Two hundred eighty-eight years and counting

Published 10:00 am Thursday, October 5, 2017

In the year 1729, America wasn’t even a country yet. All the modern conveniences we know and love hadn’t been invented yet. In the year 1729, North Carolina became a British colony, the city of Baltimore was founded, and the Treaty of Seville was signed.

But also in the year 1729, and perhaps with more local relevance, Meherrin Baptist Church was founded.

Yes, that’s right. The brick church that sits at the end of Meherrin Lane in Murfreesboro is 288 years old now. We celebrated that anniversary this past weekend, though not with a lot of fanfare. Just a simple acknowledgement of how far we’ve come along with expressing a hope to continue on for many more years to come.

Of course, we also had a nice potluck dinner after the worship service, because what kind of self-respecting Baptist church would we be without one?

I’ve been a member of Meherrin since my family started attending there back in the late 90’s. Though my earliest years were spent at another church, Meherrin is definitely the one I consider my home. I spent the Sunday mornings of my elementary school years in the classrooms upstairs, and then my middle and high school years in the basement classrooms. I remember all my Sunday School teachers over the years, distributing biblical wisdom in their own unique ways (also, sometimes distributing biscuits as well!).

I remember the people that have come and gone, those that have already passed on or simply moved away. The marks they’ve made on the church and its congregation are hard to forget because we’re like family, as the old cliché goes.

Meherrin, however, isn’t the only church I grew up with.

There was a time when my brother and I played church league softball with the Bethel-Elam team, the two churches combined (also with friends like ourselves) in order to have enough players to keep going. We were never church league champions, but we always tried our best.

There were years when I went to Camp Caswell with the youth group at Woodland Baptist. My brother and I still share stories of our shenanigans down there years later (some stories which I tried not to mention when I briefly worked later as Woodland’s church secretary).

There was my time away at college, and the year I was a youth leader at Eastlawn Baptist, a little church tucked away in the heart of Burlington, where the kind ladies of the church kept buying me lunch (though I repeatedly told them they didn’t have to) because they were afraid I didn’t eat much as a college student.

But in the end, Meherrin is the constant, the church I always come back to. I’ve watched it over the years, the congregation growing and shrinking and growing again just like the ebb and flow of the tides. I’ve seen things change, and I’ve seen things stay the same. Whatever the circumstances are, we always keep moving forward.

288 years is an impressive amount of time for almost anything. From my personal perspective, it’s been very nice to be a tiny part of church’s history, just one of the multitude of people who’ve passed through the doors to worship there over the decades.

Our church’s longevity is great, but the focus remains, above all, on God rather than ourselves. So I look forward to many, many, many years of that to come.


Holly Taylor is a Staff Writer for Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact her at or by phone at 252-332-7206.