Sunday, July 10, 2016

Granny Lewis Began a Sunday School Program for Area Children, Glen Hope Baptist Church Was Later Established, 1925

Glen Hope Baptist Church, mentioned in the previous posting, began in 1925 when a woman started a Sunday school for children in the Piedmont Heights community around Burlington Mills. Here is the story from the church's web page:

The Sunday School of Glen Hope Baptist Church was established in June 1925 following a religious census that was taken of the growing Piedmont Heights Community. The community sprang up around the Burlington Mills, which was opened in 1923.  Due to transportation difficulties the Mill provided housing for their employees at a cost of $1 to $2.50 per week.

One of the residents of the community, Mrs. A.E. (Granny) Lewis, gathered the increasing number of children around her each Sunday for a Bible lesson and prayer that God would send someone to establish a church in the community. On one of those Sundays, Mr. John Bayliff heard the prayer and approached his pastor at the Methodist church about starting a church. When he realized that his pastor was not interested, he visited the First Baptist Church where Rev. Buck was very receptive.

Bible study was offered each week along with worship services led by Rev. Robert Councilman, a ministerial student assisting Rev. Buck at First Baptist. This new church was called Burlington Mills Baptist Church. However, in 1926 hard times hit the community and many individuals were forced to leave the area in search of employment elsewhere. When Rev. Councilman returned to school there was no one to conduct the worship service. The Bible study continued each week, but members attended worship in other places.

On September 13, 1927 a group of young adults from Pamona Baptist Church in Greensboro visited the Bible Study group in Piedmont Heights. At the end of the session it was disclosed to the Burlington group that the Sunday School teacher from Greensboro that morning had recently felt the call of God into the ministry.  When asked if he would preach for them that morning, George Washington Swinney stood and preached extemporaneously a sermon title “Prepare to Meet Thy God.” So impressed were they that they asked Mr. Swinney to return the next Sunday. So began a ministry that would last 42 years.  The church was reorganized as the Glen Hope Baptist Church taking their name from the Glen Hope School in the neighborhood.

Through the years, God has continued to bless the prayer of Granny Lewis and broadened the ministry and outreach of the Glen Hope Baptist Church.

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