History of the Carolina Baptist Association
Carolina Association was organized at Double Springs Baptist Church on October 19, 1877. This organization included six churches: Double Springs, Mountain Page, Gap Creek, Mountain Hill, Cross Roads and Oak Grove.
The Henderson County Association was organized at Old Salem Church in Fletcher, October 19, 1882 with eleven churches: Hendersonville, Hoopers Creek, Salem, Refuge, Ebenezer, French Broad, Mud Creek, Pleasant Hill, Mills River, Boilston and Pleasant Grove. This association and the Carolina Association covered the same territory and after four years the Henderson County Association dissolved and the churches united with the Carolina.
Thomas E. Thompson was the first Field Worker or Associational Missionary mentioned in the minutes. He was called on May 10, 1944 and served eleven months and nine days, until July 9, 1945. One thing mentioned as his work was a Mission School held from July 30 - August 4, 1944.
Erskin V. Plemmons came to Carolina Association on June 1, 1946 and served until August, 1947. He published the first newsletter for the Association. The office was located at the Hunter Building on South Main Street.
Roy D. Campbell served from 1950 until 1953. Conferring, counseling and assisting are the words used to describe his service. He assisted about 100 people to go to the Baptist Hospital.
At the January 31, 1954 quarterly meeting, Roy C. Bennett made the following motion," I move that the Moderator, with four Superintendents, W.M.S., B.T.J.U., Brotherhood and Sunday School, be authorized and empowered to employ a secretary and open an office in Hendersonville until such time as we can elect a Field Worker. Mrs. Fred J. Swift was employed as Secretary.
January 1, 1955, Clay R. Barnes was called as Associational Missionary to serve in Carolina Association and Transylvania Association. An office was opened in his home. Clay Barnes served until 1966.
The Association had met quarterly, in addition to the Annual session, since it was organized. On August 9, 1966, it was voted to discontinue the fifth Sunday meetings.
Zeb Baker came as Associational Missionary in 1967 and served until April, 1968. His office was in the Hunter Building on South Main Street. In 1968 the office was moved to the Staton Building on 4th Avenue West. Mrs. Carolyn Surrett, Mrs. Gene Schuyler, Mrs. John Rymer have served as Secretary for the Association office.
Guthrie Colvard came as Superintendent of Missions in March of 1968 and served until June, 1974. A world Missions Conference, a New York Crusade and work with churches and leaders are listed as his work.
Latt Beshears came as Director of Missions in February of 1975 and served until March, 1979. Bearwallow Baptist Camp is probably the most remembered work for him.
Ron Pinkerton came as Director of Missions on December 1, 1979 and served until May, 1991. The move to the present office building (601 Hebron Street), restructuring for work of the Association, work with churches in growth planning, meeting with committees and individuals, full time office hours and planning with councils and committees are some of the things that were done under his leadership.
Dr. Alex Booth, former president of Fruitland Institute for 25 years, came as interim Director of Missions in 1991. This soon led to a permanent position and partnership with Rev. Zeke Crawford. He served Carolina Baptist Association until passing away on August 3, 1998 at the age of 73. Alex will be remembered as a great witness for the Lord, a very positive person and never seeking to be in the "spotlight." He was always concerned for others and not himself. He enjoyed his work immensely and was solely committed to the work of the Association.
Dr. Henry S. (Sandy) Beck, III came in March, 2000 and served until June 2015. Sandy came from Kennesaw, Ga., where he served 17 years as executive pastor of Kennesaw First Baptist Church. During his time as Director of Missions, Sandy was the Chair and Board member of Open Arms Crisis Pregnancy Center, Board member of Interfaith Assistance ministries, Membership Chair of Henderson County Ministerial Association; Pastor, Place, and Program Committee Member of the North Carolina Baptist State Convention, Vice President of the North Carolina Baptist Associational Missions Fellowship, and Professor of Church Administration/Leadership at Fruitland Baptist Bible College.
Carolina Baptist Association celebrated its 100th anniversary on October 24, 1977 at Double Springs Baptist Church. This was the site of the first meeting of the Association when it was organized on October 19, 1877.
Dr. Michael Smith, D. Min, the current Director of Missions, came to the Carolina Baptist Association in May 2016. Michael was born in Marion, NC. He was the senior pastor at Fruitland Baptist Church from June 1991 until April 2016, serving a total of 25 years. Michael also serves as Literature and Practical (Pastoral) Theology instructor at Fruitland Baptist Bible College. Michael's goal for the association and our community is to commit to being "better together", and strives to bring our local Southern Baptist churches together for the common goal of glorifying God and building His kingdom.
The present office staff includes Dr. Michael Smith, D. Min , Director of Missions; Rev. Sam Gibbs, Director of Church & Community Missions; Paula Janes, Finance/Office Manager.