History of Rison Baptist Church
Rison Baptist Church was organized in 1886 with the following charter members: T. C. Duce, William Harper, Alice Harper, Fannie Harper, Mary Harvey, E. D. Tate, F. C. Tate, M. G. Gate, Cornelia Baggett, __ Baggett, J. L. Baggett, Alice Baggett and Louisa McMurtrey. Some of these came from Bethel and Toledo churches to help this new church and as the membership increased they returned to their respective churches.
The church was organized in the school building, which was used by the church for a few years, and was on the same site as the present church building. Then a new church building was erected on a site which is now 302 Sycamore Street.
Some of the pioneer preachers who preached for the church were Rev. J. H. W. Overton, Rev. T. J. Varnell and Rev. W. H. Cash.
In June, 1890, a Sunday school was organized with an enrollment of 50. And in July, 1890, Rev. O. M. Lucas was called as pastor for half time. The first church was dedicated October 12, 1890. The first clerk on record was I. B. Williams, Sr. The first records of this church sending messengers to an association was September, 1890, when the Friendship Association met with the 6th Avenue Baptist Church in Pine Bluff. The messengers were J. M. Vick, W. B. Sadler and I. B. Williams, Sr. Also, in October, 1890, the first deacons were ordained. They were Dr. J. S. McMurtrey, J. M. M. Tucker and W. B. Sadler.
In October, 1891, Rev. D. E. Gambrell was called as pastor. The church voted to withdraw from State Mission Board aid and just have preaching once a month. In January, 1891, the church granted a license to preach the gospel to J. M. M. Tucker. In 1894, J. L. Lee was ordained as a deacon.
In February, 1896, R.D. Wilson was called as pastor and he served one year and was succeeded by Rev. B.F. Milam in February, 1897. In February, 1899, Rev. S. P. Davis was called to serve as pastor for the remainder of the year.
In November 1899, Rev, C, M. Myrick was called as pastor. He resigned in April 1901, and Rev. E. J. A. McKinney was called to fill the unexpired term of Rev. Myrick.
November 3, 190, Rev. A. J. Cockroft was called as pastor for one-fourth time. State Board was resumed, and agreed to pay $100.00 on pastor's salary. The next year the church discontinued this aid.
Rev. W. M. Wayne was the next pastor and he was succeeded by Rev. A. F. Willis, who was called December 9, 1906 for half time. The Building Committee was urged to buy a lot and build a parsonage. Prior to this most of the pastors lived in Kingsland.
February 23, 1908, Rev. Sam Grumbles was called as pastor for one half time for the remainder of the pastoral year.
May 10, 1909, Rev. J. E. Brown of Cedartown, Georgia, was called as pastor for half time. June 6, 1909, J. F. Swanson was received as a deacon.
April 7, 1911, Rev. E. A. Dulaney was called as pastor and was succeeded by Rev. C. P. McGraw, who was pastor in 1914 when plans for a new church building was carried out. The building committee was J. W. Elrod, Dr. J. S. McMurtrey, W. J. May, Dr. A. J. Hamilton, B. G. Mosley, J. N. Swanson, Mrs. P. N. Smithy, Mrs. W. T. Ferguson and Miss Alice Searcy.
April 5, 1915, a committee was appointed to dispose of the old school building on the lots recently found for a new church. The school building sold for $55.00 and the church building and site for $335.00. A committee was appointed to superintend the erection of the church building, as follows: Dr. A. J. Hamilton, Dr. J. S. McMurtrey, O. F. Reed, Van McKinney and J. W. Elrod. May 1, 1918, Dr. A. J. Hamilton, Chairman of the finance committee, reported the church building debt paid. During 1918, J. W. Elrod, Boyd Baker, and O. F. Reed were ordained deacons, and Dr. A. J. Hamilton accepted as a deacon.
March 12, 1919, Rev. W. K. Wharton was called as pastor for first, third, and fourth Sundays. September 3, 1919, it was decided to unite with Harmony Association.
Rev. A. N. Stanfield was pastor from November, 1918 to 1925. It was decided to sell the parsonage and build one on the church lot. Van McKinney was ordained a deacon the first Sunday in February, 1920. June 9, 1920, the church granted Boyd Baker license to preach the gospel. October 6, 1920, the church adopted the budget system. The church was first wired for electricity in April, 1921. J. G. Mosley was elected a deacon July 6, 1921 and B. G. Mosley on September 7, 1921. J. H. Owen was accepted as a deacon in 1922, and the first baptistery installed in 1922. D. J. Tate was ordained a deacon October 19. 1924, and Boyd Baker was ordained to preach the gospel November 10, 1924.
