We are part of the Southern Baptist Convention.
A Brief History
Centerview Baptist Church began on a Sunday afternoon in 1930. Members of the Centerview Community were invited to a meeting at the home of Rev. C.J. Jenkins on Park Street. Rev. Jenkins, along with Mr. W. N. Brinkley, met with the community at 3:00 p.m. on the afternoon of June 15, 1930. When the meeting was adjourned, the Sunday School had been organized with 36 members.
Initial services were held in the Centerview School House. The building was rented from the Cannon Mills Company at a rent of $10.00 per month during the summer and $20.00 per month during the winter. Sunday School attendance continued to grow and by the end of the year 140 members were enrolled and 125 were attending regularly.
Three months after the Sunday School began, Centerview Baptist Church was officially organized on September 7, 1930. The 22 charter members would be joined by another 27 new members the following Sunday. Rev. Jenkins and Mr. Brinkley, with the help of Mr. J.V. Corn were responsible for the inception of the church. Rev. Jenkins was called to serve as the first pastor and his tenure began on September 10, 1930. Mrs. Helen Sechler is the last known surviving charter member of the church.
In November 1930, the church purchased a lot with a five-room house for $1500. The Tabernacle was built on this lot with seating capacity for 300 people. The one room frame building cost $500 to build. The Rev. S.T. Morris became the young church's second pastor, serving from 1931-35. During his ministry the Sunday School enrollment more than doubled.
The church continued to grow under the leadership of Rev. Joel Tyson. By 1937, the church had added an educational building, an eight-room parsonage and an auditorium. Ten years later, in April of 1947, while Rev. R. W. Bailes was pastor, a frame house on Front Street was purchased to serve as a Fellowship Hall. The church bought the house for $4,750 and then completed renovations to effectively use the home for fellowship.
Rev. Ralph Cannon was the church's next pastor in the early 1950's. His compassion and evangelistic heart helped Centerview continue to grow and reach people for Christ. In 1955, under the leadership of Rev. R. C. Lanier, the church decided to build an addition to the educational building. Architects from the State Board provided blueprints that the church approved. The cost of the addition was approximately $60,000.
During December 1962, while Rev. E.W. Pate was pastor, the church voted to accept the recommendation of the Building Committee to rebuild the sanctuary and place educational facilities under it. The seating capacity of the sanctuary, which is still used today, was increased to 700. The project took 11 months and $183,000 to complete. The cost included $20,000 for new furnishings.
During the ministry of Rev. Larry McClure, the portion of Walter Street that fronted the church was rerouted, in order for the church to add a front lawn. This necessitated the purchase of the Clayton property and tearing down the Fellowship Hall to create additional parking space. Cannon Mills gave the church one house and a lot. The house was renovated for a Fellowship Hall, while the lot was used as part of the street exchange, and the parking lot was paved. The years 1970 and 1971 saw dramatic changes to the housing accommodations for the pastor. The church bought the Shaver property on Jackson Street that consisted of a house and a garage apartment. The house served as the new parsonage and was purchased for $45,000. Rev. Jerry Gamble was the first pastor to live in the new parsonage. A fire later destroyed the interior of the garage apartment, and a complete renovation was done at a cost of $11,000. In 1971, the house beside the church that had served as the parsonage for almost 35 years was moved and the lot was graded and paved to provide much needed parking space.
During the late 70's to the mid 1980's, Centerview grew for the first time to over 1,000 members during the ministry of Rev. Clyde Hawkins. The church sponsored the very popular Crusades for Christ at the A.L. Brown High School Stadium. Rev. Hawkins led the evangelical crusades along with nationally known guest speakers and performers. Centerview's "own" gospel quartet, The New Souls, also faithfully ministered through music during this time. In 1980, Centerview celebrated her Golden Jubilee. The event was observed with a weeklong revival, dedication of the handicap ramp and a large article in The Daily Independent newspaper. The handicap ramp was dedicated to the memory of Joy Louise Hawkins, who blessed Centerview during her 4 1/2 years of life. Joy was the daughter of Rev. and Mrs. Hawkins.
Under the leadership of Rev. Jerry Collins, beginning in July 1988, the church constitution and by-laws were drafted along with the committee format of church organizations. The church rolls were updated as well. A large focus of Rev. Collins' ministry was to implement programs and activities that were of interest to young people. He encouraged participation from the younger members of the congregation by inviting them to his home for prayer and fellowship following Sunday evening services. Special Christmas morning and New Year's Eve services were also an important part of the church during this time.
With a new millennium approaching, Rev. Willie Rash came to Centerview as pastor in March 1996. During his nearly ten years as pastor, Centerview provided an abundance of new programming, property improvements, mission opportunities and community ministries. In addition to the church being incorporated, property improvements included repaving of the parking lots, remodeling the nursery, adding vinyl around the entire church, renovating restrooms, and installing a new sound and video projection system for the sanctuary. Both domestic and international mission trips were an important part of the church, with mission teams traveling to places such as Indianapolis, Boone, Grifton, NC, Ohio, Mississippi, Mexico and Brazil. A Mission Trip Fund was established to help offset costs, so any church member could go on a mission trip. In September 2004, Regina Duncan was commissioned as an International Mission Board missionary to South Africa. Before leaving, Regina coordinated with the ladies of the WMU to paint a mural of various Bible scenes around the interior of the Fellowship Hall. Centerview continued to seek to reach people for Christ through prayer and community ministries, such as the AWANA program for children, Partners in Prayer, the Ark Ministry, a worship service designed for people with disabilities and special needs, and the annual Crossover Kannapolis service. Each February, Centerview in partnership with our neighboring church, Marable AME Zion, sponsored a pulpit exchange and choirfest, seeking to crossover denominational, racial, and cultural lines to seek unity in the whole body of Christ (Psalm 133:1). September 7, 2005 Centerview turned 75 years young, yet still seeking to always learn, always grow, and always move forward. She has been blessed with twelve faithful and dedicated pastors through the years, along with thousands of committed church members. God has given her a strong foundation and a stronger spirit. She honors her legacy today. May Centerview continue to look to our Lord Jesus Christ in the future to join Him in His work.