Greater Fair Hill Baptist Church History

In the year 1934, a small church branched off from the Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. The new church was called Little Mt. Moriah. The Pastor at the time was Minister E.O. Rutland. The congregation met at a small frame church on Fair Street. Soon after its inception, the church was renamed Fair Hill Baptist Church. Minister Rutland served these few but faithful believers for twelve successful years.

Minister John R. Hemphill became the Pastor of Fair Hill Baptist Church in 1948. There he served faithfully for 13 years. Under the leadership of Pastor Hemphill, he and his congregation purchased another edifice for $25,000 located at 712 Hightower Road N.W. (presently the Greater Fair Hill Baptist Church at 701 Hamilton E. Holmes Drive, N.W.) The membership increased gradually. The deacons at the time were: Deacon A.P. Bount—Chairman of the Deacon Board, Deacon Davis, Deacon Carl Blount, Deacon Perminter Lee, Deacon Robert L. Holliday, Deacon Lunie Hahn and Deacon E.Z. Holliday. Some of the accomplishments under Pastor Hemphill’s pastorate were the building of choir stands and the purchase of a Sunday school bus. Pastor Hemphill resigned in 1961.

In 1962, Minister John Edward Jones came to serve as pastor and served for thirty-nine years. On April 7, 2001, the Lord called him home to his reward. Pastor Jones was a Spirit-filled leader and a dynamic preacher. Under his pastorate, the following ministers were ordained: Minister Frank Williams, Minister Charles Reeves, Minister Floyd Lester, Minister Arthur Carson, Minister Harry Smith, Minister David Strickland, Minister Kenneth Bryant, Minister Jerry Lightning, Minister Henry Carson, Minster Freddie Baisden and Minister Gloria Glynn. During Pastor Jones’ tenure, the Lord also blessed us with the addition of the following Spirit-filled ordained ministers; Minister Ellis Elders, Minister Marion Billups, Minister Haran Griffin, Minister Roy Reeves and Minister Burnell Williams. Under the teachings and guidance of Pastor Jones and after hearing God’s calling, the following were granted trial sermons and licensed by our church family: Minister Herman Hamilton, Minister Stephen Foster, Minister Alomza Gamble, Minister Larry Epps, Minister Willie Henton, Minister John F. Dudley, Minister Betty Davis, and Minister Lawrence Bryant. We also have been blessed with the additions of Minister H. L. Love, Jr., Minister Richard Mingo, Minister Fred Peeler, Minister Charles Maxwell, Minister Curtis Thrasher, Minister Terrill Chambers and Minister Monica Leflore.

The lifelong dream of building a beautiful sanctuary for Christian worship was undertaken and realized in the year 1969. Pastor J. E. Jones engineered the entire project. The Trustee Board was organized in the latter part of 1970. In 1982, we were blessed to pay off the church mortgage and climax our forty-eighth Church Anniversary with a mortgage burning service. We are thankful to God that our former church budgetary system has been eradicated and that we are now operating on the Biblical Tithing System.

Twenty-nine Deacons were ordained or added to the board of deacons under the administration of Pastor Jones. They were: Charles Bryant, Jr., James N. Kendrick, Samuel Edwards, Arthur Carson, Richard E. Stenson, William Taylor, Will Stewart, Jr., James D. Moody, Herman Thompson, Henry Carson, Arlester Benton, Ralph Watson, Lawrence E. Bryant, Arlandis Baker, Steven Foster, George Collier, Oma Green, Leo Redmond, Melvin Royal, Cornell Foster , Patrick Green, E..S. Burrow, Barney Burton, Ross Young, Leroy Hutchins, Jr., Bristol King, William Ferrell, Arthur Davidson and Harris Mosley. Also instituted under Pastor Jones’ leadership was a board of Jr. Deacons. The first members of this new board included Billy Hightower, Robert Fields, Marvin Watson, Ron Epps, Clyde Williams and Leon Smith. Also under Pastor Jones’ leadership, several ladies were acknowledged as Deaconesses. They were: Eunice Bryant, Antoinette Carson, Doris Dudley, Lucy Edwards, Vernell Hill, Gertrude Jones, Mary Kendrick, Jewell May, Elsie Melson, Betty Moody, Betty Robinson, Viola Stephens, Phyllis Stewart, Amy Thompson, Mary Turner, Geneva Williams and Jerene Young.

The following auxiliaries were added to our ministry under Pastor Jones: The J.E.J. Youth for Christ Choir, The J.E.J. Males Chorus, The Second Sanctuary Choir, Usher Board # 2, Usher Board #3, the Young Adult Ushers (now known as Usher Board #4), the Youth Ushers, the Ambassadors for Christ, Bible Class, the Hospitality Committee, the Deacon Board, the Christian Brotherhood, the Young Christians Church, Youth in Effect, Boys to Men, the New Members Class, the Seniors Ministry, the Communications committee and many other helpful organizations that serve as inspirational channels leading one to a closer walk with God.

