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Church celebrates 200 years

This past weekend, First Cross Roads Baptist Church in Turbeville celebrated its 200th birthday. 

The church began as Cross Roads Meeting House in 1814 with a total of 85 members who met in a one-room brick school. The name “Cross Roads” came from two roads that crossed in the vicinity of the building, one being a stagecoach road going from News Ferry to Milton, North Carolina.

 According to information provided by Vicky Collie, an organizer of the weekend celebration, Sunday school was an important part of the church from the beginning.  

However, during the extreme winter months, no Sunday school would be held until 1924. 

Cross Roads was one of 12 county churches that comprised the newly organized Dan River Baptist Association in 1839. These dozen churches split from the Roanoke Association because of a difference in opinion concerning Sunday school, Collie said.

In 1845 Byrd and Frances Moore deeded one acre of land to the church for $1, but no date is known as to when the church building was constructed. 

The early building had a balcony for slaves facing the pulpit and a baptismal pool under the pulpit area. 

In 1863 the custodian was paid $5 a year to bring water, build fires and clean, Collie added.

The church roll included 275 members with 197 being servants or slaves in 1863. After the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Lincoln in 1865, over 200 members requested transfer of letters to form what is known today as Cross Roads Baptist Church. 

This new church was permitted to use the building one Sunday a month for their services. Members built their own church around 1871.

The membership purchased land for a cemetery across the road from the church in 1907. 

In 1915 Cross Roads became part of a three-church field with Alton and Black Walnut Baptist churches sharing a parsonage that was located at Cluster Springs. 

Later, Cross Roads became a one church field in 1954 and in 1955 voted to build a three-bedroom brick parsonage across the road from the church. The parsonage has undergone a number of renovations over the years.

The church building has gone through a number of changes as well. In 1905 the balcony was removed, and a vestibule was added.  

In 1939 classrooms were added to the left and right of the pulpit. In 1973 the middle section of the church was added. Then in 1997 the back section of the church was added. The pulpit area of the sanctuary has been remodeled a number of times, Collie said.

A name change from Cross Roads Meeting House to Cross Roads Baptist Church occurred about the time the membership voted to leave the Roanoke Association to help form the Dan River Baptist Association in 1839. 

Another name change occurred in 1979 from Cross Roads to First Cross Roads Baptist Church, Collie said.

In celebration of the church’s 200th anniversary, a dinner and concert was held Saturday night as well as worship, lunch and a song service on Sunday. 

The Cross Roads Baptist Church Choir (First Cross Road’s sister church) presented music on Saturday night.  

The Rev. Greg McCormick, who grew up in First Cross Roads Baptist Church, delivered the message on Sunday morning.