 and the pastor’s salary was $200 a year. Following this year the church began a period of steady growth through the turn of the century. In 1900 the membership was 150 and by 1920 had reached 188.

6   Former Louisa Baptist Church Building
Louisa, VA
            In 1927, Rev. S.B. Overton led the church in a remodeling program.  The sanctuary was remodeled and the Sunday School rooms were  added on the side and the back of the old structure. The remodeling was completed March 13, 1928 for a sum of $4,000.
            The Rev. John Kinzie, (pastor 1952-1956) was the first full-time pastor of Louisa Baptist Church.  Under a full-time pastor, the church began another period of vigorous growth, especially in the Sunday School. The congregation became aware in 1955 that new space was needed.  After several years of discussion and planning, under the leadership of Rev. John Davenport the church voted in 1963 to build a new church using plan S300D designed by the Southern Baptist Church Architecture Department.  It was later decided to build the church on the parsonage property on Main Street in Louisa where the church owned 1.75 acres of ideal land for the building.
7Louisa Baptist Church and Parsonage

           In April 1967, under the leadership of Rev. Kenneth Hoover, the contract was let to M.E. Howard and Son of Richmond for the sum of $148,000 for the completely air conditioned building. Construction began the second week in June and the first service was held in the new building on March 24, 1968.  On May 19, 1968, the dedication service was held on the grounds of the new church building.  The balcony was completed and furnished in 1978.

            In 1970 the church called Rev. Garland Sparks to be pastor. During this time period the church experienced a tremendous amount of growth. The construction of the North Anna Nuclear Power Plant brought in many new people to the community. Under Rev. Garland Sparks’ leadership the church celebrated our 150th anniversary with an all-day meeting on September 9, 1979. This celebration also marked the “burning of the note” on the church building.

            In 1985, Rev. Garland Sparks retired after serving at Louisa Baptist for fifteen years. On April 20, 1986 the church voted to call Rev. David P. Cole to be pastor. Dr. David Cole served as pastor for over two decades, and under his leadership we celebrated our 175th anniversary.

            In 1993, we celebrated the 25th anniversary of Louisa Baptist Church at its current location .  Five of the former pastors attended this special celebration. 

            In 1995, we had outgrown our Sunday School space, office space,  and recreational space.  A Site Plan Task group was formed. On September 29, 1996 a meeting was held with, Mr. Harris, architect to consider what action would be taken on the Site Plan.  In November 1997 a report was made by the Building and Capital Finance Committee to consider the building of the new addition.  On February 1, 1998 a special meeting was called to accept Phase I, fundraising and expansion of the parking lot.

            On October 25, 1998 a special event was held called “Let There Be Light” and approximately 250 people attended the dinner. We were asked to give toward the New Construction/Building Fund to help meet the cost of building the new addition. On May 19, 2002, at a Special Called Business Meeting, the Building Committee was authorized to commence as soon as possible with Phase II of the building project. The work would be done by Brooks and Company and not to exceed $1,000,000.00.

            On March 19, 2000 the church voted to call Paige Green as our minister of Youth and Children.  He became an Associate Pastor in 2002 and continues in that role today.

           On Sunday, August 17, 2003, we held a dedication of the new addition on that morning at the end of our revival.

           Dr. Larry Hoyle was called as Senior Pastor in 2010 and served in that role until 2016.  Currently, Louisa Baptist is led by Rev. Ken Kessler, Interim Pastor; Rev. Paige Green, Associate Pastor; Rev. Lowell Wright, Pastoral Care; and its team of Deacons who continue to support our church’s physical and spiritual growth.