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Church History




This history had its origin with God in the beginning of the year 1898 under the leadership of Rev. C. H. Holloway, who moved into this community from Danburg. He said when he moved that God revealed unto him to start a meeting. He obeyed the Holy Spirit and selected a place to build a church.

At first, he secured a little store room from Mrs. Sophie Mickens which was located on the corner of Butler Street and Lexington Road, now Lexington Avenue. This property was later owned by Bro William Smith and Sis. Sally Smith, members of this church; then it was owned by Mr. John Hill and his wife Gladys. The spot is now owned by Sis. Mozell Gartrell, a member of this church. The front of the building was facing Lexington Road. There were only a few present at the beginning, but they began having such good prayer meetings until the crowd was too large to have meetings there. So they organized themselves into a Christian band of workers in 1899.

The original twelve who were in the organization were: Rev. Fuller, Rev. C. H. Holloway, Deacon E. B. Walker, Deacon Robert Sutton, Deacon S. Q. Owens, Bro. Squire Adams, Sister Sophie Mickens, Bro. Jake Howard, Sister Hattie Adams, Deacon West Willis, Sister Willie Willis, and Rev. B. B. Dunn who was acting secretary. On July 7, 1899, as recorded in the deed to the land, Mark Cooper Pope gave this land for a church for the sum of $5.00 just to make it legal. The first part of the deed reads, “ STATE OF GEORGIA:COUNTY OF WILKES: This indenture made the 7th day of July eighteen hundred and ninety nine between Mark Cooper Pope of the one part and C. W. Holloway, E. R. Richardson, E. B. Walker, J. W. Willis, J. C. Howard, S. Owens, Isam Jordan, R. L. Sutton et al Trustees of Marks Tabernacle and their successors in office of the other part.”. The 12 links have been broken and gone into a land unknown, but because of their work, we are here today.

Rev. G. W. Gross and Rev. J. W. Binns, both white, were there when this church was named. The name St. Mark was suggested in honor of Mark Cooper Pope who gave this present spot for a church seat. But Rev. Gross objected to the Saint being added to that name because the Saint was too holy, and the other too earthly. He offered this name, Mark’s Tabernacle Baptist Church, and it was accepted.

The deacons decided to move, having raised their money, to the Gospelaid Hall to have their meetings while waiting for the church to be completed. Lumber was placed on the ground, and the carpenters began building on the church. But while the church stood there framed, a wind and hail storm came and blew it into splinters. They did not give up. In a few months, the building was in shape for services.

At this time, the Sunday school had its beginning. There were two classes. Bro. Squire Adams and Bro. West Willis were teachers of the Young People and Adult Classes, and Sis. Willie Willis was the teacher of the Card Class. Bro. Squire Adams was the first superintendent of the Sunday school. There were about fourteen members of the Sunday school to begin with, and the membership gradually grew larger.

There is much more we could say about the structure, but we feel like it will mean more to you for us to say something about the religious growth of the church during these years than any other in the past. During these years of Christian struggling and the evidence in our faith in God, we have had prayer meetings, revivals and great preachers to come here to win souls to Christ. There are many in the community today, who have mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, friends, and relatives, who were converted and baptized right here in this place. Once upon a time our church had a large membership. This, however, has decreased because of the moving away from this community and a falling away from Christ.

We are proud to say that we have had only 10 pastors and two interim pastors during these many years. Our first pastor was Rev. C. H. Holloway, who served us for 28 years. When he started preaching for us, we paid him $5.00. On having a larger membership added to our church, we raised his salary to $25.00 per month. Once when he was ill, Rev. E. R. McLendon served in his place. Rev. Holloway was a young minister, but was faithful in bringing souls to Christ. He ordained the following ministers: Rev. Henry Hunter, Rev. Johnny Stokes, and Rev. Jake Barksdale. While he was with us, here are some of the leading ministers who conducted successful revival meetings: Rev. N. L. Thomson, Rev. Mills, Rev. Henry Hunter, Rev. Calvin Lockhart, and Rev. A. R. Raiford.

