Warrensville Baptist Church
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
'Sharing the Good News through Caring People'
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History of Warrensville Baptist Church

 
James Eller seems to be the driving force that started the church, along with Rev. R.L. Shoaf, Jessy and Young York, Gus Wilcox, and Peter Ernest.  James Eller moved to Ashe County from Wilkes County after a band of bushwhackers stole his possessions and threatened his family when supplies became scarce near the close of the Civil War.  The Ellers, who were German descendents, were among the first settlers near Bina, first named Berlin after the Capital of Germany.  The Ellers were thought to have named Phoenix Mountain after the ship they sailed from Germany, which also was named the Phoenix.
 
The church first met across the road from what is now Phoenix Baptist Church and was shared by Methodists and Baptists until small differences and growing numbers prompted the Baptists to build their own church.  James Eller drew the plans and served as a deacon.  Mr. Peter Mason Warren, whom Warrensville is named after, gave the land.  Mr. Lindsay Shoaf gave the timber, and Jessy York did all the carpentry work.  The church was built near the present Ashe County Middle School field house.  The church, named Forest Home Baptist Church, because it was erected in a lovely grove of sugar maple, cedar, and oak trees, was dedicated on Dec. 18, 1871.  Rev. J.J.L. Sherwood is believed to have been the first pastor.
 
Forest Home first met one weekend a month, holding business meetings on Saturdays and services on Sunday, and was one of two churches named in the New River Association minutes in 1875 as having a Sunday School, called Sabbath School in its early days.  It met in the summer months and had thirty students.
 
In 1872, Forest Home was listed in the minutes as a member of the New River Association that consisted of 13 churches with 611 members.  They supported the Bristol Female College and established the Oak Hill Academy.  They also collected a sizable offering for foreign missions.  Forest Home remained a member of the New River Association until 1886 when the Baptist State Convention encouraged them to join the Ashe and Alleghany Association.  There were nine churches, four hundred seventy eight members, and four ordained ministers.
 
In 1897 the annual meeting was held at Forest Home Baptist Church.  The question came up to divide the association into Ashe Association and Alleghany Association.
 
Concerned with problems of getting to church when the river was flooded, members from the Bina area started a chruch of their own in 1908 which is presently Phoenix Baptist Church.  Forest Home was moved to its present site in 1929 and renamed Warrensville Baptist Church. 
 
In the early 1950s the church was rebuilt and was dedicated in 1957.  The church met at the Warrensville schoolhouse while the church was under construction.  The church was remodeled in 1993.  The church has steadily grown, acquiring new property and building a parsonage and a fellowship hall that consists of a kitchen, nursery, pastor's study, and Sunday School rooms.  Other improvements include the addition of a steeple, the remodeling of the church basement, construction of a new picnic shelter, a new paved parking lot, and fellowship hall expansion.
 
Rev. R.C. Ashley was the last part-time pastor.  In 1960 the church decided to go full-time.  Our full-time pastors include Rev. William Shiflett, Rev. Larry Lefler, Rev. Raymond Brown, Rev. Lynn Gardner, Rev. Lester Boyd, Rev. William Rice, Rev. Jerry Burleson, Rev. Rick Anderson, Rev. Wayne Osborne, Rev. Jeff Nave, and Rev. Rex Eldreth (interim pastor).  Our current pastor, Rev. Wade Huntsinger, started at WBC in May of 2013. 
 
Warrensville Baptist Church has come a long way with the help of the Lord since the days of Forest Home Church.  It is now a growing, loving church whose members believe it is better to walk by faith and not by sight. 
 
 
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