Love, Peace, and Joy!
The distinctive church that rests along West Butler Road in the crook of the turnoff to Conestee projects an aura of calm and peace – a welcoming House of Worship.
Indeed, as Deacon Chairman Algie Dial is happy to point out, that is central to the Reedy River Missionary Baptist Church’s theme: “Love, Peace, and Joy”.
A church’s exterior often gives little clue about what you will find inside. This church and its congregation are worth a visit to find out. Arrive in time to attend the 10:00 Service; as you make your way after parking your car, the building feels welcoming. But pass through the doors, take your first steps into the Sanctuary of the Reedy River Missionary Baptist Church, and you will discover a delightful surprise: the brightness and warmth inside will surpass anything you imagined.
Take your seat, and watch as others arrive. The congregation generally and those individuals who stop to give you a “hello” provide a warmth and welcome that is a joy all by itself.
The church provides modern conveniences. Hymnals are provided in pockets on the backs of each pew, but two large projection screens (large enough for poor vision, but not obtrusive) to the left and right high above the altar display the words to hymns, as well as cues and any other information you may need, at just the right time. You never feel self-conscious or uncomfortably out of place, not knowing what to do. You are welcome here.
Facing the congregation is the pulpit, the altar, seating for the pastor and ministers, the choir, and the musicians.
The congregation of the Reedy River Baptist Missionary Church currently numbers about 370. Typically the Sunday service is supported by the Sanctuary Choir, composed of 25 to 30 voices. The church also includes three other choirs: a Youth Choir, with about 12 voices; a Men’s Choir with about 15 voices, and a Senior Choir, with about 15 to 20 voices.
The Church leadership includes twenty-three Deacons and ten Ministers, two women and eight men. Their most recent Pastor passed away before COVID, and they are currently searching for just the right person to succeed him.
Judging by history, those will be tough shoes to fill. The Reverend W. R. Martin served as Pastor for 42 years, from 1923 until his passing in 1965. The Reverend S. C. Cureton was likewise Pastor for well over four decades. Clearly, once a Pastor is invited to lead the Church, they expect him to maintain and build a lasting tradition.
The main building of the church includes Sunday School rooms and the business offices. Behind the main church building lies a small cemetery. Down the hill beyond it is the church’s fellowship hall. The church’s large sign at the corner of Mauldin Road and Conestee Road is hard to miss, and the parking lot can be reached from either road.
As noted, the Service begins at 10:00. A nursery is provided for infants too young to attend the Service. Due to COVID, Services are temporarily virtual, available on Zoom and YouTube. Sunday School begins an hour earlier, at 9:00. Visit the church’s easy-to-follow and helpful website http://www.reedyriverchurch.com to learn more about your specific interests. Also check the website regarding any COVID-related changes.
The Reedy River Missionary Baptist Church is associated with other churches in a number of ways. On the first Saturday of each month, a joint service is held, partnering with the Piedmont Manor Baptist Church. The church is also part of the Upstate’s Reedy River Baptist Association, the statewide Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention of South Carolina, and the countrywide National Baptist Convention USA.
These associations enable the church to be involved in expanded missionary efforts on a broad number of fronts. These include overcomers, battered women support, a men’s ministry, a youth advisory board, and more, as well as evangelistic efforts. The church provides classes in bible study, with separate classes for adults, teenagers, and youngsters, and missionary classes for men, women over 50, and women 18-50.
This beautiful house of God is the fourth Reedy River Missionary Baptist Church to be located on this site. The first church was built in 1879. Inflation has raised prices a little since then: it was built on land purchased for seven dollars.
That church served its congregation for almost four decades, until it was replaced by the second church in 1937. Due to steadily increasing membership, that church was renovated in 1964. The result was a more spacious and modern church, better able to accommodate the growing congregation.
Membership at the Reedy River Missionary Baptist Church continued to soar, and in 1977 a third and even larger church was dedicated. The cost of the building, parking lot, and facilities was a bit more modern than that original cost of seven dollars, totaling $277,000.
Still membership continued to increase, and in 1998 the current church was completed – distinctive on the outside, and welcoming and full of light on the inside.
The Reedy River Missionary Baptist Church is full to overflowing with Love, Peace, and Joy. Once COVID is past, drop by just before 10:00 some Sunday morning, and experience the beauty of the Sanctuary and the welcoming fellowship of its congregation for yourself.■