In 1923, our church was remodeled with a brick exterior. After Rev. Holloway’s resignation in 1923, we were without a pastor for two years. We then called our second pastor, Rev. A. R. Combs in 1925. On April 7, 8, 1926, the church hosted the Third Shiloh Missionary Association Convention with the keynote speaker Dr. P. James Bryant. In 1927, the county census showed 153 members at Mark’s Tabernacle Baptist Church. We can gladly say that he was a man that stood prominent among his members. Rev. Combs served us for seven years and resigned in 1932. Then we were without a pastor for another two years.

Rev. C. H. Holloway was called a second time in 1934 after being away for nine years. He served us until his death in 1937. Then the church was without a pastor for one year.

Rev. D. H. Dixon was called from Atlanta to be our pastor in the year of 1939, and we believe that he was a man of God called to preach His word. He served us for more than a year and then resigned. Under his pastorship, Bro. Henry Taylor was set aside for a deacon.      

After a very short period of time, Rev. W. C. Turman was called to be our pastor on the 15th of November, 1940. He served us faithfully for 22 years and added many, many souls to the church. Members of the Deacon Board during his pastorship were: Dea. Henry Taylor, Dea. Johnny Laymon, Dea. Wylie Pope Jr., Dea. L. J. Jones, Dea. Y. S. Kennedy, Dea. Matthew Chapman-chairman, and Dea. Fred Adams. Rev. Turman served us until his death on July 28, 1962.         


In 1962, Rev. A. C. Neal was called from Thomson, Georgia. He ordained Rev. Young Kennedy and served us until his health caused him to resign.          


We then called Rev. Sim McIver of Atlanta, Georgia in 1967. This is a photo of Rev. McIver baptizing Peggy Yvonne Miller (Harrison). Rev. McIver served us until September, 1969. It was recorded in the records that we paid 25 cents for Conference Claim whenever we had a conference.


Rev. Lamar Davenport was called January 7, 1970. The church has been on an upward move since the beginning of his pastorship. The membership increased largely because of his faithfulness to the church. Deacons added under his leadership were Dea. Reese J. Booker in 1970, Dea. Willie Lewis Smith, Dea. Huis Randall, and Dea. Albert Shank in 1977. Bro. Earl Cox was set aside for a deacon in 2001, and Bro. Maceo Mahoney was set aside in 2003. Due to the illness of Rev. Davenport and at the request of Rev. Davenport, Rev. Robert L. Crawford became Interim Pastor in 2002. Although Rev. Crawford already pastored two churches, he faithfully served us until September 2004.


Rev. Lance A. Pitts served as Interim Pastor in October 2004 and was called as pastor in January, 2005. In our January 1, 2005 conference, it was motioned, seconded, and carried unanimously to continue paying Rev. Davenport the same salary (Love Offering) during his retirement.

The church continued to progress physically, financially, and spiritually under the leadership of Rev. Pitts with the support of his wife, Sis. Teresa Pitts. Rev. Pitts’ Installation Service was held on Sunday, January 30, 2005 with the Fellowship Banquet at the Third Shiloh Missionary Baptist Association building. On April 2, 2005, Rev. Pitts baptized his first member: Sis. Dionesia Shank. His second convert, Sis. Felicia Acree joined the church on Sunday, April 3, 2005. Rev. Pitts also reorganized the church choir. He ordained Dea. Earl Cox in 2006, and he set aside Bro. Arthur Crew, Bro. Calvin Wiggs, Bro. Michael Todd, and Bro. Demetrius Porter for future deacons in the 2006. Souls were saved during Rev. Pitt’s tenure here at Mark’s Tabernacle Baptist Church: nevertheless, he resigned on April 6, 2008.


After Rev. Pitts left, God and Deacon Albert Shank, chairman of the Deacon Board, kept the church family together. We continued with our services as usual with the help of visiting ministers and our sons of the house, Rev. Demetrice Porter and Rev. Joseph Hurley.