We have also instituted the ministries of Prayer and Praise each Sunday morning at 8:00 a.m., an active tape ministry and a growing feeding ministry. Additionally, the annual Sarah Elizabeth Stephens Scholarship Award was established in 1999. The downstairs Sunday School area was renamed the E.Z. Holliday Fellowship Hall, in honor of the late Deacon E.Z. Holliday.

He diligently served as Sunday School Superintendent and Church Treasurer until he was called home. He worked dutifully and faithfully as a servant of God. Our largest Sunday School classroom has been named for the late Deacon Lunie Hahn.

An additional parking lot between Rockwood Road and Bankhead Hwy was acquired and improved for the convenience of our members. In 1996, the main sanctuary was expanded. Space was added to house needed Sunday School rooms, a baptismal pool, clerical office space and a new Pastor’s study. In 2001, we secured property next to the church that extended the boundaries to the corner of Woodrow and H.E. Holmes Drive (formerly Hightower Road). It is here that we will carry out the vision of our late Pastor J.E. Jones and erected the J. Edward Jones Family Life and Outreach Center.

Following the death of Pastor J.E. Jones in 2001, a Pastor’s search committee was formed to facilitate and implement the process of finding a new pastor. From this process, Minster Curtis E. Dixon began his tenure as the Pastor of the Greater Fair Hill Baptist Church on July 7, 2002. An installation ceremony was held in his honor on September 1, 2002.

Under Pastor Dixon’s leadership both a men’s and women’s Bible class was established as a compliment to the weekly Bible Class. In addition, the Greater Fair Hill Baptist Church Bible Institute was established; the first graduating class was in the spring of 2007. Also, an Intercessory Prayer group was formed. They assisted during prayer and deliverance on Sunday mornings and they held Intercessory Prayer sessions weekly. He also created the Christian Education and Evangelism Departments. Pastor Dixon ordained Minister Terrill Chambers and Licensed Minister Robert Fields and Minister Wilber Robinson.

Pastor Dixon also ordained ten deacons during his pastorate. They were Billy Hightower, Marvin Watson, Clyde Williams, Ron Epps, Robert Fields, Julius Alexander, Claude Brown, Hebron Tate, Sr., Lewis Byrd and Lucius Glynn. Also under Pastor Dixon’s leadership, six ladies were acknowledged as Deaconesses. They were: Illillian Hightower, Sonja Brown, Sonya Fields, Sharon Green, Gwendolyn Moody and Rebecca Byrd.

Planning continued on the construction of the new Family Life Center as Pastor Dixon led the Greater Fair Hill Family forward. The Ground Breaking ceremony was held on Sunday April 9, 2006 and construction began. Completion was scheduled for August 2007. In the summer of 2007, the new Family Life Center was built to near completion.

The parking lot was paved, the grounds were landscaped and the work continued. The “Church on the Hill” then began working toward getting the interior ready for eventual occupation. In March of 2008, the Family Life Center was complete. Pastor Dixon, office staff and the congregation moved into their new space and began conducting worship services in the main auditorium.

Many souls were added to the Kingdom, as Pastor Dixon faithfully executed God’s work. In May of 2011, Pastor Dixon resigned as pastor of the Greater Fair Hill Baptist Church. However, the purpose, mission and ministry of Greater Fair Hill continued even in challenging times. The Ministerial staff, Deacon and Deaconess’s Ministries, and the congregation believed God is in control and continued to minister the Word of God.

Following the resignation of Pastor Dixon, a Pastoral Search Committee was established to develop and define the process for finding a new pastor. After many hours of prayer, interviews, and candidate sermons, the Committee recommended three candidates. The search for a new pastor ended September 16, 2012 by the congregational selection of Dr. Patrick K. Latimore as the new pastor of the Greater Fair Hill Baptist Church. Pastor Latimore, a man after God’s own heart, began his tenure October 1, 2012 and was formally installed November 18, 2012.

Since becoming the Pastor of Greater Fair Hill Baptist Church, ministries have grown to include New Convert Class, the Divine Daughters of Destiny that was established as a foundation for our young ladies to become Women of Destiny and a STEP Ministry. Through Pastor Latimore’s passion for Christian Education and Training the Leadership Institute was established. Additionally, a Spiritual Gifts Assessment class was implemented to assist the saints with discovering and operating in their gifts. He stands on the premise that: “Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance”.

The past year has brought about growth that surpasses all understanding. Many have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior through baptism and others have joined by Christian experience. Pastor Latimore has ordained two deacons: Samuel Stephens Jr. and Kevin Thompson. He has also certified four deaconesses: Wanda Crawford, Michele May, Valeria Stephens, and Helen Worthem. As God added to the ministerial staff, Pastor Latimore licensed 3 ministers: Minister LaVita Alexander, Minister Caroline Baker, and Minister Bruce Scott. Sister Ruth Austin and Sister Barbara Ross increased the associates of the Mothers Ministry.

Pastor Latimore continues to preach and teach God’s Word as he encourages the believers of Christ to operate in the power of God, through purpose-driven plans that are supported by the biblical precepts of Worship, Discipleship, Ministry, Fellowship and Evangelism.

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701 Hamilton E. Holmes Drive,
Atlanta, GA 30318
(404) 792-0756
(404) 792-9170

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