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Full text of "Historical sketch of the Presbyterian Church of Pelzer, S.C."

PRESBYTERIAN COLLEGE LIBRARY 




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Historical Sketch 
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PELZER, ©. C. 



BY THE PASTOR, 



© F^ex-'. C L^. Stewart, ® 



Delivered Sunday, Jan. 10, 1897. 



Printed by order of the Session for distribution 
among the Congregation. 



••Thou croivnest the year with Thy good 

vess " — Psalms 65 :11. 



ONE year ago today we had the pleasure 
of occupying this house of worship for 
the first time. On that day we commit- 
ted our ways unto the Lord for the new year 
and began our first work as Pastor and people. 
Hence it is highly appropriate for us to spend 
an hour of this our first anniversary in review- 
ing the goodness of God toward us as a Church 
during the past year. As no previous review 
has been made, the officers of tlris Church have 
requested that a brief historical sketch of the 
work of the Presbyterian Church in this town 
be now given. 

To do this we go back to the Spring of 1881 : 
and we find that the family of the President of 
the Pelzer Co. was the first Presbyterian family 
to take up their abode upon these, then barren, 
hills. During that year they were joined by other 
Presbyterian families from Williamston, Pied- 
mont and surrounding country. During- the 
Summer of 1881 these few Presbyterians, to- 
gether with the Baptist and Methodist brethren, 
organized a Union Sabbath School which met 
every Sabbath in the hall over the store now 
occupied by Brown, Williams & Co. In that 
hall was delivered by your Pastor, the first ser- 



mon ever preached in this town, the date of 
which was Nov. 20, 1881. The text used was: 
"Stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striv- 
ing together for the faith of the Gospel." (Phil. 
1 :27. ) That sermon was preached by special 
request of Mr. Ellison A. Smyth, President of 
Pelzer Co. During that year and the year 1882 
these Presbyterians secured occasional preach- 
ing" as they could, and sent up a petition to the 
Spring" meeting of Presbytery (1883) to be or- 
ganized as a Church. 

On the 29th of October, 1883, they were or- 
ganized as a Church by a Commission of S. C. 
Presbytery, consisting of Rev. J. B. Adger, 
D. D.,~Rev. J. O. Lindsay, D. D., and Rev. J. L. 
Martin, D. D., with Elders Carver Randal and 
Thos. F. Anderson. 

The organization consisted of the following 
persons: Mr. Ellison A. Smvtb, Mrs. Julia G. 
Smyth, Mr. J. W. Williams and Mrs. Williams, 
Mr. B. F. Guy and Mrs. Guy, Mr. A. B. Car- 
penter, Mr. Thos. Seddon and Mr. Walter Cam- 
eron. Of this number Mr. B. F. Guy and Mr. 
J. W. Williams were made Elders, and Mr. 
Walter Cameron, Mr. Thos. Seddon and M*\ 
A. B. Carpenter, Deacons. 

The newly organized Church then employed 
your present pastor as stated supply for one- 
fourth of his time on a salary of 165.00. This 
Church w 7 as then grouped with the Piedmont, 
Williamston and Honea Path Presbyterian 
Churches. The group paying an annual salary 
of 836."). <>o. At the expiration of six months 
your stated supply resigned, leaving this Church 
vacant. During the years of 1884 and 1885 we 
do not find any record of the Church having had 
any regular supply, but it was able to secure 



occasional preaching" from Rev. J. B. Adger, 
D. D., Dr. F. P. Mulally. Dr. J. L. Martin, Rev. 
J. H. Colton, Rev. J. L. Brownlee, and my- 
self. 

In January, 1886, I was called back to this 
Church as stated supply for half ray time 
on a salary of $300.00. This arrangement 
was continued until the close of 1895. At the 
beginning of 1886 the membership of this 
Church numbered 22. 



13 additions. 


16 




23 


• 


20 


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. 


