In October 1950, Spring Hill Baptist Church joyously celebrated its first anniversary. Much had happened in a year. The old barn had been torn down to make way for the new chapel. (Amish have barn raisings, Baptists barn razings.) The demolition sessions were held on Saturdays with memorable potlucks an integral part of the process. The new chapel was constructed almost entirely by church members since the fledgling congregation providentially contained “every trade but a brick mason.”
On that first anniversary, a young lawyer named George Wood was first ordained as a deacon. That day the church was also delighted to call its first full-time pastor – a dedicated 32-year-old with a pretty wife and three small children. His name was Norman Clapp. The Clapps moved into the second floor of the Marechal house.
They might have been able to enjoy the lovely old house more if it hadn’t still been doubling as the church. Ida had to get up extremely early every Sunday to tidy up their apartment since classes met in every room. The rest of the week, however, things were much more peaceful. There was a swamp where our sanctuary currently stands, and most nights the family fell asleep to a chorus of frogs.
On the second anniversary, Pete Peterson was ordained as a deacon and hesitantly accepted leadership of Training Union. He had refused to do it earlier because he said he couldn’t get up in front of people and talk. As the church continued to grow, adequate space was always a problem. Classes were squeezed into the refurbished basement, the dilapidated old servant’s quarters, and, when weather permitted, a number of classes met outside under the huge oak trees. Fortunately the congregation continued its faithful financial support.
On the church’s sixth anniversary in 1955, the Junior Educational Building (what is now our Education Office) was dedicated. In 1957, our current chapel was built. And, as the 1950’s came to a close and Spring Hill Baptist Church celebrated its 10th anniversary in 1959, the Nursery Building was dedicated. (Folks remember an adorable little girl named Gina Burroughs had taken part in the groundbreaking.)