From July 1947 to July 1957:
On July 20, 1947 a meeting was held in the Eastwood Addition near the Leiper Heights Addition in the city of Malvern, Arkansas. On July 28, 1947 Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church was organized with seven members. In the month that followed 19 more were received into the church fellowship.
A Sunday School was organized and the first Sunday School offering amounted to $5.02. By the end of the first month, the Sunday School attendance was 47 with 9 visitors.
Two weeks after the church was organized the balance in the Building Fund was $532. The church voted to buy the Russell property for $400. A building committee was elected and the church voted to construct a buff tile building 36 ft. x 50 ft. with 10 ft. walls.
The church continued to grow spiritually and numerically and the first preaching service was held in the new building on November 30, 1947.
On January 4, 1948 Brother Steve Thomas was elected first pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church.
A notation on the August, 1949 minute book stated that the church voted to send $10 a month to associational missions, $2.50 a month to state missions, $2.50 per month to interstate missions, $2.50 per month to foreign missions, $1.50 per month to the orphans home and to budget $7 per month or whatever it takes for utilities. Tentative plans were made at this time to build six 10 x 12 Sunday School rooms.
November 1, 1950 the church voted to proceed with plans to build a baptistry and also voted to begin a radio program over KVRC in Arkadelphia with the pastor conducting the programs.
By November 9, 1952 the church membership had reached 200.
June 3, 1953 the salary of the janitor was raised to $20 per month to include caring for the baptistry and lawn.
May 26, 1954 the church voted to buy lots just west of the church for $600.
August 29, 1956, Brother Steve Thomas declined the call to pastor for another year, because he said he could not overcome the twelve who were in opposition to making the call unanimous.
Bro. J. Coyle Kelley was called as pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church on September 9, 1956.
October 31, 1956 the church voted to broadcast their program from KDAS, the Malvern radio station.
March 3, 1957 the church voted to buy the Southerland house and property for a parsonage.
May 1, 1957 the church voted to publish a weekly church bulletin.
May 29, 1957 the church elected a planning committee to plan for a new auditorium.
From July 1957 to July 1967:
The 1957 associational letter showed the membership as 307.
February 16, 1958 the church voted to buy a 25ft. x 150 ft. lot across the street from the church which was known as the Holmes property.
May 14, 1958 floor plans for the new auditorium were accepted as presented by the planning committee and the church voted to build the auditorium on the same side of the street as the present building.
February 8, 1959 the church purchased a 65 x 150 foot lot from Mr. Cotton for $1,300 and moved the parsonage to this lot on Jefferson Street.
February 25, 1959 a building committee was elected for design and planning for a new auditorium.
December 2, 1959 the church voted to buy an organ that had been placed in the church on trial.
Bro. Steve Thomas was elected as speaker for the ground breaking ceremony for the new auditorium on April 10, 1960 at 2:00pm.
April 23, 1960 the finance committee presented a recommendation to secure a loan for $35,000 at the rate of 6.6% interest with payments of $306.00 per month to finance the construction of the new auditorium.
Brother J. Coyle Kelley resigned as pastor on May 9, 1962. Brother J. C. James was called as pastor on June 6, 1962.
July, 1963 the church voted to hire a church secretary for 2 days a week at $1.00 per hour. The first secretary was Nettie Cummmings.
May, 1964 the church voted to purchase the Holmes property across the street from the church for $3,000 to be used for parking.
March 10, 1965 the church elected a building committee to work with an architect on plans for the educational building.
June 16, 1965 the church voted to accept the building committee’s recommendations to build the proposed educational building.
September 14, 1966 the church voted to purchase the Cecil Petray property behind the church for $7,750.
Brother J. C. James resigned as pastor on November 7, 1965. Brother Charles Ashcraft was called as pastor on January 5, 1966.
From July 1967 to July 1977:
The 1966-67 associational letter reported membership as 477.
Brother Charles Ashcraft resigned July 23, 1967. Brother J. C. James was called to be pastor for the second time on August 27, 1967.
February, 1968 the church voted to buy the Joe Petray property for $9,500 which would allow the church to build the education building adjacent to the new auditorium and keep the space for the Sunday School rooms in the old building.
November, 1968 the church borrowed $125,000 to finance the new education building, remodel the old building and to pay off some outstanding debts.
