Dicy McCullough: Trading Ford Baptist Church shines
I grew up almost at the front door of Trading Ford Baptist Church. This church, for me, not only lifted me up when I was down, but also was my anchor through the storms and challenges I faced as a young girl. When I left for college, I never came back to attend church there full time. It didnít matter, though, because it has and will always be a part of me. The church sits nestled in the community of Trading Ford, which is a beautiful little community that has not seen much change over 50 years. Many of the same families live in the same houses they did when I was growing up.
Trading Ford Baptist Church became a part of this community when the first church was built in 1871. The early church was very strict. The following description, taken from a church pictorial published in April 2000, details just how strict the expectations were. ěMembers were dismissed from the church for offenses such as cutting hay on Sunday, denying just debt, obstinacy, disorderly conduct, or failing to attend services. If a member asked for forgiveness, he would then not be excluded from membership.î Iím sure todayís members are glad those expectations have been relaxed.
Itís impossible to think of this church without looking at the history of its pastors. There have been four full-time pastors since 1928: the Rev. R.N. Huneycutt, the Rev. Banks Mullis, the Rev. David Blanton and the Rev. Mike Motley, the current pastor. Reverend Huneycutt actually came to Trading Ford in 1921 but wasnít hired full-time until 1928. He had a personality the older members can still recall stories about. Some said it wasnít unusual for members of the congregation or neighbors to show up at his house unannounced. They would visit for a while, and then Reverend Huneycutt would decide it was time to have a sing-along. This could go on for hours, at which time Mrs. Huneycutt would excuse herself to go into the kitchen and warm up something for a late-night meal. Others recalled the baptisms that took place in the pond just off Dukeville Road near the Buck Steam Plant. A picture in the Salisbury Post about 60 years ago shows at least 10 people in the water being baptized. Iím glad the church had a baptismal pool by the time I was baptized.
I heard over and over again how much Reverend Huneycutt loved not only God, but people as well. Under his leadership, the church flourished and grew. Perhaps this philosophy about spiritual matters and life is what set the tone for the modern day church. Trading Ford, still today, believes serving God through serving others is one of the most important things a Christian can do. While it may be true Reverend Huneycutt set the tone, all of the pastors who followed have shared the same vision and leadership. That may be why there have been only four full-time pastors since 1928.
I attended Trading Ford during Pastor Banks Mullisí years. The church and parsonage were within sight of my house, so church was just a walk down the road. Pastor Mullis was a strong leader, and yet, he would take the time to talk when there was a need. He and Mrs. Mullis will always have a special place in my heart. Mrs. Mullis, for many years, was the director of Vacation Bible School. It was during one of those Vacation Bible Schools that I became a Christian. I can remember that experience like it was yesterday.
One of the obvious developments in recent years has been the new worship center. Any time a church faces such a major change, it takes a lot of courage and trust. However, when the first members established the church in 1871, that too took a lot of courage and trust. If the founding members of Trading Ford Baptist Church could come back today, they would see a church whose light shines not only in the community, but also into the far corners of the earth through the lives of those who have passed through its doors. Trading Ford Baptist Church, what a blessing you have been not only in my life, but in so many others, and will continue to be for years to come.
Dicy McCullough of Salisbury is the author of the childrenís book, ěTired of My Bath.î