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From ashes to ascension: Church rises to rebuild its presence

Early on June 4, 2000, the Rev. Fulton Boswell and a few members of Montgomery Memorial Baptist Church watched as the sanctuary was gutted by fire. The cause was arson, and no one was ever arrested. Later that day, the congregation gathered under a tent for the regular Sunday service.

A new building for Montgomery Memorial Baptist Church was built on the site of the original church at 56 Dunlap Street near the old Gainesville Mill and was dedicated on June 2, 2002.

The church, founded in 1905, was named for Victor Montgomery, president of the Gainesville Mill Co. It was originally located on Ridge Road, but in 1926, The Gainesville Mill Co. built a facility at the end of Dunlap Street where the congregation met for 30 years.

On Nov. 3, 1955, Pacolet Manufacturing Co. (formerly Gainesville Mill) donated $20,000 and nearly 5 acres of land to build a new church at the current location. That building was completed in 1956 and is the building that burned almost half a century later.

Montgomery Memorial Baptist Church has recovered and even grown after the loss of the sanctuary. Now under the leadership of the Rev. Darryl Womack, the church sponsors the "Injection 2011" campaign that encourages members to inject themselves into the community through volunteer hours in service to local agencies during 2011.

The church also serves the local Hispanic community with monthly worship services as well as weekly ESOL classes.



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