The Central Virginian

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Enon Christian Church

Posted on Friday, November 10, 2017 at 5:00 am

Enon Church

In 1858, as the results of many influences, there came into existence Enron Church, now known as Enron Christian Church, located eight miles north of Louisa Courthouse.

It was natural that Louisa County should be blessed with many Christian churches for it was here that Alexander Campbell and his co-workers spent much time expounding their creed, the Bible.

Rev. James Morris Bagby, a Louisa man, served as pastor of Bethany Church (near Buckner) which was built in 1826. Bethany, the oldest church of this denomination in Virginia, was the start of the many Christian churches in Louisa County.

In 1829, Salem was organized with John Walton, Samuel Meredith and William C. Thomas as trustees. Both John Walton and Samuel Meredith were close kin of William Baker, who was to focus the building of Enon. (St. John 3:23)

Some time prior to 1858, W. K. Pendleton of Louisa, a young lawyer, had married Lavinia M. Campbell, daughter of Alexander Campbell, and accepted a professorship at Bethany College. He served as co-editor of The Millennial Harbinger, a monthly published at Bethany, Va., by A. Campbell.

In January 1856, The Millennial Harbinger carried these instructions: “The duties of an evangelist are not merely to convert sinners and plant churches. He must also water them and set in order everything that is wanting to perfect their organization.”

Rev. James Morris Bagby, W. K. Pendleton, R. M. Kent and John Walton appear to have lived by these quoted instructions, and they stand as representatives of the four establishments mentioned in the article. R. M. Kent wrote “Early History of the Disciples of Christ or Christian Church in Louisa County,” but the copy known to have stayed in Louisa County has been misplaced.

The only old reference that the writer can find to Enon is from “Convention held May 13, 1859 at Olive Branch, James City County, VA.,” reporting on Sunday Schools – “Salem, Stony Point, Enon and Gordonsville reported informally their respective schools, but no particulars in connection with them.”

When William Baker, Jr. deeded Enon to her trustees in 1858, both his mother, Mary Walton Baker, and his wife, Jane Mansfield Baker, had passed on. John M. Baker, Robert M. Baker, Elwood Mansfield, John R. Marshall, John T. Quarrels and Robert M. Kent were the trustees to whom the land was deeded by William Baker, Jr. William Baker, 82 years of age, (St. John 3:4-5) displayed his complete conversation to the church, known at that time as the Church of Reformers or Disciples, in the contents of the deed, “Meeting house is to be for the exclusive use of said denomination” – “A portion of said lot to be used for a graveyard by said denomination of they think proper to do so.” It seemed very fitting that one of Enon’s most earnest workers should, per her request, have been buried in the designated yard.

It is also rather conclusive that Joseph W. Baker, 19 years of age in 1858, should have helped with the erection of Enon and in the restoration of the building after the raid in the 1861-65 conflict. The marred communion service is all that remains as evidence of this raid.

The turn of the century found the doors of Enon closed and the building in need of repairs. Rev. Wallace Cave, Mr. Pat Massie and Dr. Joseph W. Baker, Sr. were the most active charter members in reviving Enon at this time, together with their families; however, there were so many laborer in that work one hesitates to centralize it. To Dr. Baker it would appear that Enon Church was a symbol of Christianity throughout most of his life. He was an earnest worker at the time and guaranteed Rev. Omer’s salary for that first year. Rev. Cave was a leader from the pulpit as well as in restoring the building. Mr. Massie gave his support in every way and by this writer is remembered as a model Christian of his church and county.

Preachers know to have served as evangelists from Enon’s pulpit were Landon Cutler, Z. Parker Richardson, R. V. Omer, J. B. Hunley, Charles Elmore, J. T. Watson, H. J. Seaman, D. E. Hanna, Joe L. Nelson, Dr. W. M. Forest, Richard Bagby, Edward Bagby, Wallace Cave, Dr. John Tate, Ashby Waddy, Dr. P. A. Cave, E. B. Motley, C. M. Ford, Mitchell Hoye, Sr., J. D. Kitchen, H. D. Coffey, Rev. Harvey Powell, Joseph Ernest and Rev. R. A. Atkins, who was pastor for many of the last years.

The first screen picture ever seen by many local people was at Enon when Z. Parker Richardson gave a lantern slide of Ten Nights in the Bar Room, singing the words that were flashed on a screen with pictures.

Enon Church had a membership of 67 in 1946 according to its record and we find stated in the records August 31, 1957, “Enon has closed for the time.” The building is still standing as a landmark in its community and many happy memories still occupy the minds of its former members and friends. We cannot close this article without citing the labors  and deep devotion of the late Mrs. John Cave and Mrs. Robert H. Powell in continuing the church through its latter days.

Submitted by Mildred Baker Bourne

Reprinted from The Central Virginian Thursday, Oct. 31, 1957


Enon Church today

In February 4, 1990, the Rev. Gertrude E. Smith established Christ Temple Church.  The building, formerly Enon Christian Church, had been unoccupied for more than 40  years and was in need of significant repairs.  Pastor Smith, with inspiration from God and equipped with a few members and several willing volunteers, made considerable improvements in the five and a half years she pastored Christ Temple Church. The Rev. Diane D. Lewis, daughter of the late Rev. G. E. Smith, became pastor and spiritual leader of this congregation on Oct. 9, 1997.