The vision of a "mega church" for the Canaan Community began of course in a few years before 1864. The thoughts, prayers, sacrifices and out pouring labor of brick masons was soon to begin. Here....at what was 34 Canaan Circle.....re-registered to 314 Canaan Circle Greensboro, Georgia still stands as a beacon of Greene County.
It is simply amazing how God's plans always stay available for HIS people. "Amazing" still happens here...under the gopher wood beams that are tucked away above the styrofoam panels of a lowered ceiling.....a huge baptismal pool waits beneath this choir loft for those who give their lives to The Lord........and the Springfield bell that tolls for Sunday School, marriages, celebrations of life and to honor those that have made a significant impact on the lives of many still hangs in the North Tower and is the awakening sound of the Canaan Community.
We were born from the First Baptist Church of Greensboro, Georgia. Our deacons were trained through the Baptist order and therefore we continued to hold weekly Sunday School and Bible Study as well as maintaining our presence in Sunday School and Baptist Conventions. Our original Communion Sunday was always held on the 3rd Sunday but was voted through Conference to be moved to 2nd Sunday. The Voices of Springfield choir members have attended professional workshops and therefore are a contemporary group that sing from the Baptist hymnal as well as forms of well known gospel artists.
Historic Springfield has had a strong leadership of Pastors and are blessed to have photographic memories of each and everyone of them. We have held to the number of 7 Deacons from the year of 1864. Our pulpit embraces our current Pastor Willie R. Peete and his lovely wife First Lady Tami Peete. Under his leadership we have gained an Associate Pastor, Terrance Stembridge as well as our Youth Minister, Peter White, Jr.
If only our walls could talk we would hear more of the legacy of our beloved Historic Springfield.
We shall look forward to sharing more of the 155 years as we invite you to come back and join us for service on any given Sunday, as our doors shall open for one and all. The vision that we share now extends just around the curve and up the hill to a piece of glory for our new sanctuary to be built. We will continue to embrace our history and move forward in Kingdom Building. Thank you for stopping by our place of worship. It has been our absolute pleasure to have you with us today.
Springfield Baptist Church, similar to other black churches in the period following the Civil War, split off from a white Church, the First Baptist Church of Greensboro.
The first book of conference minutes from the First Baptist Church of Greensboro (1821—1834) includes membership lists for white females, white males, “colored” (sic) females, and “colored (sic) males.” For many years the black membership exceeded the white membership. For example, in 1845 there were 38 white members compared to 56 black members. According to the church history, there was a mass dismissal of black members following the Civil War. With a $200 donation from the white church, many of the former black members founded Springfield Baptist Church in 1864. According to a booklet, “History of Springfield Baptist Church: 1864—1984,” Springfield Baptist Church began with the purchase of a 1.25—acre tract of land from Mrs. Nancy Bickers on January 27, 1864, by church organizers, Misters Henry Porter, Frank Massey, Umply Stocks, and Jack Terrell.
Following the land purchase, a second purchase was made to acquire the old Georgia Railroad depot building. The former train station was converted into the first house of worship. In the early years of the church’s history, services were held once a month on the third Sunday. The church was located in the “Canaan” section, one of two black neighborhoods that have developed in Greensboro. The other area is known as “Railroad.” The first pastor at Springfield Baptist Church was Reverend Levi Thornton of Penfield, Georgia, who guided the church to an early enrollment of 500 members.
In the early 1900’s the wooden structure was replaced with the present brick church building; according to local sources, this building was constructed using the bricks from the old white Methodist Church which was demolished about 1907. The new structure was constructed under the leadership of Reverend L. P. Pickney, who served until his death in 1924. In that same year, the church split with the creation of Mt. Enon Baptist Church. From 1924 to 1947, Reverend W. M. Jackson from Madison, Georgia, served as the pastor for Springfield. He was also pastor for several other black Baptist churches in Greene County; these included Siloam Baptist Church in Union Point, Spring Creek Baptist Church in Greshamville, and Second Baptist Church in White Plains. Reverend L. H. Stinson was the minister from 1947 to 1977. Improvements during his administration included the construction of the first annex and renovation of the sanctuary.
Reverend William E. Flippin, Sr. was called to pastor following this period. The congregation had approximately 250 members and services were held weekly. Distinguished guests who have delivered messages in the sanctuary include Julian Bond, Horace Tait, Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr., Professor C. Harper, C. D. Hubert (President of Morehouse College), and Dr. Samuel Archer. Other pastors serving at Historic Springfield include Rev. S. L. Williams and Rev. James C. Tazel. Rev. Tazel served through 2012.
In April of 2013, the Rev. Willie R. Peete accompanied by First Lady Tami Peete was called as the 13th pastor of Historic Springfield Baptist. In their initial 9 months of service, the membership increased by 26 members. During the first half of 2014 the membership increased by an additional 13 members. In addition to experiencing physical growth, Historic Springfield members whole heartedly embraced the vision of expanding its campus’ footprint by purchasing additional land on Martin Luther King drive. This site will be used to erect a new edifice in the near future. God has truly blessed Historic Springfield Baptist Church to remain in existence for 154 years with the vision of “Reaching the world for Christ”.
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