Mt. Moriah Baptist Church, (formerly known as Mount Moriah Free Will Baptist Church), was founded under the leadership of Rev. P. A. Boswell. The land was purchased from Robert and Rebecca Boteler in 1889 for the sum of $100. Robert Anderson, patriarch, and one of the founding
members of Mt. Moriah, along with other members, built the church, and it was completed on May 1, 1990. Other founding members included James Beaner, Ezra Bush, Simon Turner, Eliza Johnson, Benjamin Hill, and Joseph Brown and their families. Although Reverend Boswell initiated the building of the church, Reverend Godridge Dandrige was the first minister to preach at Mt. Moriah.
About 50 years before Mount Moriah was founded, the small African American community was evangelized by Rev. Thomas W. Henry, an A.M.E. itinerant preacher who traveled by horseback to establish churches in the area. Then five missionaries from New England helped establish 12 churches in the Shenandoah Valley Area. The missionaries worked under the Shenandoah Valley Yearly Meeting. This organization later became known as the Brackett-Morrell Baptist Association. This association had a strong anti-slavery stance and made decisions to ordain Negroes into the ministry. The organization also supported the ordination of women in the ministry.
In 1881, the Brackett-Morrell Baptist Association was organized. The purpose of this organization was to help the early churches in the WV, VA, and MD areas that had been established to give freed slaves a place to worship as they wished. In 1911, the Brackett-Morrell Association became affiliated with the American Baptist Churches USA.
Finally, Mt. Moriah became affiliated with the American Baptist Churches of the South also known as ABCOTS.
Over the years, various pastors have served at Mt. Moriah. They included the Reverends Newman, Evans, Wallace, Craven, Berry, Saunders, Parker, and Madison. During the early days, Reverend Guy Fisher, a Methodist minister, served the church when the pastor was absent. Reverend William Claybon served for over 30 years from the 1950’s to 1986. After Reverend Claybon retired, he was succeeded by Reverend Nathaniel Woods. In 1982, the term “free will” was dropped from the name of the church. In 1990, the church celebrated its centennial anniversary. We have also had Reverend Thomas Scott, Reverend Eugene Holmes, Reverend Dr. Sherman L. Lambert, and Reverend Gordon Fox, and Reverence John Taylor, who continued to provide spiritual leadership and kept the church involved in various programs and outreach activities.
Mt. Moriah’s current pastor is Reverend Christopher Jackson. With God’s grace and direction, Mt. Moriah looks forward to many years of Kingdom building with Pastor Jackson as our shepherd.
Over the years, men who have served as Deacons of the church include, Peter T. Harris, Richard T. Harris, Charlie Mathews, Clarence Smothers, Earl Smith, and Charles Weedon. Charlie Mathews also served as church clerk and treasurer at that time. Camille Robbins, Mary Harris-Gross, and Anna Smothers served as Deaconess, and Camille Robbins served as treasurer in later years. Diana Weedon served as a deaconess in later years. The first trustees included Reuben Brackett, Jerry Brown, Daniel Brown, Charles W. Bush, William Rideout, James Beaner, John F. Brown, Peter T. Harris, Ezra Bush, Arthur Sands, and Daniel Mathews. Trustees who later served Mount Moriah include Russell Robbins, George Brown, and Lawrence Harris. Lawrence Harris also took over duties as church clerk in later years. Shirley Ann Scott served as president of the hospitality committee for many years, and Earnestine Elizabeth Harris served for four decades as the church and choir pianist.
Currently, James W. Fisher and James Brown serve as Deacons. Edith Weedon, Teresa Harris, and Lauren Harris serve as Deaconesses. Trustees are Harold Brown, James Brown, Cherrie Williams, Joyce Harris-Campbell, and Frieda March. Frieda March serves as church clerk, and Harold Brown serves as church treasurer.
The members of Mount Moriah are looking forward to a bright and exciting future. We are moving from being the “little church on the hill in the valley (130 years)”, to the church that God has called to impact not only the valley, the state, and even this nation . . . for generations to come.