Over a century ago in the autumn of 1882, William Duley, a pioneer deacon of Dry Fork Baptist Church, suggested to his pastor Dr. William Henry Burnham, the propriety of establishing regular preaching services at the Carrington School House, making it a mission point. Previous to that time a Sunday School had been held in the community by William G. Hatcher and others.
Dr. Burnham, never slow to act upon a mission enterprise, at once adopted the plan and began preaching regularly at the Carrington School House. In February and March of 1883, he held a protracted meeting at the schoolhouse, baptizing six people, from Dry Fork Baptist Church, formed the nucleus of the permanent organization with Dr. Burnham as pastor.
The names of those who formed this new church, the first thirteen of whom were charter members, are taken from the first church records as follows: Mrs. Sallie Chalfant, Miss Ella Chalfant, Miss Cora Chalfant, Miss Nanny Chalfant, Thomas R. Brooks, Nannie Brooks, C.A. Davis, Martin Sacre, J. Clem Dunavant, Malissa Dunavant, William G. Hatcher, Mary Hatcher, Harriet Blackwell, and added by baptism at the first protracted meeting; L.F. Renoe, Mary Smith, Hattie Blackwell, Robert Rogers, Henry G. Turner and Bettie Anne Wilkerson. Henry G. Turner was elected church clerk and served faithfully and efficiently to the end of his life.
In the face of many difficulties, plans for the erection of a church went forward. Judge William Carrington, who owned the land, gave one acre of ground on condition that a meeting house be erected. The house was built.
The building of the first church house was the result of much self-denial on the part of this little group and its many supporters in the community. The building completed, cost $1,571 and was dedicated on Sunday, December 9, 1883. After singing that good old familiar song "Near My God To Thee", Dr. J.M.P. Martin, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Fulton, Missouri read from I Kings 8:27. Dr. Martin preached the dedicatory sermon and the prayer was offered by Dr. William Burnham. The remarkable fact of this dedication was that the entire amount of the cost of the building and completion of this church was paid in advance and no collection taken at that service.
The growth of the church during the succeeding twenty-three years made it necessary to enlarge. As a result, an addition was buildt at a total cost of $1,438. This building was rededicated on September 17, 1907 by Dr. William J. Williamson, a member of the church with prayer by Dr. William H. Burnham.
As the storms of life sometimes prove too strong for weak human strength, so the elements of nature may become so powerful that things of wood and mortar cannot withstand the blast. The events of Sunday, May 8, 1927 were such when a tornado destroyed the church.
With insurance and the help of friends, a new church was rebuilt. E.E. Sampson was the contractor and the cost was $8,000. The new church was dedicated in June, 1928 by Dr. Frank Powell. The members met at Hewitt Lodge Hall in Carrington and faced the future singing "On Jordan's Stormy Banks" as they prepared to rebuild.
The church steadily grew and in 1973 a new basement was built complete with classrooms and a fellowship hall. By the end of the 20th century the church grew so much that a long list of improvements ranging from handicap accessible restrooms, a ramp and central air were completed. A beautiful new fellowship hall was completed in the final days of the 20th century.
As the members of Carrington Baptist Church look to the future, the prayer of King Solomon from I Kings 9 continues to be our prayer as it was in the 1883 dedication: "I have heard your prayer, I have hallowed this temple which you built and have put my name here forever. I will constantly watch over it and rejoice in it." No words could better dedicate a church that would outlive the railroad and still be serving the community over a century later.
In all these years, Carrington Baptist Church has been served faithfully in its pastorate by 28 men of God and from January, 2015 through December, 2015 we were under the Interim pastorate of the Reverend Jonathan Spurlock. As of January, 2016 through October, 2017 Reverend Spurlock was our part-time, bivocational pastor.