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On Christ, the solid rock, I stand. . . Church celebrates more than two centuries of sweet worship

To walk through the doorway of Cherokee Baptist Church this Sunday may be a little like walking through a gateway in time.
For 231 years, this country church located at 211 Mayberry Road has welcomed parishioners to worship.
And on Sept. 14, today’s church members plan to continue celebrating that legacy.
“It’s just a wonderful feeling here,” said Hazel Marie Campbell, longtime member of Cherokee Baptist. “Just walking up that aisle is (special.)”
After all, she added, the church is the oldest Baptist church in continuous operation in Tennessee.
Last week, at their Sept. 7 service, church members donned historic costumes as part of “Old Fashioned Day.” This week, they’re inviting friends, family and neighbors to take part in the church Homecoming, complete with musical guests Parable of Christ and special guest speaker, Brother Mike Garland. Sunday School is at 10 a.m, services at 11 a.m., and a potluck dinner will be served in the church pavilion after the morning activities.
Interest in the church stretches far beyond Mayberry Road.
“A lot of people have ancestors here,” explained Bill Stoots, a deacon with the church. “We get calls from California, everywhere.”
Stoots himself has deep roots with the church.
“This is what you would call a family church,” Campbell said. “There are some families like Bill’s that have been here for several generations.”
Others in the small church are relative newcomers. But are immensely proud of their church’s legacy.
According to church members:
• Cherokee Baptist Church held its first recorded meeting April 2, 1783, when the Rev. William Murphy was installed as pastor.
• In October 1786, Holston Baptist Association was organized at Cherokee, and was the first Baptist association in Tennessee.
• Cherokee Baptist Church was first a log building, then an 1860s frame church, and then the brick structure, erected in 1973, that mem-bers worship in today.
• Though the church hasn’t moved, it has been located in three states: North Carolina, State of Franklin and Tennessee.
“We’re just proud that this is here,” Stoots said.