A Place Of Worship
A CONCISE HISTORY
Southside Baptist Church began in 1967, with its first meeting held at the Folwell School on Jacksonville Road in Mt. Holly, on a Sunday in January of that same year. At that time the church was an outreach mission of the Delaware Valley Baptist Church in Willingboro and, although it was still technically only a mission, it was named the Mount Holly Baptist Church.
Rev. Barry Neville was called as pastor in August of 1967, and for the next 3 years the mission met on Sunday mornings at the Folwell School and the Seventh Day Adventist facility. Sunday and Wednesday evening services, and business meetings were held in the pastor’s home.
Finally, in November of 1968, the mission purchased over 5 acres of land on Eayerstown Road, containing an 18th century farmhouse, at a cost of $22,500.
In March of 1969, the mission decided to change its name to Southside Baptist Church. The following year, Rev. Barry Neville resigned and Rev. Dave Lewis was selected to serve as interim pastor. However, Rev. Lewis soon departed for school in the south, and was replaced by Rev. S.A. Candal as the second interim pastor. It was under Rev. Candal’s leadership that the house was renovated and made adaptable for worship services.
The church then called Rev. D.B. Martin to serve as pastor. In the Winter of 1974, Rev. D. B. Martin resigned to accept another pastorate and in the Fall of 1974, Rev. Fernando Downs, Jr. was called as pastor.
Reverend Downs began his ministry in September of 1974. Under his leadership, the church was constituted on January 11, 1976 and in March of that same year, it was incorporated as The Southside Baptist Church of Lumberton, INC. Making the church official wasn’t enough for Rev. Downs. Inspired by a vision and an inordinate amount of energy, he has led Southside in continued growth and expansion (both spiritually and physically), including a series of building projects beginning in 1978. Two of these projects – the sanctuary and education wing – were completed and dedicated in 1979 and 1996, respectively.
After 30 plus years with Pastor Downs, Southside continues to grow and flourish as a church family with a variety of ongoing ministries.
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