16 


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23 


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During 1886 ther<- were 

1887 . " 

1888 " 

1889 " 

1890 " 
1891 

1892 " 

1893 " 

1894 " 
1895 

During 1885 Mr. Thos. McElroy was made a 
Deacon, and Mr. W. A. Blake an Elder in Aug. 
1886. The Eldership was again increased in 
1890 by the election of Mr. W. B. Dickson, and 
the Board of Deacons by the election of Mr. 
Thos. Carpenter, Mr. Wm. Ivester and Mr. A. 
L. Blake. 

In 1895 Mr. Ellison A. Smyth, who had re- 
turned to Pelzer to live, Mr. W. S. Ramsay and 
Mr. J. L. Blair were made Elders, and Mr. J. 
B. Bonner, Mr.P.D. Wade, Mr T M. Jenkins and 
Mr. J. Adger Smyth, Jr. were made Deacons. 

During the nine years of the stated supply 
system there were 126 additions to the Church. 
68 were given certificates of dismission and one 
was excommunicated. 



The average annual contributions of the 
Church (including" salary) during" these nine 
years was about $400.00. Yet in this, as in 
membership, there was a steady increase. For 
example, the salary increased from $300 to 
$600, and other contributions increased at about 
the same ratio. 

While these statistics do not show any mark- 
ed or rapid increase, yet they do show a steady, 
healthy development, and shows conclusively 
that the Lord has crowned all these past years 
with His goodness. Especially has the year 
just past (1896) been abundantly crowned with 
His goodness. In His good providence He per- 
suaded and enabled His people here to com- 
plete this beautiful house of worship, which 
was dedicated to God's service without one 
dollar of debt. It was dedicated by the Rev. 
G. R. Brackett, D. D., on the first Sabbath of 
February, 1896. Although I was called to be 
your Pastor in September, 1895, to give you 
my entire time and services, yet we did not be- 
gin our work as Pastor and people until the 
second Sabbath of January, 1896. And the 
Pastor's formal installation did not take place 
until the third Sabbath in February, 1896, 
which was done by the following commission 
from S. C. Presbytery, viz: Rev. J. Lowrie 
Wilson, D. D., Rev. D. E. Frierson, D. D., Rev. 
B. P. Reid, with Elders W. P. Nesbitt and A. 
Sadler. 

During this past, first, year of your Pastor's 
work he has preached 90 sermons, delivered 4* 
lectures, conducted 50 prayer services, con- 
ducted 21 burial sei vices, married 22 couples, 
baptized 3 adults and 10 infants. He has made 
373 Pastoral visits, 130 visits to the sick, 133 



6 

calls on strangers and visitors in town. 

There have been 57 additions to the member- 
ship during* the year. Three have been given 
certificates of dismission. Our membership 
now numbers 142. During" the year the angel 
of death has taken from our numbers one 
father, one mother, and two little ones; 
while w T e mourn their loss, yet we recognize 
'these sad dispensations of Providence as being 
a part of God's goodness which has not only 
crowned the departing }~ear but also crowned 
our departed loved ones in glory. Take any 
view of the past year you may and you cannot 
fail to be impressed with the idea that the 
Lord has crowned it with His goodness. 

It has been suggested that our text repre- 
sents the old year as a victorious athlete who 
has finished the race, won the prize, and now 
stands before the judge to receive the crown 
of reward. The crown placed upon the brow 
of the past year is the golden circle of God's 
goodness. And examining this crown of good- 
ness we find it richly studded with many bright 
and precious gems of grace, such as divine 
favor and loving kindness, divine guidance and 
divine mercy. The gem that attracts our at- 
tention most in this crown is: 

I. God's favor, which to us lias been life, and His 
loving kindness, which has been better than life. 

Truly His favor and loving kindness have 
cheered and animated us during the whole year 
in every department of His service. 

1. For example: What prompted these few 
Presbyterians to build this beautiful house of 
worship at so great a sacrifice? Was it not 
.heir graetful remembrances of His past favors 



and loving" kindness. 9 Yes, the goodness of 
God not only leads to repentance but when 
duly appreciated it inspires the soul with love 
and energizes the will with new zeal. 

