Sunday, March 13, 2011

Crestview Baptist Reach a Crest Then Fizzled

I grew up in the Crestview 2nd Baptist Church in Marietta. Well, maybe “grew up” is not the correct term. It was there and I was here. I went every once in a while, more often not.

I have very little memories of the church activities I participated in. In fact, only one: I remember being in a group of kids in front of the congregation singing and my daddy craning his head high up above the people around him smiling and making funny faces to get me tickled.

Another activity funny incidence I remember hearing about: One of my aunts renewed her attendance at Crestview and started going to the services, including prayer sessions, Bible Study, and all that. She finally talked her husband into going with her. At the end of whatever they were attending they bowed their heads and someone was verbally giving the Lord thanks and a list of demands from the Lord when my uncle, not quiet cognizant of church formalities enough to realize everyone had their heads bowed with their eyes closed, he took upon himself to help out and start picking up folding chairs, folding them and stacking them.

My aunt left there steaming and I don’t think she returned unless it was to a funeral.

I have just finished reading the history of Crestview Baptist Church in the book The Riches of God’s Graces, A 100 Year History of Crestview Baptist Church 1907-2007 written by John L. Clayton, my early childhood friend and ex-neighbor.

John more or less transcribed the church’s minutes through the years, throwing in his comments from time to time.

It is a good book to see the pulse of the times and the mindset of the members years ago. For instance in 1922 the church authorized L.W. Thacker to write a letter of thanks to the Ku Klux Klan for their donation of $30.00 to the church. At the time the times were hard and Crestview was having hard time meeting expenses.

Several times in those early years different members were brought up in front of the church’s elite to be scolded or kicked out for dancing and/or public drunkenness. The church just did not tolerated such behavior back then.

Several times the church members reported to their battle stations to put down the alcohol sales in Cobb vote. Them and other churches kept this a dry county many years.

The energy and survival of Crestview through the years is because of a few dedicated fiancé board members and deacons that were always working behind the scenes making loans for the church and all. They knew how to get money for projects and the church kept getting bigger and bigger.

I ways thought the leader of Crestview was the preacher but according to the minutes the preacher was just an employee; a spokes person, who was hired and could be fired.

I remember the preacher who Baptized me. All these years I thought his last name was Vice. I was wrong, his name was Buice. Buice is a family name on Anna’s mother’s mother side of the family.

Of course, that was before I met Anna and got into genealogy, so the Buice would have done me no good.

In the book, the Crestview minutes recorded that Hicks’ Grocery store offer to donate part of their land to the church. Hicks’ Grocery was next door. You would think they would jump at the offer to expand. They declined. They said there was a problem with the deed title and they had no idea what they could use the land little lot for. That is a good example of how frugal and how methodical they were.

In the book the attendance and membership was recorded. I think membership and attendance reached it peak in the 1980s, or there abouts. I don’t have the book in my possession now to refer to.

If Crestveiw Baptist Church was doing bad with their membership I’m sure other churches in Marietta were suffering the same “lack of interest” of organized religion. It might have been for that reason Crestview Baptist Rose Lane Baptist united into one church, which they named Grace Point.

Another thing: Some of the elite active members of Crestview left there and joined the First Baptist of Marietta. I’m sure they had their reasons.

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Anonymous S. Hudson said...

Eddie, your post has some good info. I was a member at Crestview during the years when Howard Gordon was pastor. I and several of my peers transferred to Roswell Street Baptist in the mid 60's, mainly because of the youth programs there.
Is John L. Clayton the J.L. Clayton , that is Clifford and Joby's brother? I don't remember a John.
I would like to read the book.

6:36 AM  
Blogger Eddie said...

You are right, John L. is J.L., older brother to the late Carol Joe Clayton. J.L. now prefers John.

I called him a few weeks ago about the death of Helen Steele and told him I would like to have the Crestview book and he got me one.

6:46 AM  

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