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The History of ArnoldView FreeWill Baptist Church
The place was rural Creal Springs, Illinois and the date was September 21, 1916. The initial meeting was held at the Arnold School located 5 miles south of Crab Orchard. The service was opened with prayer by Bro. John Smothers. The sermon was delivered by Rev. Pete Williams, and the church was called into organization by Re. H.W. Rodgers. The charter members of the church were: Sarah Rodgers, James Rodgers, Sula Beasley, Elza Beasley, Jack Isham, Willie Marks, and Morton Diefenbach.
The Bible was presented, the church covenant adapted, and the name chosen. Arnold View Free Will Baptist Church was born. The original building was on the opposite side of the road from its current location. When it was destroyed by a storm, the church was relocated across the road. Later, it too, was destroyed by a storm, but the church was rebuilt on the same location.
In 1975 the church acquired Arnold School which was about 100 yards from church and was located closer to Stonefort Road. After consideration to move the church building to the school site, it was decided to build a new church adjoining the school. The first services were held in the new building November 9, 1980.
Sadly, records for the first several years are incomplete and vague; however, names such as Pete Williams, Henry Rodgers, Uncle James Rodgers, Bennie McNeelley and J.E.Marks are found to indicated they played prominent parts in the ministry of the church through the decade of the twenties.
According to church records Bro. Willard Harris was pastor in September 1931 and continued until September 1933 when Bro. Carl Downey was elected. Bro. Downey served as pastor until Oren Copher was elected in October 1934. Bro. Pat Larcy was elected in December 1935 and served until July 1936 when Bro. Charlie Stallions was elected.
Bro. Willard Harris followed Bro. Stallions and served his second term as pastor from April to August 1938. It was not until July 1939 that Bro. Hubert Little was elected and the following July 1940, Bro. Everett Albright was elected. Bro. Marshall Jones was pastor from November 1941 until October 1942. It was at that time that Bro. Jasper Armstrong began his first of three pastorates at Arnold View. In June 1944, Bro. Little was elected for the second time; he pastored until November 1945 when Bro. Albright took the church. In March 1946, Jasper Armstrong was elected and served until June 1948.
Bro. Vernell Clark was elected August 1948 and served until August 1950 when Bro. Armstrong took the church for the third time. In October 1951, Bro. Lepton Harpoole was elected and served as pastor until the time of his death in 1957. From June 1957 until July 1958, Bro. Albert Harris, Willard Harris’s son, was pastor. From May 1958 until May 1960 Bro. Vernell Clark serves his second term at Arnold View. In May 1960, Bro. George Ritter was elected and served until January 1968.
It was in 1960 that the church joined the Illinois State Association of Free Will Baptists. Bro. C.J. Ketteman served the church for the year from March 1968 to March 1969. Bro. Gene Norris was elected in March 1969 and resigned in March 1971. Bro. George Ritter began his second term in July 1971 and served as pastor until July 1974. During the time of his service, he and his wife, Reba, were in a serious accident and Bro. Ivan Ryan filled in for him. Bro. Don Umphleet was pastor of the church from September 1974 until August 1975.
Bro.Ivan Ryan was pastor from August 1975 until September 1983. Bro. Mike Newman filled in through August and September of 1983. Gene Parton was elected September 1983 and served until November 1986. Bro. Jerry Presley served as pastor from January 1987 until March 1988. During his service, Bro. Jerry was struck by a heart attack and became unable to preach. Bro. Bill McDonald filled in as interim from September 1987 until August 1988. Bro. Don Stephenson filled in August 1988 until October 1988.
Bro.Burt Hall served as pastor from November 1988 until July 1997. Bro. Bill McDonald again served as interim from July until mid-October 1997.
From October 1997 until the present time the pastor has been Ivan Ryan.
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