2. Why was the whole project oi building exe- 
cuted so promptly without accident or loss of 
time, life, or means? Humanly speaking this 
is all attributable to the superior energy and 
wisdom of the committee to whom the work 
was entrusted. But whence had they that 
superior energy and wisdom? Was not that 
energy a ray of life from the Divine will, and 
that wisdom a ray of light from the Divine 
mind? In all their efforts they were crowned 
with Divine favor and goodness which not only 
gave them wisdom to direct, but energy to exe- 
cute. 

3. Why did all our people respond so liberal- 
ly of their means to this call of Providence? 
That was but the cheerful response of gratiude 
for God's past favors and loving kindness to- 
wards them. 

4. Why have our Sabbath School, and our 
ladies and children societies been so harmoni- 
ous and progressive during the past year? 
Again we point to the gem of Divine favor 
which has been the life of our schools and 
societies, and to that loving kindness which 
has been to them better than life. 

Look at this gracious circle of Divine good 
ness as you may, and you cannot but be at- 
tracted by the gem of God's favor and loving 
kindness. 

II. Another gem that adorned this crown of good- 
ness was God's constant (/aiding care of us bothasa 
Church and as individuals. 



Had that kind care and guidance been with- 
drawn for a single day of the 865 not one of us 
would have been here today to recount His 
,<;"o >;lness and mercy toward us. 

One after another the days have come and 
gone, and we have gone about our daily duties 
and pleasures, often unmindful of the unseen 
hand that was disposing - our lot, guiding" all 
our affairs and aiding in all our feeble efforts. 
If we have accomplished anything worthy of 
record, it was because our Father's kind hand 
guided and upheld us. 

The precious souls who have been brought 
within the fold during the year were not 
brought in by us, but by the good Shepherd 
through the agency of the Holy Spirit using us 
as instruments. 

With deep contrition we confess that we 
have been unprofitable servant. But now is 
the time to seek and obtain forgiveness. Now 
is the time to behold and appreciate that other 
lovety gem in the crown of the departing year, 
viz: 

III. God' 's forbearing mercy toward us. 

Let us look at and admire this gem for a 
moment. 

1. As we review the year, and gratefully re- 
count the abundant goodness with which it has 
been crowned, it is with sadness that we see 
that the beautiful picture is greatly marred 
and blotted with the ugly stains of our sins 
and shortcomings. But we look again and be- 
hold when, like sheep, we went astray, like the 
good Shepherd, Divine mercy has followed us 
in all our w r anderings, and brought us back to 
the fold ajrain and asrain. 



When, like prodigals, we absented ourselves 
from Our Father's house, and went into the 
far off country of worldliness in search of self- 
interest, worldly gain and pleasures, Our 
Father has not only borne with our indiffer- 
ence and carelessness toward Him and His ser- 
vice, but in mercy He often sent His messengers 
to bring- us home again; and upon our every re- 
turn we have found Our Father waiting- with 
outstreched arms to receive us back. Bretheren 
••what shall we render unto the Lord for all His 
goodness to us?" 

Oh, that we could praise Him as we ought 
for all His loving kindnesses and tender mer- 
cies toward us ! For as we look over the past 
and see the goodness and success with which 
God has crowned our united, feeble efforts, we 
would not presume to claim the crown for our 
selves, but gladly and gratefully do we see 
Him crown his own work with success. And 
when we remember that His favor. His guid- 
ing care, and His forbearing mercy make up 
and adorn the crown of His goodness, with the 
Psalmist we exclaim: "Not unto us, O Lord, not 
unto us. but unto Thy name be all the glory." 
"For Tltvii crownest the year with Thy good- 
ness." 

My christian friends. I desire in conclusion to 
thank you most sincerely for your confidence, 
kindness and liberality to me and mine during 
the past year. 

And while I feel my personal unworthiness 
of your confidence, and know my inability to 
requite your generous liberality, yet my heart's 
desire and prayer to God is that He will re- 
ward you. and bless you and yours, in the 
future, even more abundantly than He has in 
the past.