History of Perry Chapel Baptist Church
On February 18, 1860, the Wakatomika Baptist Church granted letters of dismissal to twenty-five of its members, who were interested in forming a new church. At their request a council meeting was held on March 10, 1860, for the purpose of recognizing a new independent Baptist church. The Dresden, Wakatomika, Mohawk, Tiverton, and Martinsburg churches sent delegates. The sermon of the day was preached by the Rev. S. West, using Numbers 13, as a theme. With Samuel Addams as moderator, the council gave its official sanction to the new church, extending the right hand of fellowship to the following charter members: Isaac VanWinkle, Elizabeth VanWinkle, Hezekiah Howell, Sarah Ann Howell, Ohio Oxley, Hester Ann Oxley, Elizabeth Oxley, Henderson Saffel, Ann Saffel, Samuel Fry, Mary Fry, Lewis Underwood, Lucy Ann Underwood, Sarah Underwood, Francis Ann Underwood, Louis Dugan, Margaret Lewis, Stephen Underwood, Sarah Ann Underwood, Francis Mavis, Margaret Jones, I.R. Coe, Amos Lewis, Eli Underwood, and Harriet Underwood.
This was the beginning of Perry Church, which over the years became known as Perry Chapel.
The first church building was a frame structure, standing west of the public road, and near the cemetery. This building remained in use for 39 years.
In 1862, a Sunday School was organized, under the supervision of John Letts, a licensed minister, who later was ordained in Owl Creek Church, January 7, 1864, and served that church as pastor from 1864-1868.
The first evangelistic meeting was a "meeting of days", held in February 1864. This resulted in five additions to the church, one of them being E.C. Howell, who served this church faithfully as a deacon for many years.
Many items of interest are in the early records. The first evening service, "after candle-lighting", was held on May 5, 1866. In July 1876 the first offering for Missions was taken and sent to Burma. The first offering for Home Missions was received in 1882. The first organist, Iva Jan VanWinkle, was appointed in July 1891.
By 1898, the congregation had grown, and it was felt that a new church building was needed. After much planning, a new church building (now referred to as the "lower building") was begun on a plot of land given to the church by Joseph and Martha J. Oxley. The building was planned and the work supervised by Rollen Clark, who was a deacon, and the church clerk at that time. The male members gave their labor to the work of the building. In 1899 the building was completed, and dedication services were held on May 28 of that year. The dedication sermon was preached by Rev. G.E. Leonard of Granville.
There were several additions to the building over the years, particularly in the 1980s and 1990s. It was prayerfully decided that the congregation had outgrown the building once again, and in 2000 the church started planning to build a new, multi-use facility by starting a three- year spiritual stewardship campaign. On March 25, 2001, the church voted to start excavation for the new building, and March 10, 2002 they voted to hire Kircham Building Systems of Delaware, Ohio, to construct a 12,200 sq. ft. multi-use family life center. The "new building" includes a sanctuary (which converts to a gymnasium), a kitchen, bathrooms, and multiple classrooms. The first service held in the new building was on Mother's Day, Sunday, May 11, 2003, and the dedication service was held on June 1st of that year. During that same month on June 30th, Pastor David Fowls received the Rosa O. Hall Town and Country Award in Washington, D.C. on behalf of Perry Chapel.
Perry Chapel implemented an Upward Sports program in January 2004 as a community outreach ministry, and it is still one of our most important ministries today. In 2017 there were a total of 146 basketball players and nineteen cheerleaders, with nineteen children making a commitment for Christ over the season.
We are proud of our heritage. We are grateful to all those preceding us who were faithful to the ministry of our Lord at Perry Chapel. We pray that the Lord will grant us the vision, courage, and determination that we need as we face the challenge of the future. Working together in love and in the power and spirit of God, may we be found faithful to the commands of Jesus Christ, until He comes.
Rev. S. West..............................1860-1861