The vision of Central Baptist Church was given to Mrs. Lovey McAfee Nesbit. A Christian woman full of faith in God, she saw the need for a Sunday School and organized one in the local school house, with a Methodist preacher as superintendent, and two Baptist teachers. Pinckneyville was the name of the community where the Sunday School was started. The Sunday School grew and the interest spread like wildfire as the Sunday School was non-denominational.
A Baptist Church was organized on the 4th Sunday in October, 1904, in an old blacksmith shop by the late Rev. W. L. Jones, DD of Atlanta. The following was the official family: Rev. A. W. Williams, Pastor, Deacons; Tom Waits, M. C. Jones, T. H. Jones, Henry Wheeler and William Carroll. R. H. Williams was church clerk, Tom Waits Treasurer and 25 members. These officials and church family, full of faith in God to bless and lead their efforts, set about the task of building this church. By the grace of God, Central has stood like a solid rock.
On the 4th Sunday, in June, 1905, their first victory was won. The first Pastor and builder of the church, led his flock into the new church to hear a dedication by the organizer, Rev. W. L. Jones, who used for his theme; "Rise, Shine, give God the glory". Isaiah 60:1. The mighty T. Gholston was called and kept the fire of inspiration and hope high in the hearts of the members. After a period of years, Rev. Gholston was called to pastor the Thankful Baptist Church, Decatur. Rev. Gholston was followed by Rev. T. H. Fannings. Others were called in the following order: G. L. Allen, E. A. Hargrove, R. L. McKibben, T. W. Smith, R. H. Milner, E. A. Freeman, Rev. Franklin and H. J. Jackson. Rev Jackson was pastor when the church was destroyed by fire on January 1, 1943. All was a complete loss as there was no insurance. God willed it so that many of the members were tired and found wanting, as was the pastor, who resigned rather than take on the task of rebuilding another church with so few members.
The pastorate was offered to Rev. H. H. Battle, who had just graduated from Morehouse College. Full of faith and trust in God, he accepted the call and told the loyal few, "With God's help, we can and we will build a bigger and better church." The edifice in which we worship today is the result. On the second Sunday in October, 1943, we moved into this building. The dedication sermon was preached by Rev. M. L. King, Sr. of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. After three or
more years, Rev. Battle resigned to accept the presidency of a college in South Carolina. Following Rev. Battle in the order named: Rev. H. H. Bussey, O. A. Smith, W. D. Hamm, J. E. Jones (who accepted a call to Fair Hill Baptist Church in Atlanta) and Rev. J. E. Learry. Rev. Learry resigned to accept a four year scholarship in Newton, Mass.
The next call went to Rev. J. M. Smith. A "young Joshua," he had a bright future before him. Rev. F. D. Taylor followed Rev. Smith. Rev. Taylor was followed by Rev. G. W. Stephens. Rev. Stephens preached his acceptance sermon on January 1, 1974. During his tenure, an atmosphere of love and fellowship prevailed in the church. After almost 17 years of faithful service, Rev. Stephens tendered his resignation in September, 1990. As a result of his leadership, many members were added to the church body. In the course time, we have had 20 pastors. The last pioneer member of Central, Mother Ida Corthan, passed in December, 1963.
The Lord has wonderfully blessed us. Our prayer is that God will continue to bless and keep us in Love and Harmony. However, it is up to us---each of us---to have faith in God that our prayers will be heard. In the years ahead, let us continue to grow, in Grace and in favor with God and man. We have a past to remember and a future to mold. We are grateful for the privilege and opportunity for service that has allowed for our pass accomplishments. Meanwhile, we confidently look forward to the future, guided by the Holy Spirit.
THE HOPE OF 105 YEARS As time has marched through these walls for the past 105 years, my heart tells me that He has taken with Him some that have had a great Hope. For it takes Hope to start and Hope is required to complete, but it takes faith in God to overcome and triumph. Therefore, we look forward to The hope of things to come: The hope of a better one: The hope of God's goodness yet unseen: The hope of brotherly love between: The hope of even a greater call: The hope of Christ for one and for all.