In 2008 and 2009, during our vacancy of a pastor, we were blessed with ministers who came to preach for us to keep the Lord’s work going on at Mark’s Tabernacle Baptist Church. They were as follows: Rev. James Williams of Athens, GA; Rev. LaRay Tillman of Atlanta, GA; Rev. Reginald Freeman of Atlanta, GA; Rev. Norman Williams of Fairburn, GA - pastor of The Historic Springfield Baptist Church in Washington, GA; and Minister Paula Andrews of Atlanta, GA. Rev. Calvin Lockhart, pastor of Bethel Baptist Church and Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Wilkes County, was the revivalist in 2008; and Rev. Reginald Wilborn, pastor of Union Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA was the revivalist in 2009. Our 111th Church Anniversary speaker was Rev. Larry Hill of Atlanta, GA – a native of Wilkes County; and Minister Paula Andrews of Atlanta, GA – a native of Wilkes County was the speaker for our Mothers Day Program.

During this time, members worked religiously to keep the church physically maintained as well. In 2009, the outside of the church was painted and wooden vents were replaced with vinyl vents.

After prayerfully seeking and much deliberation, our church called Rev. LaRay Tillman, Jr. on March 7, 2010. Rev. Tillman had served as guest minister in January and February. Rev. Tillman’s main focus was “to win souls for the kingdom, to teach, to preach and empower the body of Christ through the Word.” His motto was “It’s all about Jesus and not about me.” Leading Lady Altravise Tillman, his advocate, organized the Women’s Department.

Bro. Dimytri Wiggs, Bro. Derrick Curry, Sis. Darien Todd, Sis. Gladys Mays, Sis. Hattie Butler, Sis. Tracey Leigh Wilder, and Sis. Betty Wylie joined our band of worshipers in 2010, and many other souls added during Rev. Tillman’s tenure.

In May 2010, we celebrated our 112th Church Anniversary - Rev. Larry Hill, native of Wilkes County, was guest speaker. This day was also designated Deacon Board Chairman Albert Shank's Day for his leadership role while the church was without a pastor. On May 15th - MTBC honored our 2010 graduates: Sis. Jennifer Shank - Master's degree, Sis. Alicia Finnell - Doctorate degree, and Dionesia Shank - High School Diploma. June 27 was the date of Rev. Tillman's Installation Program. Following his installation, we purchased a small table and two chairs for pastor's study, made Public Address System modifications, replaced two water coolers for vestibule and fellowship hall, purchased offering baskets, and purchased a set of reversible paraments.    

In July, Annual Revival speakers were Rev. Dennis Quinn, Rev. Paul Hull, Rev. R. L. Nunnally, Rev. Reginald Hunter, and Rev. Willie Strickland.

In September, Bro. Murray Butler and Sis. Kay Finnell were delegates to the 120th Session of Third Shiloh Missionary Baptist Association.

On February 20, 2011, the church had its 1st Pastor’s Aide Ministry Anniversary at 3:00 p.m. Rev. R. L. Nunnally of White Plains, GA and pastor of Rock Hill Baptist Church was the speaker.

The pastor’s study was renovated because of water damage. On June 1, 2012, the church purchased 4 computers for educational purposes with internet connection and a small air conditioner. On June 9, 2012, we purchased a 15-passenger van. The members painted the inside of the sanctuary in 2012, also.

Community projects included helping the Washington-Wilkes Athletics Department. In October, 2012, the church purchased the property across the street at 224 Lexington Avenue for a minimal amount from Mrs. Jacqueline Willis, the wife of a native of Wilkes County, the late Henry Willis, Jr. of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.

In 2011 Bro. Arthur Crew and Bro. Calvin Wiggs were set aside for deacons, and Dea. Arthur Wingfield and Dea. Murray Butler were ordained in 2012. 

In 2012, we began our “3rd Sunday” morning service at 11:30 on June 17.