December, 1968 the church met in an all-day service to dedicate the new education building.
May, 1969 the church voted to buy two lots measuring 100 x 150 feet with 2 houses known as the Luker property which joins the present church property on Jefferson Street and goes to Highland Street and is adjacent to the new education building. The houses were later moved and the area blacktopped for parking.
The 1970 associational letter showed the membership as 569.
Brother J. C. James resigned as pastor effective July 1, 1970. Brother Lowe Stone was called as pastor on July 8th, but he notified the church that he declined the call on July 12th. On August 5th the church voted to call Brother H. L. (Sonny) Shuffield as pastor. There was one opposing vote to making it unanimous.
On May 21, 1972, Brother Shuffield announced that he would resign as pastor effective May 28th.
July 5th the church called Brother James L. Johnson as pastor by a unanimous vote. He served as pastor until resigning on December 28, 1975.
The 1976 membership was 602.
Brother Sheppard Mooney was called by a unanimous vote to the office of pastor on March 10, 1976. He accepted the call on Sunday evening of the 17th stating he would be moved on the field by the first Sunday in April.
From July 1977 to July 1987:
The 1977-78 associational letter reported membership as 566.
January 29, 1979 the final payment on the $125,000 loan was made, approximately 5 years in advance.
April 8, 1979 the church met for all-day services for the purpose of burning the note that was recently paid off. The day’s services consisted of regular Sunday morning services with lunch in the fellowship hall at noon. The afternoon service consisted of the Welcome by the pastor, Sheppard Mooney, special singing, brief history by the church clerk, brief history of the monetary affairs of the church by the church treasurer, sermon by Bro. J. C. Kelley and the note burning.
On July 7, 1982, Brother Sheppard Mooney resigned as pastor effective the last of August.
On September 8, 1982 a motion and second passed to have a yearly vote of confidence regarding the pastor. Brother Sidney McLeod was called as pastor by a unanimous vote.
In January of 1984 it was voted to hire Odell Webb to remodel the children’s area of the church building for a figure not to exceed $40,000.00 and consolidate the present building payment amounts now outstanding and borrow up to $75,000.00 making the monthly building payments about $973.00 per month.
On October 8, 1986 the Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church adopted Articles of Incorporation under the Arkansas Non-Profit Corporation Act.
From July 1987 to July 1997:
Brother Sidney McLeod resigned as pastor of Emmanuel Church on July 26, 1989. After hearing four men in view of a call, Emmanuel Baptist Church voted unanimously to call Brother Jerry Grimes for pastor on August 30, 1989. It was voted to rewire, re-carpet, and repaint the church parsonage before the new pastor moved in.
In October of 1989 the church voted to purchase the property across the street for $26,500. A sufficient loan was secured to cover this amount as well as to pay off the present loan. Five men in the church co-signed this loan to purchase the Griggs property.
In June of 1991 the church gave the building committee the authority to investigate the present and future needs of the church buildings. This involved hiring an architect to assist and draw plans for a new nursery, music room, and fellowship hall.
The Wiley property at 1404 Jefferson Street was purchased in May of 1992 for $15,000.00. It was financed for seven years.
Jimmy Jones resigned as Music and Youth Director on August 1, 1993. On September 15, 1993, Ken Goodman was called as Music and Youth Director.
In April of 1994 the church voted to send Pastor Jerry Grimes to India to visit Missionary P. P. Baby, whom they had been sponsoring for several years.
The Building Committee was reactivated in September of 1995 to begin a building program to enlarge the building facilities. Brethren Curt Henderson, John Corley, and Jack Butler served on this committee. In May of 1996 the church decided to hire an architect to make the construction drawings for a new addition.
It was reported in July of 1996 that the approximate cost of this addition would be $310,000.00. The project was postponed and other options were investigated. In November of 1996 the church decided to have the architect proceed with the final plans and that bids be taken for the construction and remodeling project.
In January of 1996 Ken Goodman resigned as Music and Youth Director. In March of 1996 the Music Director’s position was turned over to Brother Bryan Thomas and the church would look for a full-time Youth Director. In May, Brother Scott Bates was called as Associate Pastor/Youth Director.
