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       Church History

     On the 29th day of March 1916, eight honorable soldiers of the U.S., who were residing at the Mountain Home for disabled veterans, had a desire for a place to worship. This desire led them to step out on faith and purchase a building from the trustees of W. Market Street Methodist Episcopal Church. The property was located at 129 Elmo Street. The street name was later changed to Garden Drive. They obligated themselves to pay the full purchase price of $400. They named the church "The Old Soldiers Baptist Church". Reverend L.F. Anderson was chosen as the pastor. The name was later changed to Friendship 2nd Baptist Church. There is no record stating when the name was changed to Friendship Baptist.
     In January 1931, Reverend J.E. Chambers was called to pastor the church. Under his leadership the structure was remodeled, bricked and the cornerstone was laid. Between Rev. Chambers and Rev. Mack, who was called as pastor in 1947, several ministers cared for the flock. They were Rev. C.C. Fuller; Rev. McKinney; Rev. Wagner, and Rev. S. L. Hall. Each pastor contributed unselfishly to the growth of the church. Rev. Mack was pastor for 6 years, after which in 1953, Rev E.W. Norris began his ministry which continued until his death in 1967. Rev. Norris gave untiringly of himself during his pastorate. Among his accomplishments were the initiating of the project to construct a baptismal pool and renovations to the church structure.
     Reverend W.H. Rhyans of Chattanooga, TN was called as pastor. Under his leadership the church membership increased and the bus ministry was begun. He also lead us in the renovation of our sanctuary. In 1968 he was called as pastor of Union Hill Baptist Church. From 1971 to 1973 Rev. Jessie E. Walker pastored our church. He was a very learned man and is remembered for his teaching. Between the pastorates of Rev. Walker and Rev. Lewis, the parsonage was purchased. Rev. W.H. Lewis from Alcoa, TN was the first to occupy it. He assumed the pastorate on August 4, 1974 and remained until 1976. During his pastorate, the first church organ was purchased and the Mass Choir was organized.  Three young men of our church were called to the ministry. Rev. William M. Holloway, Rev. Perry Irby, and the late Rev. H.R. Fain.
     After Rev. Lewis left, the church was without a pastor until March 1977, when a call was extended to  Dr. C.H. Charlton of Radford, VA and he became, and is currently our pastor. Under his pastorate many accomplishments have been made. In July 1978, we celebrated our last homecoming at 129 Garden Drive. Dr. Charlton has guided us both spiritually and physically for 38 years. He has placed special emphasis on Baptist doctrine and education as a means of advancement. Realizing our need for leadership abilities the annual Excellence in Education program was initiated. During his pastorate we have also burned the mortgage on our church and the cornerstone was laid. Four young men have been called to the ministry under Dr. Charlton's pastorate- Rev. Steve Jones who is former pastor of Ebenezer Baptist in Kingsport; Rev. John Goah of Thankful Baptist in JC; Rev. Lester Lattany who is pastor at Mount Zion Church in Kingsport and Rev. Lynn Bachman who has a prison ministry in JC.
      In the previous years we have remodeled our sound room, added a lounge with an archive for the preservation of the church history, added a Computer Lab with basic and advanced computer classes and started a Singles Ministry. We also designed a new youth lounge and began a vibrant health ministry entitled, "Search Your Heart" and created our Expressions of Praise creative dance group. For the first step in our vision for a Spiritual Enrichment Center, we completed our new parking.
     This year our theme is "I Can Do All Things Through Christ That Strentheneth Me"  and we continue to be blessed in our Church. We have added a new Evangelistic thrust ministry called "G.R.O.W." Our Worship services have been enhanced by the addition of our Multimedia System and upgrades to our audio system.   We give our Lord all the honor, praise, and glory, for He has certainly "already done more than enough" and we thank Him in advance for the blessings of the future.