Macedonia Baptist Church celebrated its bicentennial anniversary on Oct. 11 with former pastor Terry Duvall — who retired in 2016 after serving the Gaffney congregation for 40 years — returning to the pulpit to deliver a message titled “The History and Hope of Macedonia Baptist Church.”
Organized in 1820, Macedonia’s actual anniversary date is Oct. 14, and a number of bicentennial-related events had been planned throughout this year. Most of those plans had to be postponed, however, due to COVID-19 concerns.
Last year, Macedonia Church implemented a plan for debt retirement on its children and students building that was named the “1820 Campaign.” The facility was completed in 2015 and dedicated as the Duvall Education Center. In spite of the pandemic, church members have generously supported the campaign.
Organization of the church, which was located in Spartanburg County at the time, was led by two brothers, Samuel and Jonathan Guthrie. Records are not clear about those who were a part of its organization, but 72 people might have taken part.
The church’s first building was a log cabin on land donated by Samuel Guthrie, and the church still has the first land deed from him. Jonathan Guthrie became the first pastor, but by 1830 he had been removed as pastor and from church membership because the congregation believed his teachings were not doctrinally correct.
Throughout its 200 years, the church has had 41 pastors. One of the most colorful was J.S. Ezell, who served as pastor on five occasions. Ezell served time in a federal prison in New York because of his association with a secret group, but he received a pardon from President Ulysses S. Grant, and he soon returned to Macedonia to pastor the church again.
The church has been through at least 12 building or remodeling projects. New sanctuaries were constructed in 1822, 1865, 1901, 1942, and 1963.
Macedonia has a heart for missions, supporting Southern Baptist’s Cooperative Program since 1925. For more than 30 years, the church has supported a Hispanic ministry and local church. The church also has supported local ministries, and members have traveled on mission to many states and countries.