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Sunday
Sunday Worship - 11:00am
Sunday School - 9:45am 

Wednesday
Bible Study - 12:00pm and 7:00pm

Our History

In the year 1867 there came to the little hamlet of Florence a follower of Christ, devout and true.  Noticing that his people were unorganized as Christians, he offered himself and was accepted as their leader.  At that time were were, as a people, just emerging from the darkness of physical bondage and were still economically slaves, therefore, we were without funds with which to house our organization.  Then it was that this great man, the Reverend Wesley J. Parnell, enjoining his people to “despise not the day of small things” took his little flock to a small building on Front Street, the house of Mother Lindsay. There he tended his flock with such care that many others, drawn by his powerful influence, came, cast their lot with them, and soon the little house, so lovingly consecrated to the service of the Lord, and could no longer contain them. 

A committee composed of Brother Jack Quillen and others went out in search for larger quarters.  Through the untiring efforts of Brother Quillen, a site near what is now the corner of Marlboro and Dargan Streets was granted by Colonel George Dargan of Darlington.  Here under a shelter of bushes we graduated from prayer meeting groups to church proper and Trinity Baptist Church came into being, with Reverend Wesley J. Parnell as official pastor; Brothers Joseph Flagger, Abram Brockington, Richard Reid, Alfred Pawley, Daniel Timmons, Dave Moses, Amos Purvis, Alonzo Robinson, Daniel Cornell, William Robinson, and Jack Quillen as deacons, and W. D. Harper as Clerk.

So divinely inspired was this organization, and so well nurtured by the sunshine of God’s love and constant baptisms of the Holy Spirit, Trinity soon outgrew this place and made its second move.  By now these God-fearing people had grown so strong numerically and in faith, they undertook the purchase of a permanent home.  On the lot adjoining this present edifice on the west, Trinity was housed in a frame building about 50’ by 75’.  Here she continued to grow and flourish, sending her influence out into the world. Chief among her many achievements is the part she played in the organization of what is now the Baptist State Missionary and Educational Convention.

But these good men had to go the way of all mean, and then in 1873 grim death touched the old patriarch, Reverend Parnell, with an icy finger, his body was borne on the shoulders of his deacons to its final resting place, and one by one all these have since that time been gathered to their Father.

The second pastor, Reverend Grief Carter, from the state of Virginia, was called in 1873 and served successfully for eleven years.  Many members were added to the fellowship.  On one occasion he baptized eighty-one persons.  This great man was led by the spirit to return to his native state of Virginia and it became necessary to call another pastor.

In 1884, the invitation was extended to a young divine who was pastoring in Kingstree, South Carolina., Reverend E. Rainey Roberts.  He readily accepted, and so favorably impressed were all who heard him on his first visit that he was unanimously elected and installed on the 4th Sunday in February, 1884.  For seventeen years and two months he was our faithful and loving shepherd.  It was during his pastorate and mainly through his efforts that we made our third and last move to the spot where we now stand. (A picture is in Miller Fellowship Hall which shows Reverend Roberts and some of the members standing at the sit under construction.)

New deacons were added to fill vacancies caused by death; Brothers Patterson Charles, Ezekiel Reid, David Watson, Henry Brown, Henry Wright, and Samuel Wallace.

While serving as pastor of this church Reverend Roberts helped to organize Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church to accommodate members in that area who found it difficult to attend services at Trinity.  Pastor Roberts resigned in 1901 and spent the last portion of his active life as president of Voorhees Institute, and finally served as  interim president of Friendship Junior College, Rock Hill, SC.  He died in 1936 and is buried in the Baptist Cemetery in Florence.

Immediately following Reverend Roberts were pastorates of very short duration and of minor importance.  (Reverend J. N. Jenkins, 1901-1903; Reverend A. J. Streater, 1903-1905; Reverend H. W. Hood, 1905-1907).

In the year 1907, Reverend Charles T. Taylor, who was then in his last year at Benedict College was called and accepted.  He gave us nineteen years of service and the church prospered both spiritually and financially as never before.  During that time the membership practically doubled and on one occasion two hundred members were baptized the same day.  On another occasion a financial rally netted three thousand dollars, and the bank had to be opened on Sunday to receive the deposit.

Our outstanding field work during this administration was the part we played, through Reverend Taylor, in helping to establish Morris College.  Under his pastorate the Missionary Society was organized.  Members added to the deacon board were: Brothers E. Miller, George Richmond, Gabriel Smith and William Boyd.

