The history of Stony Hill…
Stony Hill Baptist Church fondly remembers our past but is also excited about the future that God has planned for us. Our church remains a focal point for our community with its steeple reaching toward heaven, its bell ringing to welcome worshippers, and its light coming down the hill to guide us to God’s eternal salvation. Our heritage is rich and we treasure it. Our future is bright and we pursue it.
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Jesus Christ to all generations, forever and ever.”
A look back …
Stony Hill Baptist Church was founded on November 22, 1884 by rural dwellers, in an area filled with a sawmill and farms, that produced milk, cotton, tobacco, corn, and other crops. Founded with 24 members, Stony Hill was a Missionary Baptist Church that met in a schoolhouse about a half mile north of the present site.
Before the church was organized, people from the community held services under a tent called a brush arbor. The men, dressed in overalls, spread fish nets over a frame, then placed leaves and branches over the nets to provide shade. As the men worked, the women would sit on the ground and share cheerful talk about neighbors, friends, and the daily affairs of life that took most of their time and attention. Many of our early members walked to church, and the children sat with their parents. Baptism services were held at the Neuse River with the congregation standing nearby singing Shall We Gather at the River.
In 1929, the congregation decided to enlarge their meeting space “so that we could give the folk a comfortable seat who were interested enough to come to our services.” Plans were made to build a white, wooden church building on the hill where our current facility sits. Members donated trees that were sawed at the mill and then planed and painted to form the church building in 1930. A steeple was added in 1951 and the church was bricked in 1962.
In 1976, we celebrated the Bicentennial with an Old Fashioned Day by dressing in old-fashioned clothing and having “dinner on the grounds.” Home-cooked food was served from large tables behind the church that were set up under the shade of the trees. All enjoyed eating and fellowshipping outside. We continue to have a day set aside the last Sunday before Thanksgiving, Harvest Day, when some wear old-fashioned clothes to our worship service and then gather for a meal afterwards.
In 1983, our church was remodeled. The Sanctuary was renovated with stained glass windows portraying the life of Christ, chandeliers, burgundy carpet, cushioned pews, and a baptistry.
In 2007, a new Family Life Center was completed that features a larger worship area, professional kitchen and dining area, basketball courts, as well as more classroom space for Sunday School and our children’s programs.
While God’s blessings upon this church have been apparent for over a century, we believe that He is beginning to do a fresh work in our hearts. We have seen members join, as well as some additional programs for the family, such as AWANA and Bible studies.