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History of Ocobla Baptist Church

written for service in September 1988

Information donated by Dawn Chandler.

Ocobla Baptist Church was organized on September 29, 1888 at Germina School which was located east of Philadelphia near the J.E. Perkins place. The fifteen Charter members consisted of seven men and eight women. The men were:
R. M. Jones O. F. Partridge
S. F. Jones G. W. Henley
C. H. Carter W. A. Mullican
M. M. Partridge

The women were:
S. M. Jones R. N. Partridge
M. E. Jones M. E. Partridge
M. F. Carter M. N. Henley
F. A. Carter M. E. Mullican

Members of the Presbytery (governing body) were: 
G.W. Breland 
J.J. Ingram
B. F. Carter. 
G. W. Breland served as the church's first pastor.

In December 1888 a building committee was appointed. The church continued to meet in the Germina School until the building was completed in September 1891. The new church building was located about 1/2 mile west of the school near the Albert Rea place. The meeting times were Saturday and Sunday, one weekend a month. This building was used until 1908, then sold to Bud Burnette.

Matthew Mills Partridge donated two acres for church grounds and a new church was built. Remodeled several times, this building was used until June 20, 1951 when lightening struck the church and it burned to the ground. Services were then held in the Bloomo School Auditorium until a new church could be built.

The first service in the new building was a dedication service on February 3, 1952. Since that time the building has been remolded several times with the addition of Sunday School rooms twice, a baptisty, new pews, carpeting, brick exterior, steeple, fellowship hall, central air and numerous other improvements.

The church now has 160 members on the roll. Mrs. Ozella Carter is the oldest living member, being baptized into the church in 1917.

Pastors serving Ocobla Baptist Church since its organization are the Reverends:
G. W. Breland, G. L. Savell, Z. M. Dunn, H. Savell, J. V. Parker, P. J. Crews, James W. Jones, A. B Culpepper, P. A. Davis, A. N. Thomas, R. J. Johnson, J. R. Breland, T. J. Harper, H. C. Bufkin, N. B. Nicholson, Truly Reynolds, H. C. Keene, Elton Winstead, Larry Morris, Clifton Gibbs, Ray Fulton, Babby Jack Henley, Tony Gibson, and Kernard Turner.

Deacons having served are: M. M. Partridge, J. A. Burnette, George Stokes, C. H. Stokes, Willie Williamson, L. C. Smith, Jimmie Thrash, Carson Woodward, J. J. Phillips, Chrysler McNeese, E. P. Thornton, Howard Wright, Hubert Killen, Willard Mott, Thurman Thomas, Marzine Brantley, Mickey Warren, Billy Royce Fulton, Ralph Jenkins, and James Thomas.

Church clerks having served are: R. M Jones, S. W. Carter, I. L. Storey, W. D. Stokes, P. F. Thrash, J. J. Phillips, A. N. Thomas, A. L. Storey, L. C. Smith, F. J. Phillips, C. A. Carter, Jerome Warren and Leonard Thrash.

There is no record of all the choir directors, pianists and organists, but we want to recognize the ones we do know about. These people play a vital role in our worship services. The list includes: F. J. Phillip, Herman Thomas, Flora Thomas, Lillian Killen, Mexia Mott, Hardy Lundy, Joyce Mills Woodward, Helen Fulton, Verdie Brantley, Minnie Jean Nowell, Sheila Brantley, Cheryl Joiner and Patrick Eakes.

Ocobla's young people have been active in the church for many years. Related by one of them, Lydia Carter Ward, there were times when Bro. A. N. Thomas took the Baptist Young Peoples Union of Ocobla to put on programs and helped other churches organize their own B. Y. P. U.

These churches include Antioch, New Prospect, Beulah Hubbard and other. At the present time the youth leaders are Gail Clark, Sheila Brantley, and Lisa Alford.
The church started out having services one weekend a month, Saturday and Sunday. In 1937 the church began meeting two weekends a month, Saturday and Sunday. In 1942 the Saturday night meetings were discontinued. Full time services began in October 1959.
In the early days of the church men sat on one side of the church and women and children on the other side. It has been said that in church elections votes were marked male and female.
Discipline was very strict in the early church. On many occasions members were brought before the church charged with living in a disorderly manner. Apology to the church was required before being restored to fellowship.

Working together for a common goal is characteristic of Ocobla. For instance, in 1934 the church raised a cotton crop. Proceeds from cotton sales paid off the piano, bought tires for the preacher's car and donation was sent to the general association. In 1951, ladies of the church made quilts and sold them to help in rebuilding after the church was destroyed by fire.
Not until 1970 did the church pay the pastor a regular salary. Until that time two offerings were taken each Sunday. The morning offering went to the pastor and the night offering went for other church expenses.

Lydia Carter Ward

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