Greater Shady Grove

Our History

In 1863, on the eastern bank of the Chattahoochee River, under a grape arbor in an oak grove, the Shady Grove Baptist Church was established.  It was during a meeting of interested Negro citizens assembled in the home of Brother Boston Miles and Sister Mary Moore, who became the church's first members, that the name of the church was coined.

 The church's first pastor was the Reverend Ashburn Shivers, whose  pastoral service was distinguished with a series of religious meetings which resulted in notable increases in the church membership.  After one year as pastor, Reverend Shivers resigned to become a missionary in Liberia, Africa.  The Reverend Anthony Williams was Shady Grove's second pastor.  Upon his resignation to accept a call to a church in LaGrange, Georgia, Reverend Williams was succeeded by the Reverend Primus Stafford, the church's third pastor.  Reverend Stafford served the church faithfully until his death.  The Reverend Hampton Benton was called to be the fourth pastor of the church, and served until his death.  The Reverend O. H. Jackson and the Reverend Aberdene McCall were the church's fifth and sixth pastors respectively.  The Reverend L. F. Bryant was called to be the church's seventh pastor.  His eleven years of service were highlighted by a massive building program.  After Reverend Bryant's term of service, Shady Grove was served by a series of ministers to include:  the Reverend I. H. Turner (eighth pastor), the Reverend R. T. Turpin (ninth pastor), the Reverend James Sutton (tenth pastor), the Reverend Moses Adams (eleventh pastor), the Reverend J. L. Mathis (twelfth pastor), the Reverend James H. Carter (thirteenth pastor), the Reverend C. J. Johnson (fourteenth pastor), the Reverend J. H. Smith (fifteenth pastor), and the Reverend J. F. Brooks (sixteenth pastor).

In 1932, the Reverend W. A. Reid was installed as the church's seventeenth pastor.  Under his administration,  Vacation Bible School was instituted and an annex was added to the church.  Pastor Reid served the church until his death in 1948.  The Reverend J. J. Ivey was called to be the eighteenth pastor of Shady Grove Baptist Church in 1949.  Under Reverend Ivey's leadership, many improvements were made to the church, among them were the addition of a kitchen in the basement, the purchase of new pews and pulpit furniture, the addition of a second choir stand, the installation of hardwood floors and carpet runners, and the purchase of an organ for the enhancement of the worship services.  Due to his declining health, Reverend Ivey retired from the pastorate in 1966.

On May 8, 1967, the Reverend Rudolph Carter Allen became the nineteenth pastor of Shady Grove Baptist Church, ushering in one of the most remarkable moments in the church history.  In August 1967, the First Baptist Church of Columbus, Georgia granted full Titles and Deeds of the church building to the Shady Grove congregation. 

On February 4, 1968 the church name was changed to Greater Shady Grove Baptist Church, at the suggestion of Sister Alma Stephens Wiley, in order to distinguish itself from other churches in state named Shady Grove Baptist Church.  On March 27, 1968, the Superior Court of Muscogee County duly incorporated the "Greater Shady Grove Baptist Church, Inc."  The charter was petitioned by the church trustees:  Eddie C. Johnson, Henry F. Jackson, Hutman Upshaw, Sr., and Lewis Gamble, Jr. and Oscar Stanback.  

Under Reverend Allen's leadership, the membership of the church grew.  A massive church remodeling initiative was begun and completed.  It included extending the sanctuary and the addition of an educational wing to the church, the remodeling of the pastoral study and basement, the installation of a new heating and air conditioning system, and the padding of the pews.  Two new mission circles were formed in honor of Sisters Walter Lou Hood and the late Catherine Mitchell, the Nell Hinton Young Adult Sunday School class was established,  and the Pastor's Aide Club was instituted.  Reverend Allen tendered his resignation on the first Sunday in October 1980.

The Reverend Tony Hodo served as interim pastor from 1980 - 1981.  On March 31, 1981, the Reverend James Arthur Lewis became the twentieth pastor of the church.  His tenure was highlighted with the purchase of a parsonage, new robes for the mass choir and a record recording, the reorganization of the Brotherhood, the burning of the mortgage of the church parsonage and the addition of a parking lot in the back of the church on land purchased from the Georgia Power Company.  Pastor Lewis and the church parted ways in early 1987.

In November 1987, the Reverend William L. Battle was chosen to be interim pastor.  During this period a van was purchased by the church in response to an appeal made by Deacon Ephraim J. Robinson and Deacon James K. Lowe.

In 1988, the Reverend Tony Thompson, Jr. became the twenty-first pastor.  Under his administration a radio ministry was organized, the Fifty-Plus ministry was organized, seven new deacons were ordained, the public address system was upgraded, the air conditioning units were replaced, a ladies lounge was built, the sanctuary was refurbished and refurnished, new carpet was placed in the pastor's study, the van was paid off, a new piano was purchased, a Condolence and Benevolence Committee was established, Deacons and a New Members training classes were organized, the Hospitality ministry was established, the Fitness ministry was organized, the Men's Fellowship was resurrected, a new sign was erected, and a new church Constitution was ratified, with the church being renamed Greater Shady Grove Missionary Baptist Church.  The church adopted the House of Mercy, Fox Elementary School, and Chase Apartments as part of our outreach ministry efforts.  In 1995, Pastor Thompson led our church into becoming a tithe and offering church, eliminating all assessments and fundraising.  On the fourth Sunday of December 1997, Pastor Thompson was called home to be with the Lord.

On the first Sunday of January 1998, the Reverend Marcus J. Gibson became the acting  pastor and served in that capacity until April 17, 1998 when he was made interim pastor.  On February 14, 1999, Reverend Gibson was installed as the twenty-second pastor of the Greater Shady Grove Missionary Baptist Church. 

Under Pastor Gibson's leadership, many significant acquisitions and improvements have been made such as the elimination of pre-existing church debt; successfully completing the $159,000 expansion and improvement of the south parking lot without borrowing, creating 101 new parking spaces; upgrading the public announcement system, creating a sound room; upgrading the transportation ministry by purchasing a new 15 passenger van and a 25 passenger bus, the purchase of new robes for the Mass choir and the remodeling of the sanctuary.  Various ministries and programs had been created to enhance our worship of God and to bring about holistic transformation to both our members and the community.  Those ministries and programs include:  the annual Women's and Laymen's conferences, outreach ministry expansion and improvements, the organization of the liturgical dance ministry, the Mother ministry, the organization of the Sick, Bereavement and Condolence ministry, the initiating of the Deacons Family care, and the implementation of various corporate and congregational training activities under the auspices of the church's Christian Education ministry, which was named in honor of our late preceding pastor, Rev. Tony Thompson.  

Greater Shady Grove continues to experience growth in various capacities and forms. On March 3, 2016, Greater Shady Grove purchased property at 3000 12th Avenue in Columbus to serve as the new worship facility. 

As Greater Shady Grove Missionary Baptist Church continues its pursuit for Christian ideals, it stands as a haven for those who have committed themselves to the service of Almighty God. It also stands as a beacon for those whose discovery of God is yet unknown.  Thus the Christian endeavors and history continues. . .

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