Installation Service for Rev. Larry L. Hill - Mark’s Tabernacle Baptist Church’s sanctuary was filled to capacity for the Rev. Larry L. Hill’s Installation Service on Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. Dr. Alicia Finnell of Appalachian State University presided. Devotional service was led by MTBC and guest deacons from sister churches in the Third Shiloh Missionary Baptist Association. 

Following the procession was the pinning of the flowers by Eddie and Kay Finnell. The welcome was given by Jeraline Bell. Rev. Jabare Smith read the scripture, and Apostle Tony Hill of Renewing of the Minds Ministry gave the invocation. Rev. Uland Nolley, son of the House of Word of God Ministries, was the guest speaker. The title of his sermon was “A Purpose Driven Church.” He emphasized that in order to have a purpose driven church, we must have a leader, the leader must be called, and he must have a vision. The charge to the pastor and first lady was given by Rev. Ed Anderson, Sr. Judge, Municipal Court for the City of Washington. The charge to the church was given by Rev. Dr. Reginald L. Hunter, moderator of the Third Shiloh Missionary Baptist Association. The installation prayer was given by Rev. Lance Pitts of Gibson Grove Baptist Church in Washington, Georgia and Mt

. Calvary in Greensboro, Georgia. Gifts were presented to Pastor and First Lady Hill by Mark’s Tabernacle’s Deacon Board Chair Albert Shank and representatives from the Pastor’s Aide Team, Peggy A. Sims and Gladys Mays. Special remarks were given by Servant Clara Sutton and former Mayor Willie Burns. Music for the program was provided by the House of God for All Nations and the MTBC Ensemble. Rev. Hill gave the pastoral response, grace, and benediction.


January 5, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. – Installation Service for Rev. Larry L. Hill as Pastor of Mark’s Tabernacle Baptist Church. Rev. Uland Nolley was the guest speaker. His topic: “A Purpose Driven Church.”

  • Bible Study – New Bible Study time became NOON on Wednesdays.
  • March 16 - MTBC Senior Choir Anniversary at 2:00 p.m.The speaker was Evangelist Belinda Douglas of Atlanta Missionary Apostolic Ministry in Atlanta, GA. She has recorded a single and an album, and has toured throughout the U. S.
  • March 22 - The Third Shiloh Association Banquet was on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. Each church was asked to pay $250 for the tickets and $40 for the food.
  • March 23 - Third Shiloh Association’s 100 Men in Black Program, Sunday 4:00 p.m. Speaker: Rev. Norman Williams of Historic Springfield Baptist Church in Washington, GA. Each church was asked to represent with $500.
  • April 12– Historic Mark’s Tabernacle was on Tour of Homes in Washington.
  • April 20 –Youth Day Program- 11:30 – Minister Sheena Hull was the speaker.
  • May 4 – Historic Mark’s Tabernacle Baptist Church 116th Church Anniversary – Rev. Kavius Young of Clifford Grove Baptist Church was the guest speaker
  • May 25 – Reese J. Booker Scholarship Program
  • June 27-29 – Wilkes Sunday School Union. Rev. Hill was the speaker on the 27.
  • July 28-30 - Annual Revival – 7:30 Nightly – Monday night: Rev. Norman William of Springfield Baptist Church in Washington; Tuesday night: Rev. Jerry F. Stokes of New Destiny Christian Center in Milledgeville, GA; and Wednesday night: Rev. Dr. Reginald A. Hunter, pastor of Springhill Baptist Church in Philomath, GA and moderator of the Third Shiloh Missionary Baptist Association.
  • August 3 – Homecoming and Family and Friends Day – speaker: Rev. Joseph Hurley, Pastor of Siloam Missionary Baptist Church in Union Point, GA
  • September 6 Grand Opening of MTBC Annex and Baptistery – 12 Noon – Rev. Judge Ed Anderson was the speaker.
  • September 14 – Youth Choir Anniversary
  • The Education Committee for the Third Shiloh Missionary Baptist Association awarded scholarships to students of the churches in the Third Shiloh Association who qualified. The rules for qualification were as follows: (1) - The student must be currently enrolled in a college, university, tech or trade school. (2) - He or she must submit an Official letter of enrollment from their school signed by an official of the school. (3) -It must be signed by the pastor of the church. (4) - Deadline for all applications was December 10, 2014. Scholarships were awarded on January 15, 2015. Completed applications were returned to one of the Scholarship Committee Members below:

