In the year of our Lord 1905, a group of dedicated believers recognized a need to organize a Baptist church in their community. With only a "widow's mite" and strong determination, members of the Comer, Donahue, Milton and Wallington families began building a "mission" under a brush arbor in their small northeast Greensboro community, known as Smith Village. As the founding families prepared for their first revival, a storm developed and destroyed their arbor-but not their faith. The founders constructed another arbor and conducted their revival as planned.
Rev. Dennis Thacker (1905 - 1911)
The Rev. Dennis Thacker served as the first pastor. Under his leadership, Adolphus Comer, Bill Martin, Ellis Ayers, Alex Milton and Jessie Wallington were named the first deacons of the church.
While Rev. Thacker was pastor, the congregation continued to grow and unite as a church family. With the help of God, the founding families and the first congregation constructed a wooden church. A huge rock was used for steps to the church, which was named "White Oak Grove", after the white oak trees that surrounded it.
The early years of White Oak Grove Baptist Church are best remembered by the members who came to church early on Sunday with boxes of food and plans to stay for the morning, afternoon and evening services.
Rev. Sandy G. Gilmer (1911 - 1956)
In 1911, the Rev. Sandy G. Gilmer succeeded Rev. Thacker as pastor. Rev. Gilmer remained pastor until his death in 1956. Under his leadership, a "modern" brick church was built in 1940, and the grounds were landscaped. The spiritual leadership of the church was strengthened with the installation of Joe Hooper, Jesse Moore, Rufus Donnell and Hugh Wallington, Sr. as deacons. Later in his ministry, Rev. Gilmer ordained Lorenzo Donahue, James Wallington and Russell Wyrick as deacons.
To supplement the worship services at White Oak Grove, which were held only on the fourth Sunday, Rev. Gilmer encouraged the organization of a Senior Usher Board, Senior Choir, Senior Missionary Circle and Sunday School.
Rev. J.W. Hedrick (1956 -1968)
Following Rev. Gilmer's death, his son-in-law, the Rev. J.W. Hedrick was named pastor. Deacons George Donahue, Bobby Milton, Lonnie Moore and J.P. Foskey were ordained during Rev. Hedrick's administration. In addition, the "ward system" of financial support was instituted. Renovations were done to the pulpit area to add an altar and, the sanctuary was extended to include inside restrooms, choir room, and a pastor's study. Pulpit furniture and a Communion Table were purchased, as well as new pews, and new carpeting installed.
Rev. Hedrick encouraged the spiritual growth of the church by establishing a Second Sunday worship service and organized a Junior Choir. This man of God gave of his time and talents to White Oak Grove until the Lord called him to rest in May 1968.
Rev. Will Henry Moore (1968 - 1974)
During Rev. Hedrick's illness, the Rev. Will Henry Moore served as assistant pastor and was officially installed as pastor in August 1968. Under his leadership, Henry McLean, Ned Martin, and Frank Wallington were installed as deacons. The youth of the church began to take a more active role under Rev. Moore's leadership. This led to the youth spearheading the entire second Sunday worship services.
Rev. Moore encouraged the formation of Junior Deacons, Junior Missionaries and Trustees as a vehicle for training younger members for the offices in the church. He encouraged the organization of the Sunshine Band, Mass Choir, and Male Chorus. A Deaconess Board and Pastor's Aid Club was formed to assist the pastor and deacons in their work, and to serve as a "Mother Board" to the church. Physical improvements to White Oak Grove under Rev. Moore's leadership include purchasing additional property for the cemetery and playground, constructing a new Fellowship Hall adjacent to the Sanctuary, and installing an indoor baptismal pool.
Despite Rev. Moore's demand as a speaker and his wisdom as a leader, he never neglected his congregation at White Oak Grove. This man of God served faithfully as pastor until he was called from his busy walk of life on June 26, 1974 .
Albert E. Graves (1975 - 1990)
White Oak Grove was in a state of transition from mid 1974 until September 1975, when Albert E. Graves was installed as pastor. Pastor Graves revived the mid-week prayer service and Bible Study. Under his leadership, Minister Anthony Spinks was ordained to preach. Fred Donahue, Gary Milton and Rodney Harrigan were ordained as deacons. Many improvements to the structure of the church were made under his leadership. In addition, the A.E. Graves Youth Choir was organized and played an instrumental role in the worship services.
In 1990, the White Oak Grove Church family realized the need for worship services to be held every Sunday rather than the second and fourth Sundays only. Because Pastor Graves was pastor of Faith Baptist Church in addition to White Oak Grove, he could not fulfill this need; therefore, he submitted his resignation, which was accepted with heartfelt regrets.
Terry L. Streater (1990 - 1992)
In December 1990, Terry L. Streater was called to be our leader. He was installed as pastor on March 10, 1991 . Alpheus Harrigan, Sr. and Ralph Royal were installed as deacons and the church continued to grow under Pastor Streater's leadership until his tenure ended in the fall of 1992.
Ferris Coleman (1993 - 1998)
On August 15, 1993 , Ferris Coleman was installed as pastor of White Oak Grove. Under his leadership, Minister Terry Harris was licensed to preach and became an Associate Minister. Ordained as deacons were Keltz Summers, Sr., Thomas Blackmon, Nathaniel Patrick, and Larry Yancey.
The youth choir was reorganized under Pastor Coleman's tenure and the Orientation Ministry was formed. The Building Fund was also restructured. White Oak Grove grew both spiritually and financially under Pastor Coleman's leadership. Pastor Coleman submitted his resignation in October, 1998 because White Oak Grove could not fulfill his need to become a full-time pastor.
Following Pastor Coleman's tenure, Minister Anthony Spinks along with the deacons and guest ministers led White Oak Grove in worship each Sunday. During this time, concrete plans were made for the construction of a new church.
Steven McCain (2000 - 2002)
On August 27, 2000, Steven McCain was installed as pastor. Being a young man and the father of three small boys, Pastor McCain developed a strong bond with the youth of the church. The church membership increased during his tenure. Delasio Foust was installed as a deacon under Pastor McCain's ministry. A Building Committee was formed to oversee all details of building the new church. Trustee Clarence Foulks was chosen as the building project chairperson. On November 4, 2001 , the White Oak Grove Church family marched from the old church to the new church singing "We've Come This Far by Faith". Pastor McCain's tenure at White Oak Grove ended in 2002 and the flock once again found itself searching for a Shepherd.