Our Story

How it all started...

Warren’s Graveyard

     Many through the years (and even some today) refer to Nazareth Baptist Church grounds as Warren’s Graveyard. The reference is due to the fact that the nearby cemetery is older than the church, and was originally a Warren Family Cemetery on land donated by Notley Warren around 1840. Notley Warren and many of his relatives were buried there from pre-Civil War dates to the present. At the time of this writing, July, 2006, Notley Warren’s lineage remains at Nazareth Baptist Church.
     Notley Warren was born October 25, 1802 in Greene County, Tennessee. In 1833 he sold the 100 acres he had inherited from his father’s plantation, and moved to DeKalb County, Alabama.   He was a farmer, a medical doctor, an Alabama State Representative five terms, and the U.S. Land Registrar at Lebanon and Centre Land Offices
Nazareth Baptist Church

     When Nazareth Baptist Church was organized in 1906, the name “Nazareth” was chosen.   Many of the families who organized the new church had moved to the area from eastern Cherokee County, Alabama. Two brothers, James A. (Jeanette Kirk and Rev. Luke Anderson’s Grandfather) and David Hall, Jim Benefield (Hoyt Benefield’s Grandfather), Waddell Family (ancestors of John L. Waddell, Hazel Owens, Doyle Kirk, Roy Kirk), Brown Family, Tumlin Family, Ashley Family, Cothran Family, Deberry Family, and the Haygood Family (ancestors of Jeanette Johnson, Ray Clements, Lahrue Stanford) were among the settlers in the area that now includes Kirk Road, DeKalb County Highway 92, DeKalb County 94, and Alabama Highway 75. While in Cherokee County, many of the group attended a prosperous and active church named Nazareth. After moving to the Rainsville area, they began meeting in the old Halls School House that was located on Highway 35 west of Rainsville. From that small group, two churches were organized in the Rainsville area – Nazareth Baptist Church and later Rainsville First Baptist. Nazareth’s name was chosen by the people who had worshiped at the Nazareth Church in Cherokee.
     On July 28, 1906, Nazareth Baptist Church was organized with Elders J.M. Thompson, S.J. Lowe, and J.D. Bethune sitting as Presbytery. Brothers and sisters present included David A. Hall, Mary V. Hall, Whit Bishop, Fanny Bishop, S.J. Land, Ellen Land, Amos Hall, Ida Hall, E.M. Phillips, Lucinda Phillips, James Bishop, and Lois Bishop. On this date, the church adopted the Articles of Faith of the DeKalb Baptist Association, adopted the Church Covenant, and adopted Nazareth for the church name. On October 16, 1906 at the 69th session of the DeKalb County Baptist Association at Beulah Church, Nazareth presented a petitionary letter for admittance and was received.

Log Cabin to campus

     The newly organized Nazareth Baptist Church began meeting in a log cabin between the Warren Family Cemetery and the creek nearby (in the area presently occupied by the Life Center). More than one doctrine was represented by those who worshiped at the old cabin which also served as a community meeting house. By 1917, controversy arose between Baptist and Pentecostal doctrine supporters. The membership had grown to 92 by the 1916 report, then following much prayer and support from an Association-appointed committee, 24 members were excluded, a new pastor appointed, and the proclamation made that Nazareth “would always be a Baptist church.”
A wooden building was constructed in 1924. A wing on the west side and a two-story classroom structure on the east side were added, and the building served until it was destroyed by fire July 6, 1978. Nazareth’s congregation remained faithful and worshiped in nearby Plainview School cafeteria until a new building was completed in the winter of 1978. With an addition of a large Fellowship Hall, that building was the meeting place until 1992 when it was renovated to become Nazareth’s Education Building and a new Sanctuary Building was dedicated. A two-story Life Center was completed in 2004 that completes the present day Nazareth campus.
     God has richly blessed Nazareth during the past 100+ years. The church has a reputation of being loving, helpful, and most of all prayerful. Many still recall hearing families praying for their sons during war time. It is said that in the late afternoons, the voices could be heard for miles around Nazareth’s creek and property. Others have recalled the old church bell that once stood near the church. Anyone in need could ring the bell and people of the community would respond, gathering at the church to assist others in need.
     Nazareth’s congregation met on the third Sunday of each month from 1906 until 1950 when they began meeting on the first and third Sundays. In 1958, under Pastor Truman Hicks, Nazareth began meeting every Sunday. With continued growth, Sunday School, Discipleship Training, Vacation Bible Schools, choirs, mission groups, youth groups, senior adult groups, and many other activities have been added.

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