Reverend Keith Freeman
Active Elders (The Session):
- Ginger Price
- Laurie Phillips
- Phyllis Yates
Clerk of Session: Connie Fedele
Treasurer: Gerald Staninger
Baird’s Creek Presbyterian Church, located in rural Western Watauga County, began as a chapel of First Presbyterian Church of Boone, NC. The first record we can find is in the Session Minutes of the First Presbyterian Church, dated November 12, 1939. The first pastor of FPC of Boone was John I. Rhe. At some time during 1941, Baird’s Creek Chapel became an organized church, but there is no formal record of the change. Twenty-three members were transferred on the roles from FPC Boone to Baird’s Creek Presbyterian Church. Rev. J.K. Parker, Jr., became the pastor of the Boone church in October 1944 and was stated supply at the Baird’s Creek church until 1954. Since that time, the Baird’s Creek church has had a number of supply ministers.
In 1971 Rev. Parker asked Rev. Spears Alexander to start the Presbyterian Campus Ministry at Appalachian State University and to serve as supply at Baird’s Creek. Rev. Alexander served our church from September 1971 through the summer of 1995, preaching two Sundays each month.
The sanctuary of the original Baird’s Creek Presbyterian Church, located on Baird’s Creek Road, was built in the early forties. The Sunday School classrooms were probably built in the fifties. The women of the church raised money by making numerous crafts, and the youth cut and sold pulp wood and farm products supplied by their parents. It was a united effort. Fred Yates, Sr. donated farm property for the church cemetery and Fred Yates, Jr. deeded that cemetery property to the church.
In 1986, because of limited parking and classroom space, the congregation voted to look for land nearby and in 1987, purchased land from Mr. Thomas Barry, not very far from the original church site. Francis and Talmadge McGuire, owners of a sawmill, along with other church members, cleared the land and sawed logs that were suitable for lumber to be used in the construction. Trees not suitable for lumber were cut into firewood and sold with the proceeds going to the building fund. Dexter and Fred Yates, Jr., also members of our church, used their heavy equipment to prepare the site and to dig the basement for the new building. A well was also drilled. The women, men, young adults and youth group all contributed to the building proceeds by having numerous fundraisers such as bake sales, pig pickin’s, bean suppers, etc.
In October 1993, a bell ringing-out ceremony was held to transition from the first building to the new, during which every member of the congregation, from the youngest to the oldest, got to ring the bell for one final time before it was installed in the new facility. Those instrumental in building the new structure signed their names in the new bell tower. The first service in the current church building took place on the first Sunday in January 1994, with an open-house celebration. Within 10 years the mortgage was paid off.
Elders Mack Brown, Francis McGuire, and Talmadge McGuire faithfully served continuously on the session for over 20 years. Wanting everything to be in place before his 1995 retirement, Rev. Spears Alexander was very instrumental in forming the church as it exists today by starting the Session in its present format, including the first full Session comprising Elders Mark McGuire, Rebecca Landholm, Doug McGuire, Jim McGuire, Jinx Miller, and Don Scholl.
Membership has fluctuated over the years, as it does in any church, but the commitment and consistency of the church have never wavered because new members will join and the heart of this wonderful church continues to beat. The giving spirit of this congregation and its commitment to the community at large goes well beyond the average membership number of 35. It’s amazing how much can be achieved through a caring and giving spirit that mirrors God’s purpose for our lives and that of His church.
Most of this history was written by Mrs. Bernice McGuire.