In July of 2021, Providence Baptist Church celebrated our 20th anniversary as a congregation. The weekend festivities included a concert by noted singer and songwriter Kate Campbell, two Sunday worship services featuring all three former pastors (and several interim pastors) plus a new anthem composed by Dan McCurry (see below), and, of course, dinner on the grounds!
See the Anniversary page for pictures and documents!
The celebration commemorated the events of 2001 when eleven people banded together to create Providence, called into existence by “the imagination of the Holy Spirit.” They were under the leadership of Rev. Gail Coulter, who served for eight years as pastor and remains, in retirement, a member of the church. Numerous Baptist churches in the region and state supported this effort to launch a church committed to the values and practices common to Baptists but also committed to providing, first, hospitality to all people regardless of race, creed, or sexual orientation, and second, recognition of the gifts and callings of women.
The church met initially at the theater in downtown Hendersonville with Bible classes taught in the adjacent barber shop! The congregation then bought, first, the sanctuary on Oakland Street and, later, the house next door, which became Providence House, a place for ministry and mission. During this initial period, the church forged a partnership with a Baptist congregation in Cuba, Gethsemane Church.
Following Rev. Coulter’s retirement, the church called Rev. Julie Merritt Lee as pastor. She led the congregation to embrace a contemplative form of worship (with silence, simplicity, and holy listening), to reach many new individuals and families, and to adopt a colorful visual representation of the church (which figures prominently on this web site).
In 2017, Lee was succeeded by Rev. Mary Little Apicella, who served for three years. For more than a year, due to the pandemic, the congregation met only virtually; but beginning in June of 2021, worship and fellowship has been carried out both on campus and on-line.
Currently, the Sunday preacher for Providence is Rev. Dr. Dwight A. Moody and the music minister is Michael Sebastian.
With praise we gather in this place in thankful reverence
for mercies God has grown here through the vines of Providence.
Oh mountains, raise your voices for the fruit these years have brought,
and those who came to share your Word; the peace your preachers taught.
How wondrously your truths did spread across these bitter lands
to welcome all who’d seek a place embracing Christ’s commands.
The soil was rich, the briars were too; some days less than divine.
In Providence, Christ used God’s grace to place your hand in mine.
One dream has power to light the dark. Then feet must feel the call.
Good neighbors come with purse and voice with doors open to all.
Now through these one score years we’ve grown a church much wiser since.
In God’s own vineyard faith did plant the vine of Providence.
Lyrics by Dan McCurry in 2021, Tune ST ANNE (“O God Our Help in Ages Past”)