Mrs. Kay Finnell 

301 Gordon Street 

Washington, GA 30673 

Ms. Catherine Thrasher
1101 Creek Farm Run
Bogart, GA 30622

  • September 20 - Third Shiloh Association-The Moderator’s Installation Worship Service – Saturday,6:00 p.m., Rev. Anthony Q. Corbett, Sr., Lundy Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Macon, GA was the speaker.
  • October 1 through 3 The Annual Session of Third Shiloh Missionary Baptist Association convened at the Rev. G. L. Avery’s Center.
  • October 19 - Mark’s Tabernacle’s Women Department had its program on 3 Sunday at 11:30. Sis. Clara Sutton was the speaker.
  • October 31 - Feeding of the Washington-Wilkes High School Football Team
  • November 9 - Mark’s Tabernacle Baptist Church had its Men’s Day Program at 2 p.m.The guest speaker was Luther “Bernard” Holyfield, the brother of the former heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield of Atlanta. Dinner was served.
  • November22 - Thanksgiving Feeding of the Community
  • December 13 - Christmas Feeding of the Community
  • December 28 Reese J. Booker Scholarship Program


Two Deacons Ordained : Dea. Billy Gartrell and Dea. Calvin Wiggs



Our Church Family Increased

February 15 ---------------------------------Pastor's Aide Anniversary 11:30

March 6----------------------Dorian B. Favors received the Peggy Y. Harrison Academic scholarship

                                      ($2000) given by the Harrison Family of Kileen Texas

                                      and the Mark's Tabernacle Baptist Church

March 15-------------------------------------Adult Choir Anniversary 11:30

May 3 ----------------------------------------MTBC's 118th Church Anniversary -

                                                           Speaker: Rev. Dennis Quinn

May 17----------------------------------------Mothers' Board Anniversary

June 7 ---------------------------------------Pastor's Appreciation for Rev. Hill

August 1-3------------------------------------MTBC Revival-

                                                            Speakers: Wednesday night - Rev. Norman Williams, Springfield

                                                            Thursday night - Rev. Dr. Reginald Hunter, New Springhill

                                                            Friday night - Rev. Kyle D. Berry, Word of God Ministries

August 7 --------------------------------------Homecoming & Family and Friends Day

                                                             Speaker: Rev. Dr. Benjamin K. Willis

September 13 --------------------------------3rd. Shiloh Missionary Baptist Association

                                                             Women's Department: 100 Women in White Program

October 2 -------------------------------------Attended 3rd Shiloh's 124 Session

October 10-------------------------------------Attended Pastors in Third Shiloh's Pastor's Banquet

October 16-------------------------------------Women's Day Program

                                                              Speaker: Minister Donna Butler of MTBC

November 15 ----------------------------------Men Day Program

November 19 ----------------------------------Served the Community Free Thanksgiving Dinner

December 31 ----------------------------------Watch Night Service

                                                               Speaker: Rev. Kyle Berry of Word of God's Ministries


May 6, 2018 ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 120th Church Anniversary

*Speaker: Dr. Bobby G. McAllister: Co founder of JFI Global Initiative

Development Center

2018 Pastor's 5th Anniversary Speaker: Dr. Kisha Russell Green, Atlanta, GA

2019 Pastor's 6th Anniversary Speaker: Rev. Frances Harper of Mt. Olive in Sharon, GA

May 2019-121st Church Anniversary *Speaker: Rev. Charles Belton, Pastor of Mt. Carmel BC in Washington and Union Springs, BC in Norwood, Georgia.

Men Day Program Speaker: Apostle Tony R. Hill

Women Day Program Speaker: Author Willie Agnes Chennault

Workshops: Community Public Safety: May 15, 2019

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