CHURCH HISTORY 

 

In 1895 work began on the new Proximity Mill. In May 1896, urged on by Brother W. H. Eller, Dr. Livingston Johnson and other members of West Washington Street Baptist Church (now First Baptist) began to think in terms of providing a ministry to and for the people of the new Proximity Mill area. Members of the West Washington Street Church were asked to help organize a Sunday School in the Proximity community. On one Sunday afternoon that month, those interested met with Brother W. R. Andrews under a big oak tree, and there they covenanted together to take up this promising work for the cause of Christ. After discussion and prayer they decided to organize a Sunday School and began to look for a temporary place to meet. Mr. Ceasar Cone learned about the new effort and offered the use of a log house on Church Street until they could provide their own facilities. Shortly thereafter Mr. Cone gave the group a lot on Cherry Street and thus on April 11, 1897 the Church Covenant was read and duly adopted. The name of the new church was to be Cherry Street Baptist Church.

 

Brother G. L. Merrill served as pastor for a few months. Brother Jim W. Hilliard served until May of 1889 when the church had the joy of recognizing Brother W.F. Clarida as the first member to be called to the ministry. His salary was $150 that year but was increased to $200 in 1899. Brother J.A. Hackney then became pastor in late 1899.

 

In July, 1901 the church voted to move to the Proximity area and was often referred to as Proximity Baptist Church although it never bore that name officially. In 1901 it became

Walnut Street Baptist Church to reflect the new location.

Walnut Street Baptist Church continued to grow in the 

community and on July 24, 1923 a special called conference

voted to change the name to Eller Memorial Baptist Church in honor of Judge W. H. Eller as founder and builder of the church. He was one of the six members of the West Washington Street Church to become a charter member of Cherry Street. He felt his call was to work to establish new churches and was instrumental in the establishment of many area churches. Eller Memorial Baptist Church was named in honor of a man who perhaps had done more to win Guilford County and Greensboro to Christ than any other one person.

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