A Brief History of Poplar Level Baptist Church From 1923-1964
Sometime between 1923-1928, Rev. Rose E. Dillon of Pleasant Grove, saw a need for a church in this community, but his work was brief. A layman, Mr. Helms, conducted afternoon Sunday School meetings during the summer months, but due to lack of facilities, the work died.
In 1933, the work was revived again by Rev. W.L. Asby who was then the associate pastor of Pleasant Grove baptist Church. After working in the Poplar Level area, six weeks later, they were able to have their first meeting in the home of Mr. & Mrs. Harrison Starr. The next meeting was held in the home of Mr. & Mrs. Walter Farris, and this is where the church really began.
In 1934, having met for approximately 18 months in the home of Mr. & Mrs. Farris, a “Brush Arbor” was built near Pople Lick Bridge on the property of Clyde Colyer. the men cut green spalings from the hills and built the Arbor. Seats, a pulpit platform and choir loft were made from used lumber secured from the L&N Railroad company for $5.00. Services were held there every Sunday all throught the summer with 47 people being baptized. Rev. Will Manion held a revival here for a two-week period. Gasoline lanters were furnished as the lighting and a portable pump organ furnished the instrumental music. Wen cold weather came, the Mission returned for awhile to the home of Mr. & Mrs. Walter Farris and soon after were able to get into the Poplar Level School Building as by that time some members of most every family in the community had united with the mission work.
Also during this year, the school building was consolidated.
On May 31, 1935, W.L. Aspy was ordained by the Pleasant Grove baptist Church, the council was composed of the following ministers: Dr. F.W. Powell, Rev. D.E. Weaver, Rev. L. Il Dawson, Rev. Homer Aspy, and the Rev. William E. Waterhouse.
In 1936, the Long Run Baptist Association Board under the leadership of Fred Tucker agreed to cooperate with the Poplar Level Mission in the purchase of the Poplar Level School House, which sold at public auction on Sept. 4, 1936 for $475.00.
In 1937, the Poplar Level Mission was given church benches from a Louisville church which had been flooded and equipment was purchased by a friend. (Mrs. Forward). The people of the mission plastered and refinished the interior of the school house. They also put on a new roof and the lights were donated to the Mission by Mr. V. V. Cooke and the Walnut Street Baptist Church.
The years of 1938-1942 are silent years due to the lack of any records, however during these years, the Mission grew from 102 members to 150 by 1943, at which time the church was organized into a Baptist church in standing with the Long Run Association. There were 150 chartered members and Dr. J. Perry Carter broght the charge to the church.
The budget for the year of 1942 was $1,800.00. The breakdown on a monthly basis was as follows:
|Fuel & Lights||$5.50|
|Misc. & Incidental||$3.00|
|Total Monthly Budget||$150.00|
A note of interest is that the pastor had never received a salary prior to the constituting of the curch although he had labored 10 years in this field of service.
At the Long Run Association Convention in 1944, Bro. W.L. Asply said, “That his people gave five times as much during the past assicational year as they had ever given before because of the vision they receivfed as a result of interest the Association had shown in them and challenge they had been given”.
In 1944 a picture was taken of a group of worships at the church and was prepared especially for more than forty men from the church and community who were in the service of our Armed Forces. This was to be sent along with a letter during the Christmas season.
1945-1948 are silent years as well.
On Sunday night, April 24, 1949, the first ordination service of deacons was conducted. This deacons ordained were; Mr. Melvin Crask, Mr. Preston Dearner, and Mr. Clyde Hayden. The council was composed of the following ordained decons and ministers; james Sutherland, Neal Brook Sr, William Stang Sr, James M. hardin, Joe Hamon, W.T. Malone, J.L Browning and Fred G. Tucker.
The year of 1950 was a year of firsts. In this year the church adopted a budget of $3,300, and as proof of their prosperity were able to collect their first self-supported Vacation Bible School furnishing both money and workers. The church this year began it’s first Brotherhood, organized it’s first Young Married Adult Sunday School class, gave it’s largest love offering ever before of $92.03 to Rev. Knipp for a revival, and had grown to a membership of 215 with an enrollment of 94 in Sunday school and 51 in Training Union.
In 1951, the church received the deed of their property from the Long Run Assication of Baptists.
The following year efforts were made to find a new location for the church; to build a suitable building and/or remodel the present school building . In July plans were laid to build a basement unit suitable for worship and Sunday School.
In 1935 Poplar Level sponsored a mission, Colonel Terrace, Lyndon Kentucky under the leadership of Rev. James Hardin. Also the first Father & Son banquet was held by the church.
In 1955 a special project expressing the love of the Poplar Level Baptist Church was instigated when the church voted to put electricity in the home of Mr. Walter Farris. During the year Poplar Level cooperated in the Tri-county Evangelistic Crusade in Eastwood, KY.
1956 saw completion of the first unit of the basement unit.
In February 1958 it was voted in a business meeting to celebrate the first of it’s two 25th Anniversaries. On Sept. 28, 1968, the second was celebrated. The reason for their first celebration was because the work was 25 years old in 1958 but 10 years of this work had been as a Mission.
During the year of 1958 the church also adopted the Sunday School envelope system of finances.
In 1959, the Poplar Level Church voted to give 10% of ooferings to Missions.
At regular evening service, on Sunday, Aug. 30, 1059, James Dearner, Sr. Frank Crouch, Thomas Doerr, and Charles Pittelko were ordained as deacons. The sermon was preached by the Rev. Fred Tucker. Rev. Thomas Malone gave the charge to the deacons and Rev. Stanley cundiff gave the charge to the church.
In 1960, the church completed it’s Sunday School rooms by putting linoleum on the floor and other odds & ends. Offerings from the fifth Sunday of each month were set aside to go into the Building Fund for the future auditorium.
By 1961, the membership had reached 483 people with enrollment of 221 in Sunday School and 89 in Training Union.
In 1962 there were more plans for the constriction of a new building and the old school house came tumbling down. Land for additional parking area was purchased from the Kaufman’s at the price of $1,100. In 1963, a contract was let to construct the present auditorium and on Sept. 15, 1963, the ground was broken for this new building.
March 15, 1964 the new auditorium was dedicated with an overflow crowd of members and guests.
In May, sadness came to Poplar Level Baptist Church as the beloved pastor, Rev. W.L. Aspy passed away on May 15, 1964, after 31 years as pastor of Poplar Level. Bro. Aspy’s lifelong dream of seeing a beautiful place of worship in the Poplar Level community had been fullfilled, But as it is often the case, God has a better reward for His servants than our own earthly visions.