Reverend Taylor’s pastorate terminated in 1927 and the officers began cast about for another Moses with the result that in 1927-1932 the Reverend William Preston Jones of Charleston, South Carolina came to serve us.  He found us apparently facing a financial crisis and put his shoulder to the wheel and there came about an auxiliary called the Reference Board.  This auxiliary proved itself to be a financial power in the church, and all other auxiliaries took on new life.  The Deaconess Board was organized to assist the Deacon Board in its spiritual work.  The first twelve deaconesses were:  Sisters Mittie Brooks, Willoughby Brown, Rosa Holloman, Betty Wallace, Hattie Williams, Rosa Nelson, Mary Ervin, Rebecca Shields, Annie Isaac, Lela Boyd, Bessie Mack, and Lillie Richmond.  The Sunday school flourished under the newly elected Superintendent James A. Miller.  Persons added to the official boards were: Deacons Albert James, Sr., Junius Small, George Williams; Trustees James Rance, Roland Perry, and L. B. Jones.  In September, 1931 Reverend Jones’ wife, Connie passed and in May, 1932, he followed her in death.  As a mark of special love and respect, the church decided not to call a new pastor until the pastoral year had expired.

Reverend Andrew W. Hill of Charlotte, North Carolina took over as pastor in 1934.  During his administration a number of auxiliaries were organized and the Missionary Society took on new life under the presidency of Sister Laura Grant (Trusedell).  Sister Bessie Hill, Reverend Hill’s wife, did much to encourage the various auxiliaries.  During his pastorate the church parsonage on Coit Street, a heating unit and the pipe organ were purchased, and the church mortgage was burned.  The following persons became members of the official boards: Deacons Harvey Charles, Jerome Hendrix, Levy Perkins, Edmond Smoot, George Williams and Henry Gartrell; Trustees Swaine Broome, James Horne, Charlie Tindal, John Thomas, Lloyd Smith, Clayton West, Prince Williams, Lonnie Thomas, Clyde Reese, Moses Small, and Houston S. Person. Reverend Hill departed this life in July, 1952.

The Reverend James J. Abney of Columbia, South Carolina, then teaching at Morris College, Sumter, South Carolina, was called to the pastorate of this church, in the fall of 1952, and served for seven years.  Reverend Abney was a very able preacher, and his wife, Sister Eunice Abney, was a great influence among the young people.

Some highlights of his pastorate were the purchase of an activity building and the remodeling of the church which gave us a much needed nursery, conference room, and kitchen.  The walks in front of the church were paved.  The Junior Missionary Society, the Gospel Choir, and the Young Woman’s Auxiliary were organized.  Deacons and trustees were installed as follows:  Deacons Houston S. Person, Sr., John D. Brewer, Sr., Nathaniel Herbert, Ernest Davis, Sr., and Prince Williams; Trustees Ernest P. Broome, Hardy Mitchell, James McFarland, Rufus Sumter, Leo Hawkins, and Hamilton Flowers.

Reverend Abney assisted the Reverend Frank Casley, a son of Trinity, in organizing the Carver Street Baptist Church.  In December, 1958, Reverend Abney resigned as pastor. 

Reverend Horace P. Sharper, pastor of the First Baptist Church, Sumter, South Carolina, accepted the call to serve in June, 1959, bringing with him his wife, Sister Jessie C. Sharper, and daughter, Georgia.

During the two years he served, much was accomplished.  The Intermediate and Pre-teen Usher Boards were organized.  New deacons and trustees were added to the existing boards: Deacons Leroy Johnson, Ozie Walker, Albert James, Jr., Mayfield Williams, and Joe King; Trustees Joe Perry, McKinley James, Strother Dupree, Samuel Addison, Freddie Hines, Johnnie James, Lee Ernest James, Robert L. Kinley, Joseph Law, Robert Scott, Eugene Thompson, Abraham Wright, Henry Young, Handy T. Harley, and David Shannon.  Under the leadership of Reverend Sharper, accomplishments were realized.  Among them were: redecorating the pulpit, installation of new lights, purchase of new heating system and a church bus.  A nursery for pre-school children was organized under the auspices of the Missionary Society.  Reverend Sharper also laid the ground work for our present financial system. In November, 1961, Reverend Sharper resigned to take up the pastorate of Abyssinian Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey.

In 1962 Reverend William P. Diggs of Rock Hill, South Carolina, then pastor of Galilee Baptist Church, York, South Carolina, and an instructor at Benedict College, Columbia, South Carolina came to lead us, bringing with him his wife, Sister Clotilda D. Diggs, a daughter, Mary Lynne, and a son, William, Jr.

