Goucher Church celebrates 250 years

Goucher Baptist Church in Gaffney celebrated its sestercentennial, or 250th anniversary, Oct. 25, with former pastor Ray Long, who served from 1979 to 1987, bringing a morning message of challenge and encouragement. Long is one of the 46 pastors who have served the church in its long history.

The church celebrated its history by presenting bimonthly “History Moments” throughout the year and by dedicating its recently constructed “Goucher Creek Baptismal Pool Trail” on Sept. 20. The natural walking trail leads to the original pool that was used for baptismals from 1897-circa 1928.

“Remembering,” a PowerPoint honoring the memories of approximately 230 church members and 10 pastors, was shown during the October celebration. The church also is planning to publish an updated church history.

Goucher is the oldest Baptist church in Broad River Association, the third oldest in the upcountry, and the 13th oldest in the state. Goucher was constituted in 1770 when South Carolina was a royal colony of Great Britain. Many early patriots of the Revolutionary War were members.

The congregation, many coming from the Greater Grindal Shoals area in the Ninety-Six District, first gathered in a log meeting house built around 1767 by early settlers William Marchbanks and William Sims. The meeting house was shared with Methodists and Presbyterians.

Located on State Hwy. 18, the meeting house was called Thicketty Baptist Church and was led by pastor Richard Kelly. By 1774, the church moved to a site on Goucher Creek and was called Gosher, an adaptation of the nearby creek. Two different log churches were built there.

In 2018, Goucher was fortunate to receive the donation of an original foundation stone from the 1774 site. This piece of history is displayed in today’s church. In 1883, the present site off State Hwy. 150 was purchased, and three church structures, including the one currently in use, have since been built.

The church officially dropped “Creek” from its name in 1930, becoming Goucher Baptist Church.

Goucher Church has been a mission-minded church since 1856 when the Broad River Association adopted a program called the Broad River Missionary Society. By 1918 the church had joined in a statewide missions offering effort called “The $75 Million Campaign,” a forerunner of Southern Baptists’ Cooperative Program.

Since 1971, more than 200 members have represented the church as they have traveled to 13 countries and 10 states for missions work. The church also has directed “The Good News Club,” sponsored by Child Evangelism Fellowship, in Goucher Elementary School since 2005.