A Brief History of Cloverdale Baptist Church
A “history” tells of the past, the struggles and triumphs the church has grown through. Cloverdale Baptist Church is excited about the future, the years to come and is trusting in the Lord as He unfolds His plan. There is a warm and loving spirit throughout Cloverdale Baptist Church. It is very evident the Holy Spirit is among us, producing His fruit in our fellowship. It is wonderful to be able to sense His presence in all our services and among all His people. A great spirit of cooperation and willingness is present throughout our church, and for this we all say, “Praise the Lord!”
Cloverdale Baptist Church was originally organized as Southside Baptist Church on June 27, 1902 calling Rev. D.P. Lee as the first pastor. The church purchased a lot on South Hull Street at Cramer Avenue where a frame building was erected. The first service in this new building was held on Thanksgiving Day 1902. Southside Baptist Church was incorporated on October 5, 1932. With the help of the Home Mission Board (now the North American Mission Board), the church purchased additional property and erected a new building which was completed before the winter of 1933. The church became debt-free on January 20, 1934. The first telephone in the church was installed in the pastor’s study on October 5, 1936, with no long-distance calls to be made.
The church was completely destroyed by fire in December 1939. At the time of the fire, the church had grown from a membership of 135 in 1902 to a membership of 680 in 1939. The congregation was faced with the necessity of deciding whether to relocate or to rebuild in the same location. The majority of the members voted to relocate. One of the most beautiful and choice lots in South Montgomery was located on Fairview Avenue at Mastin Lane. This lot was purchased for $4,500. The Southside Congregation entered a new multipurpose building on Fairview Avenue in 1940, which later became a part of the educational building and office complex. On September 27, 1944, the members of Southside Baptist Church adopted a resolution to change the corporate name to Cloverdale Baptist Church. On April 3, 1950, the Article of Incorporation was amended and the name was officially changed.
The church purchased its first organ in memory of Janie Jones Stoner in 1945. In January 1949, plans were made to add a sanctuary to the existing building. The building was to be Gothic in style. The sanctuary, including the choir loft, was to seat 614 with an unfinished balcony. On the ground floor, there would be 6,000 square feet of floor space for a kitchen and a social hall. The existing building would be converted into classrooms and office space. The ground-breaking service was held on Sunday, April 2, 1950. Dedication of the new building was held on March 11, 1951, not quite 13 months after the ground-breaking service. In the next few years, the church bought additional lots giving the church an extra 170 feet of frontage. A note burning ceremony for the sanctuary and renovation of the older buildings was held on August 29, 1965. Cloverdale started a mission church called, Valley Park Baptist on January 16, 1972, in the Spring Valley Community.
The children’s building and the youth building were demolished to make room for a new modern educational wing as well as additional parking. On March 22, 1981, a ground-breaking ceremony was held for the new educational wing. In the late 1980s, major renovations were made to the sanctuary. In 1991, renovations were completed in the educational wing providing the congregation with a much more modern and beautiful facility, complete with offices, pastor’s study, more library space, conference room, moving and expanding the Prayer Room and new classrooms and restrooms. In 1995 the church became debt-free once again paying off $177,000 and celebrating with a note-burning ceremony.
A major ministry of the church is the Cloverdale Preschool Academy that began in 1985 with Ginger Andrews as its first director. In 1977 Donna Berry became the Director and the roll reached 72. Sharman Nall succeeded Donna Berry and grew Cloverdale Preschool Academy to over 120 children. Following Sharman’s retirement in August 2020, Jana Edmundson became the Director of CPA. This year-round ministry continues to be one of the top preschools in the area.
Throughout Cloverdale Baptist Church’s history, there has been a strong participation in local and international missions. Cloverdale has a strong record of giving to support mission work all over the world. Prayer has been a foundation for the movements and ministry developments. The church has enjoyed great leadership from the many pastors and staff who have faithfully served. Countless lives have been changed for all eternity and many memories shared through the ministry of this great church.
As of 2020, Cloverdale Baptist remains debt-free with a thriving Preschool Academy. Through the years the church has partnered with other ministries in reaching people for the cause of Christ. While the congregation may be small in number at this time, the vision for ministry in the Cloverdale area and beyond is God-sized.