Rev. H. W. Jean was pastor from June, 1926to June, 1932. While he was pastor a tabernacle was erected and the church membership greatly increased during revivals held by Rev. Arden P. Blaylock. January 1, 1930, the following were elected deacons: E. R. Maddox, Leon Moore, C. L. Garner, Searcy Elrod, B. W. Thomason and Harry Thomason. Ben H. Lincoln was ordained as deacon in 1932.
Rev. W. F. Warren was pastor from September 1, 1932, to September 1, 1935. The Sunday school was divided into departments and the six point record system was adopted. E. R. Maddox was Sunday School Superintendent, and the Sunday school reached the standard for years.
Rev. Theo T. James was pastor from October 1, 1935, to February 19, 1938. O. N. Eubank was ordained a deacon in 1935. J. D. Baker was ordained to preach the gospel January 27, 1936. An appropriate scene was painted for the baptistery. January 5, 1938, the church favored putting an associational Missionary in the field and the church to pay $10 per month on his salary. Miss Mamie Atkins was elected the first financial secretary on February 2, 1938.
Rev. Aubrey Halsell was pastor from July 1, 1938 to 1940. H. R. Garner, M.W. Wilson and Havis Gray were ordained deacons, and Hugh Owens was granted a license to preach the gospel.
Rev. Joe B. Sullivan was pastor from March 13, 1940 to November, 1942. John R. Cash was recognized as deacon in 1940. In 1941 an every member canvass was made.
Rev. H. A. Turner was pastor from January, 1943 to October 1, 1945. In 1943, there were 32 boys from the church in military service. An offering was taken in 1943 to pay on Arkansas' moral debt. Rev. Turner initiated and assisted in accumulating the building fund for the present church building.
Rev. T. T. Newton was pastor from May 6, 1946 to June 10, 1951. A Hammond organ was installed June, 1947. The church granted Ben Moody Elrod license to preach the gospel October 31, 1948, and ordained him June 10, 1951.
A building and finance committee was appointed to formulate plans for a new church building which was completed in early 1950, the building we still reside in to this day.
Rev. Newton administered the ordinance of baptism to John McDole of Caracas, Venezuela, who was the first to be baptized in the new baptistery. He was here visiting John Carl Owens. Calvin Fore, Herbert Glover and Robert Searcy were ordained deacons in 1948. Soon after he assumed his pastorate with us the tower music system was installed.
Rev. N. E. Lerch was pastor from August 18, 1951 to 1952. He taught the Baptist doctrine to new members before they were baptized. He instituted one year trial system for deacons.
Rev. J. P. Stockman was pastor from April 26, 1953 to December 1, 1955. While he was pastor the Rone home was bought for use as a parsonage.
Rev. W.S. M. Stallings was pastor from June 6, 1956 to January 23, 1957.
Rev. Harold Elmore was pastor from September 15, 1957 to January 27, 1960. He explained the Forward Finance Plan and the church accepted it. W.S. J. Flynn, John Elrod, Herman Word and Ray Martin were elected deacons to serve a year under the plan instituted by Rev. Lerch.
Rev. J. P. Beach preached his first sermon as pastor on April 17, 1960. He retired in June, 1968.
On September 1, 1968, Rev. J. T. Harvill was called as pastor. He served until his retirement in 1990.
In 1969 a new parsonage on Elrod Drive was dedicated. The old parsonage next to the church building became the activity building. New pews and carpeting were placed in the auditorium the same year.
Voy Cash was recognized as a deacon in 1976. Hershel S. Garner and Tom Butcher were recognized as deacons in 1978. The same year, Don Miller, C. B. Allison, Jack Haynes, Jack Winston and Roy Tolson were elected deacons.
In January, 1981, a Lay Renewal - Reach out Weekend was held with lay people coming from Louisiana to lead and witness to the church with emphasis on renewal and rededication. Following this the Sunday school enrollment reached over 300 and Church Training over 130.
In 1982, a MEW (Ministry Evangelism Weekend) was held led by Rev. Calvin Cantrell, Associate Evangelism Director of Louisiana Baptist Convention and lay people to help the church realize personal areas of ministries and spiritual gifts.
On September 5, 1982, a commissioning service was held for Mr. and Mrs. Glen Sutton and children who were called as foreign missionaries to serve in Upper Volta which later became Burkina Faso.
Vernon Dollar, Gary Goolsby and Lee Moore were elected deacons in 1982.
During 1984, Ray Martin was honored for 27 years of service as Sunday School Superintendent. Roth Rabb and Rickey Fore were ordained deacons and Preston Henderson and Cleve Reed, Jr. were accepted as deacons that year.
Carpet was installed in the educational section of the church in 1985 and 1986.
(taken from the old RBC website pages….)