In August of 1996 Emmanuel Church voted to sponsor Lucian and Audrey Stanisor as Missionary Helpers in Romania at a salary of $1,200.00 per month. In March of 1998 the remaining money in the Romanian Mission Fund was transferred to the First Landmark Baptist Church in Sheridan to help with their Romanian mission work.
In January of 1997 a 50th Anniversary Homecoming Committee was elected to make plans for the 50th Anniversary of the church. Those selected were: Bryan Thomas, John Corley, Ken Williams, Loretta Ashcraft, Carol Bray, and Judy Thornton.
In February of 1997 an organ fund was begun for the purpose of purchasing a new organ for the sanctuary.
In April of 1997 a construction bid of $299,291.00 was awarded to the Lantrip Construction Company for the addition to and remodeling of the church building.
From July 1997 to July 2007:
In November of 1997 the loan on the construction and remodeling was finalized at $275,000.00 at 8.5 % interest for 15 years with the Malvern National Bank. $40,000.00 had been paid down on the construction note. This new building was dedicated on November 16, 1997. A time capsule was placed behind the cornerstone.
In February of 1998 the Building Committee reported that the estimated cost of remodeling the kitchen was $18,000.00. It was voted to proceed with remodeling the kitchen as proposed in these plans. According to the April minutes of 1998 the actual cost of the kitchen remodeling was $16,084.00.
In May of 1998 Brother Jack Butler offered his resignation as church treasurer. Motion was made and passed to accept his resignation and recognize him as Treasurer Emeritus for his fifty years of service to the church in that office. In the next Business Meeting Brother Lloyd Thornton was elected as treasurer and Brother Monroe Wheat as his assistant.
Brother Scott Bates offered his resignation as Associate Pastor/ Youth Director in July of 1998 to accept the pastorate of the First Landmark Baptist Church of Springdale, Arkansas. His last Sunday was July 26, 1998. He was ordained to the Gospel Ministry by Emmanuel Church on July 25th at 6:00pm.
On December 13, 1998 Brother Brian Sheridan was called to serve as Youth Director/Associate Pastor.
In October of 1999 Emmanuel Baptist Church endorsed a letter to the Alcohol Beverage Commission stating they were opposed to any liquor license being granted to any establishment in Hot Spring County. Brother Grimes was the spokesman for an organization known as the People’s Efforts Opposing Proposed Liquor Establishment (P.E.O.P.L.E.). The church initially gave $100.00 for expenses of this organization; and, later put $3,000.00 into a special account to cover attorney’s fees for the hearing before the Alcohol Beverage Commission. Contributions that came in for this fund were to be refunded to the church.
In November of 1999 the church gave permission to Brother Grimes to teach at the Missionary Baptist Seminary if the opportunity arises.
February of 2000 the church awarded a contract to the Allen Ford Construction Company to replace roofs on all church owned properties for the sum of $13,965.00.
Brother Brian Sheridan offered his resignation as Youth Director/ Associate Pastor in November of 2000 in order to accept the pastorate of the Green Valley Missionary Baptist Church in Mountain Home, Arkansas. He was ordained on November 19, 2000.
In April of 2000 new lighting was installed in the sanctuary at a cost of $4,700.00. New carpet and tile was installed in the North Educational wing at a cost of $9,000.00. Six units of a wireless Listening/Hearing system were also installed in the sanctuary the following month.
On May 20, 2001, Brother Larry Krisell was called to serve as Youth Director/Associate Pastor. He was previously a member of Fairplay Missionary Baptist Church.
In July of 2001 the church voted to buy a 15 passenger van at a cost of $19,000.00 and a new church organ at a cost of $34,980.00. The purchase of a new organ had been in the works for several years. An organ fund had been established and money saved for the purchase. The amount saved was not sufficient at time of purchase, but an anonymous church member agreed to loan the rest of the cost at no interest to the church. It was reported in September that the new organ and speakers were paid in full. The name of the fund was changed to Baby Grand Piano Fund and monies were then received to plan for the purchase of a new piano for the sanctuary.
On August 12, 2001, Brother Jerry Grimes offered his resignation as pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church. On August 26th a special service and fellowship dinner was held and a love offering was received to honor Brother Grimes for his years of service to Emmanuel Church.
In October of 2001 Emmanuel Baptist Church was the recipient of $16,000.00 from the estate of Elsie Glaze. It was voted to put this entire amount on the principal of the loan at Malvern National Bank.
