Past to Present
(Mortgage Burned 1988)
From the Balcony, to the Bush Arbor, to Present
During the year 1863, a group of devoted parishioners decided that they wanted to come down from the balcony of the Willow Swamp Baptist Church to begin worshiping in their own way. These founding fathers gathered secretly at a spot located west of Norway, South Carolina.
To begin, there were not enough funds to construct a framed structure; therefore the group held services under a "bush arbor". Members called their sacred place of worship Bushy Pond since a pond and bushes surrounded it. Thus, the name Bushy Pond Baptist Church originated.
Reverend Fritz Simmons led the first group of worshipers with the help of chartered members Jack Green, Mrs. Ellen Jacob, Lawrence and Rob Jacob, Andrew Johnson, Mrs. Priscilla Johnson, Mrs. Mattie Stroman, Samson Stroman and Robert Wilson. These members and others with faith in God later constructed a frame building in which to worship.
The pioneers, as years passed, were determined to move forward. In spite of small financial gains, they were able to hold on, carry on and push forward. Knowing that everything works together “for good to them that love God” was the reason for their decision to build a larger edifice. Consequently, under the leadership of Reverend W. O. Carmichael, members erected the second framed building in 1905 with Frank White as contractor. Reverend Carmichael served the congregation diligently for twelve years. He preached the first funeral there, which was that of Reverend Gilbert Kirkland.
Church goers burned the church’s mortgage in 1911 under the capable leadership of Reverend Lawrence Leech. Glancing back members could view their achievements, those sought and those won. Concerned about both their spiritual welfare and their children’s education, believers built a school near the church; they named the school Bushy Pond School.
Over the years, Bushy Pond has been blessed with steadfast pastors as: T. C. Phillips, Bailey, Turner, O. J. McPherson, A. C. Coleman, T. Brodis, Morris Wright, McKinley Bowman, Alfred Isaac, David Thompson, Norman Butler, F. H. Martin, Benjamin D. Snoddy, Andrew C. Johnson, Albert Johnson, and Eugene L. Green.
Twenty-six members heard God’s call to the ministry from Bushy Pond. They are namely, Reverend H. B. Leaper, B. J. Ancrum , R. W. Wilson, James Donaldson, James White, Henry W. Holiday, Primus Young, Jessie Jenkins, Charlie Hart, James Izlar, James Killingsworth, Jake Hart, Bert Jenkins, James Kirkland, David Wright, Sr., Harry Kearse, Nelson Nix, Obertha Barfield, James E. Holiday, Tyrone Hart, Andrew Lee, Jr., Shawn Bell, Clyde D. Holiday, Craig J. Peeples, Glenn D. Edwards, Sr., Ricky James, and Rubin W. Jackson.
Among those who have served as deacons were West Perry, Tony Baker, Joe Ancrum, Andrew Johnson, Henry Ray, Christian Rice, and Richard Valentine. Others were Charlie Tyler, Ulysses Johnson, Agrippa Hart, Fountain Anthony, Ned Edward, Gilbert Johnson, David Wright, Sr., Nathaniel Wilson, Heyward Johnson, Henry Johnson, James Jenkins, Paris Hart, West Baker, James Rowe, Willie Ray, Clarence Jenkins, Sr., Lempel B. Jones, James L. Hart, Wilson Hart, Leroy James, and James Hawkins. Those currently serving are: Bruce E. Holiday, Darryl Jenkins, Daniel L. Jenkins, Kenneth Keitt, Michael Lee, Ronnie L. Peeples, William H. Ray, Herbert M. Reed, Ernest E. Rowe, Sr., Freddie Turner, and Thomas J. Wright.
Past secretaries of Bushy Pond Baptist Church are Andrew Johnson, Leech Brown, Ulysses Johnson, Carrie P. Johnson, Henry Ray, Henry Johnson, Guido Donaldson, Nathaniel Wilson, Willie Ray, James Rowe, Bessie B. Hawkins, Gladys H. Wright, Alma L. Holiday, Beverly Holiday, Vivian H. Johnson, and Melika Jackson. Keisha Wade currently serves as church secretary.