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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Duncan in Spartanburg County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Abner Creek Baptist Church

 
 
Abner Creek Baptist Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, February 2, 2011
1. Abner Creek Baptist Church Marker
Inscription.
Dedicates this marker to the lasting memory of those people whose unselfish efforts organized and sustained this church with God's help through the years

Abner Creek Baptist Church organized Sept 26, 1832 in the home of William and Sarah Hendrix located one-half mile south near Abner Creek

William Hendrix
Sept 9, 1766
Oct 22, 1842
Sarah Hendrix
June 7, 1767
Feb 7, 1849

Officially constituted by the Presbytery Sept 26, 1834 as Abner Creek Baptist Church worshipped in homes and buildings until 1858
First sanctuary served from 1858-1901
Second sanctuary served from 1901-1963
Third sanctuary served from 1963-

 
Erected 1976 by Congregation of Abner Creek Baptist Church.
 
Location. 34° 52.633′ N, 82° 8.972′ W. Marker is in Duncan, South Carolina, in Spartanburg County. Marker is at the intersection of Abner Creek Road and Argo Drive, on the left when traveling north on Abner Creek Road. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2461 Abner Creek Road, Duncan SC 29334, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Birthplace (within shouting distance of this marker); a different
Abner Creek Baptist Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, February 2, 2011
2. Abner Creek Baptist Church Marker
marker also named Abner Creek Baptist Church (within shouting distance of this marker); Reidville Public School (approx. 2.3 miles away); Hugh Porter & Jane Baily McClimon (approx. 2.4 miles away); McClimons Memorial (approx. 2.4 miles away); Reidville Male Academy (approx. 2.6 miles away); Flatwood (approx. 3 miles away); Theron J. Hendrix Memorial Highway (approx. 3.7 miles away); Cotton Mills (approx. 4.6 miles away but has been reported missing); Pelham Mill (approx. 4.6 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Duncan.
 
Also see . . .
1. Abner Creek Baptist Church. Official website of Abner Creek Baptist Church. (Submitted on February 3, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

2. Abner Creek Baptist Church celebrates 175th anniversary. In 1832, Abner Creek Baptist Church was organized and began meeting in the log cabin home of William and Sarah Hendrix. (Submitted on February 3, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.)
Abner Creek Baptist Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, February 2, 2011
3. Abner Creek Baptist Church Marker
 
 
Additional comments.
1. Fire destroys Abner Creek Baptist Church
Staff Reports
January 2, 2008
Spartanburg Herald-Journal

Firefighters continue to investigate a blaze that ripped through a western Spartanburg County church shortly before lunch Wednesday, destroying the sanctuary and toppling the steeple.

Crews were dispatched to Abner Creek Baptist Church at 11:12 a.m. and arrived five minutes later to find a fire burning in the attic, said Assistant Reidville Fire Chief Tim Brady.

Fueled by fierce winds, the blaze quickly spread throughout the building, engulfing church offices, classrooms and the sanctuary. Firefighters continue to put out hotspots, and Brady said it appears the fire did not spread to an adjacent gymnasium, which is used as a meeting place.

The origin and cause of the fire remain under investigation.

Members of the congregation and community gathered to watch the blaze, tears streaming down many of their faces.

A construction crew was working inside the church, located at 2461 Abner Creek Road, when they smelled smoke. Realizing a fire appeared to be raging in the attic, the workers called 911 and left the building, where they were remodeling classrooms.

Congregation members said the current sanctuary
Abner Creek Baptist Church and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, February 2, 2011
4. Abner Creek Baptist Church and Marker
was built in the 1960s, and the educational building containing classrooms was built in 1953.

The church celebrated its 175th anniversary this past September.

Church member Heather Smith, who has attended the church for more than a decade, stood in a graveyard across the street with her family and watched the blaze in shock.

“You know itís just a building,” Smith said as tears gathered in her eyes. “We, the people, are the church, and we can rebuild.”
    — Submitted February 3, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

2. Abner Creek Baptist temporarily homeless
Staff Reports
January 3, 2008
Spartanburg Herald-Journal

Abner Creek Baptist Church members streamed into a nearby chapel for Wednesday night prayers as the rubble of their own house of worship continued to smolder only miles away.

The church sanctuary and offices were destroyed after fierce winds quickly spread fire throughout the church Wednesday morning, sending smoke and ash billowing through the air and toppling the steeple. Associate pastor Vernon Thornhill said the church, which last year celebrated its 175th anniversary, plans to build anew on the same spot but is temporarily homeless.

"We'll definitely rebuild there
Abner Creek Baptist Church Steeple Burning image. Click for full size.
By Mike Bonner, www.goupstate.com
5. Abner Creek Baptist Church Steeple Burning
and just call on the Lord to use this opportunity to strengthen us and just reinforce our efforts we want to continue to make in our community and use this as such, to tell people we understand what it is to go through hard times, and this will draw us closer together," Thornhill said as he prepared to hold Wednesday's services at Burnsville Baptist on Reidville Road.

The origin and cause of the fire remain under investigation, and firefighters continued to extinguish hot spots Wednesday night. Two employees inside the building and construction workers remodeling a nursery and office space were able to safely escape.

Crews were dispatched to the church, at 2461 Abner Creek Road, at 11:12 a.m. and arrived five minutes later to find a fire burning in the attic, said Reidville Assistant Fire Chief Tim Brady. Lack of proper water pressure at first hampered efforts to extinguish the fire, he said. Arson is not suspected, but agents with the State Law Enforcement Division and U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will help investigate because the fire involved a church.