Pastor Diggs laid special emphasis upon the support of our denominational objectives.  The church greatly increased its giving to missions, benevolences and education.  In an effort to lift the horizon of the church congregation and the community at-large, he secured distinguished persons to speak on given occasions.  They were prominent persons of varied persuasions.

Pastor Diggs organized the Intermediate Choir and reorganized the YWA.  A Hospitality Committee was organized in order to help assure that visitors were made to feel welcome.  An effective innovation in the worship was the “Children at Worship” to which the children looked forward with great anticipation.  To further enhance worship a beautiful Baldwin Cathedra Sonic organ was purchased in 1981.  Deacons and trustees added were: Deacons Robert L. Kinley, Taylor Diggs, James C. Horne, James McFarland, Harry S. Robinson,, Ezekiel Washington, Lloyd Crocker, Samuel L. Parker, Richard Washington, Alexander Wilson, William Swinton, Alonzo Davis, Joseph Hilton, Leonard Lowery, Marsden Owens and James E. Byrd; Trustees James F. Littles, Cleveland H. Townsend, F. Nolan Sellers, Diggs O Hill, P. Leola McCleese, Madaline H. Robinson, Nathaniel R. Alston, James Anderson, Jr., Henry Moses, William Clark, Jr., James E. Deese, Rayshaw L. Gaddy, Rufus Timmons, Marion McDowell, John A. Rainey, Bryant Moses, Jeannette C. Glenn, Elizabeth M. Thomas, Michael Jupiter, Robert L. Mack, J. Lawrence Smith, Carolyn L. Greene, and Victoria B. Paige.  The Sunday school progressed under the three most recent superintendents: Houston S. Person, Naomi H. Walters, and Betty J. Wright.  Programs were designed to better meet the needs of our youth, and the Sunday school became actively involved with local, state and national bodies.

Under the leadership of Reverend Diggs, numerous accomplishments were realized that enhanced the church physically.  In 1964, a new parsonage was completed; in 1967 property east of the church was purchased; in 1968 an educational building, comprising classrooms, spacious offices, a library and fellowship hall, was built; the sanctuary was extensively renovated in 1969 and completely furnished; steeples were placed on the church towers in 1971.  Additional property was acquired east of the church in 1973, south of the church in 1976; a much needed choir room and a facility for storage of communion ware were built in 1976.  The original church bell was mounted on the front lawn of the church in 1975 by the Gospel Choir.  Carillons (chimes) were installed and underwritten by the Senior Choir in 1976.  The conference room was furnished in 1977.  A Baldwin Howard Grand piano was purchased in June, 1985.

An additional 1-3/4 acres of land was bought in 1983 on which a substantial masonry building is located (the Trinity Annex).  The building was extensively refurbished and serves as meeting rooms for various auxiliary meetings and the community at-large.  In January, 1987 much needed and long desired property was acquired west of the main church building, which includes the old Seaboard Railroad depot.  A modern multi-purpose building was erected in 1997, which houses the preschool, additional Sunday school classrooms, meeting rooms, and a fully equipped kitchen.  Valuable property on North Dargan Street was purchased in 2010, which houses a restaurant, barber and beauty shops, and a place of worship, and serves as revenue for the church.

Our preschool operates under a separate board, and is fully accredited by the Department of Social Services and registered with the South Carolina Department of Education.

A federal credit union was chartered in 1969 and does much to assist the membership in the area of finance.

Dr. Diggs retired from the pastorate in December, 2012.

Reverend Preston H. Winkler of Columbia served as Interim Pastor from September, 2013 – March, 2015.

A Pastoral Search Committee, consisting of Brothers Alonzo Davis, Chairperson, James Deese, Michael Jupiter, Marsden Owens, Alexander Wilson, and Sisters Jeannette C. Glenn, Secretary, Lillian Grant, Valencia Moses-Brand, Charlene G. Lowery, Marva Smalls and Janeen Thomas, was elected in February, 2013, and began the search for a new leader. The committee worked long hours and endured much heartache as they searched for the man of God’s own choosing.  In February of 2015 the Reverend Dr. Calvin E. Robinson, Jr., then pastoring in Milford, Connecticut, was called to be our undershepherd.  Pastor Robinson began preaching to Trinity Baptist Church on Resurrection Sunday, April 5, 2015. 

Special emphasis is placed upon our being a “servant church” acting responsibly, individually and collectively, in following the will of God, as is revealed in every era.  We are to watch over each other and discern that love makes for giving priority to the guidance of our Maker.

Last Published: August 24, 2015 4:56 PM