Brother John Owen was called as interim pastor on October 10, 2001, until a permanent pastor could be called. On April 21, 2002 Brother Owen was called as permanent pastor. He accepted the church on April 28th and baptized Howard and Susan Rogers into the fellowship of the church at the end of the service.
A new Dodge 15-passenger van was purchased from Midway Ford on April 17, 2002, at a cost of $25,000.00 to replace the used one purchased a few months before from the same dealership.
In May of 2002 the church agreed to sell the house at 1015 Jefferson Street for the sum of $26,000.00. After closing costs and realtor fees the church received a total of $23,353.60.
In November of 2003 a bid of $8,500.00 was accepted for removing the houses at 1404 and 1408 Jefferson. The church received the bid immediately and would also be responsible for cleaning up the property after the houses were removed
In March of 2004 the church agreed to give Brother Mark Thornton $1,500.00 for his summer trip to Israel for one month to study Hebrew at the Hebrew University in Tel Aviv. He would give a report to the church on his trip in the Fall.
In September of 2004 the Sanctuary Bible Class was begun and taught by the Pastor. It was initiated with church members who had not been attending Sunday School previously. In May of 2006 the radio broadcast time over KBOK was changed to 10:00-10:30am for this Bible Class and from 11:00-11:45am for the Worship Service. This change was well received by the shut-in members of the church.
Pictures for a new church directory were made in December of 2004.
In July of 2005 a remodeling project was approved for the Second Floor Educational wing at an approximate cost of $28, 450.00. Brother Waymon Turner was the contractor for the job.
In August of 2005, after a visit to the Faith Mission in Locust Grove, Georgia, a motion was passed for Emmanuel Baptist Church to become the sponsoring church of this mission. Russellville Missionary Baptist Church no longer was able to sponsor this work and they had asked Emmanuel to consider becoming the sponsor.
Emmanuel Church immediately began looking for a new missionary to take this mission work. By becoming the sponsoring church Emmanuel assumed a debt on the property of $225,000.00. After searching for several months it was agreed between Emmanuel Church and the Faith Mission that Brother David DePrano would continue as missionary with them paying his salary and Emmanuel would continue to her responsibility for the loan until such time as the mission could take it over. A graduated plan of payment between the church and mission was accepted in October of 2006. Emmanuel Baptist Church has had members to visit with this mission work at least once every six months since accepting the sponsorship.
In February of 2005 Brother Bryan Thomas resigned as Music Director. A search committee was formed and in September Brother John Payne accepted the call of Emmanuel to become the new music director.
In February of 2006 the church decided to begin the process of selecting and ordaining at least two men to serve as deacons. On May 7th the following three men were ordained in a special service: Ron Holt, Bill Kizer, and Wendell Allen.
In July of 2006 Brother Larry Krisell resigned as Associate Pastor/Youth Director to accept the Pastorate of the Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church of Jerusalem, Arkansas. He was ordained by Emmanuel Church August 5, 2006. Brother Payne served as an interim youth director until Brother Eli Maynard was called as Youth Director in January of 2007.
At the end of the 2005-2006 church year the financial review showed that almost $60,000.00 had been given to missions for the year. This was just over 22% of the income for the year.
In February of 2007 the church decided to sell the house at 1315 Jefferson since most men who will serve as pastor, youth director, or music director have their own houses. It was sold “as is” with the church receiving $47,918.30 after closing costs and realtor fees.
Parking lot resurfacing was approved in June at a cost of $10,396.68.
Hundreds of people in the Malvern area have come to know Jesus Christ as personal Savior as a result of the ministry of Emmanuel Church. From the earliest beginnings a radio ministry has been maintained to proclaim the Word of God to many who would never come to a public assembly. Missions, near and far, has been a major emphasis in the labors of this church. Emmanuel has initiated works on her own and also helped financially to support mission works of sister churches.
A church is more than a building, more than a history, it is primarily her people. We give thanks to God for those who have gone before and were faithful to proclaim God’s Word in its simplicity to reach the lost and to strengthen the saved. It is our desire that this summary of Emmanuel’s history, incomplete and errant as it is, will be a blessing to everyone who reads it.
May this be our prayer, “May all who come behind us find us faithful!”