Abner Creek leaders hope to hold services within three weeks in a gymnasium adjacent to the church, which doubles as a meeting hall and was not ruined by the fire.

Members of the congregation and community gathered to watch the blaze from the cemetery across the street,
Groundbreaking of Abner Creek Baptist Church image. Click for full size.
By Abner Creek Baptist Church
6. Groundbreaking of Abner Creek Baptist Church
tears welling up in their eyes. Despite the efforts of six fire departments, onlookers stared in disbelief as the brick walls of the sanctuary, built in 1963, buckled and the steeple slowly tilted to one side, then fell into the burning roof.

Heather Smith, who has attended the church for more than a decade and whose brother planned to marry there this year, watched the blaze in shock alongside family. "You know it's just a building," Smith said, fighting back tears. "We, the people, are the church, and we can rebuild."

F.E. Hendrix, a sixth-generation Abner Creek member and church historian, talked with firefighters as he watched the blaze spread to the church library. Hendrix said he didn't know what the new year would bring, but he didn't expect the scene before his eyes Wednesday.

"I prayed that it would never would happen, but, you know, you have a sinking feeling when you see it, the flames coming out the top," Hendrix said. "It gives you a sinking feeling, and you think about all the memories that are in there, and historical things. As far as I know, nothing was saved at all."

Hendrix preserved many memories through a book he authored last year on the church's history. Written to mark Abner Creek's 175th anniversary in September, the volume included more than 200 photographs.

Witness accounts
The educational building,
Construction Site of the New Abner Creek Baptist Church image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott
7. Construction Site of the New Abner Creek Baptist Church
which houses offices and classrooms, has been undergoing a $700,000 renovation since March, and Jason Grant, one of eight construction crew members in the building Wednesday, said he and his co-workers were working on the first floor when they noticed smoke coming from the third-floor attic.

"We thought it was the jackhammer smoking, but it was actually the church smoking," Grant said. "We didn't even know it was on fire."

The workers attempted to extinguish the blaze but could not. They were able to leave the building safely and called 911.

Debbie Gresham, who has attended Abner Creek since childhood, stood across the road as she watched flames engulf the church nursery where her children and grandchildren spent many hours. The blaze brought back memories of the 2004 fire that gutted Lyman United Methodist Church, where her husband attends.

"I couldn't understand what he felt until today," she said.

Gresham's granddaughter, 7-year-old Haleigh, said she hoped a new sanctuary would be built as soon as possible. "When I heard this happened, I was, like, really sad that my church burned down Ö," she said. "This is where people get baptized and everything."

Rich history
Organized in 1832, Abner Creek Baptist Church was founded in a log cabin belonging to Hendrix's ancestors. The church was officially constituted in 1834 with 21 charter members and continued meeting in the log cabin until a new sanctuary was built in 1840. After two expansions, the current sanctuary was completed in 1963.

The educational building in back was built in 1953, Hendrix said, and the gymnasium was added in 1980. The old log cabin now sits on the edge of the church cemetery, a donation from Hendrix to celebrate the church's 175th anniversary. Today the congregation exceeds 500 people, with members from Reidville, Duncan and Greer.

The Rev. Wallace Hughes, who served as Abner Creek's pastor from 1968 to 1976, stopped by the church Wednesday after hearing about the fire.

"It's a sad day," Hughes said. "A lot of history is going down: all the records, the library. Ö People had hoped someday to have a new building, but they didn't want it this way. They wanted to preserve it and add to it."

Cleatus Blackmon, director of missions for the Greer Baptist Association, to which Abner Creek belongs, said he had mixed feelings while watching the fire.

"It's just a lot to take in, number one. And secondly, the sadness is not so much for the building but the congregation, the church, because of their attachment to it," he said. "But there's also the assumption they're bigger than and stronger than the building."

As he shared words of comfort with congregation members and firefighters who attend Abner Creek, Hendrix stayed calm, recalling fond memories of the church and keeping the big picture in mind.

"As hard as it is, we're just going to have to stick together, and the Lord has a plan, and we just need to follow that plan," Hendrix said. "And as we say, it's just a building. The people are the church, and these people will be who determines the future of the church."
    — Submitted February 3, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

3. Abner Creek Baptist rebuilds
Anna Lee
August 11, 2009
Greenville News

On Aug. 2, more than 250 people gathered to witness Abner Creek Baptist Church's first step toward rebuilding after a devastating fire consumed its sanctuary and education wing a year and a half ago.

The groundbreaking event marked the beginning of a $4 million project to construct a 21,000-square-foot, one-story facility that will house an updated nursery, senior adult space, and a sanctuary with state-of-the-art sound and lighting, said Vernon Thornhill, the church's associate pastor.

“It's a brand new church in many ways,” Thornhill said, adding that construction will take 10-12 months. “Hopefully this time next year, we'll be having a building dedication service,” he said.

Plans for the rebuilding were overwhelmingly approved in May by the congregation, which has been worshipping at nearby Woods Chapel United Methodist Church since the fire.

The church is also using free office space at a Greer business until the new church is complete.

Money for the project is coming from insurance and several fundraisers that Abner Creek Baptist has held throughout the year. The next is a church-wide yard sale that opens at 7 a.m. Aug. 15. It will be held at the Abner Creek Family Life Center, which sustained water and smoke damage from the fire but has since been repaired.
    — Submitted February 3, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

 
Categories. Churches, Etc.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 771 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   5, 6. submitted on , by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   7. submitted on , by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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