Crescent Hill Baptist Church

Short History of Crescent Hill Baptist Church

-- Andy Rawls, church historian

griffithOrganized on January 12, 1908, Crescent Hill Baptist Church grew rapidly under its first pastor, John F. Griffith, and the first building was erected on the present site in 1910.








HueyGriffin was succeeded by the Rev. Oscar M. Huey who served from 1913 to 1918. Huey's tenure was marked by the repayment of a large share of the church's indebtedness, and expanded mission concerns. Two of the sons of the church died in WW I.









grahamThe next pastor, Dr. Charles L. Graham led Crescent Hill for 22 years. These years between the Great Wars, were both glorious and trying. In 1926 the church built a $350,000 sanctuary (dedicated in 1927) for its growing congregation. Southern Seminary, a neighbor two blocks away, developed close ties of support and friendship with the church.

In the late twenties and thirties, Crescent Hill joined with other congregations to sponsor the Anti-Saloon League, the Billy Sunday Revival and relief for the victims of the great 1937 Louisville flood. In the twenties, the church, always a generous congregation, contributed significantly to the 75 Million Campaign, a massive effort to rebuild and expand Baptist work following World War I. With the onset of the Depression, however, the church faced its toughest financial crisis. With extraordinary commitment and sacrifice, members willingly mortgaged their homes to prevent foreclosure on the church property.

BooneDuring the turbulent years of World War II, Crescent Hill continued to grow and expand its ministries under the leadership of Dr. William C. Boone, a descendent of Daniel Boone's brother, Samuel. 123 members of Crescent Hill served in the Armed Forces.









BurhansThe post-war years at Crescent Hill witnessed sustained growth. Dr. Rollin S. Burhans served as pastor from 1946 to 1960. While the Korean War and the McCarthy hearings held the attention of the nation, Crescent Hill developed dynamic church organizations and outreach ministries. The Sunday School program was strengthened and expanded resulting in the building of a new educational and family life facility.
By 1960, Sunday School attendance reached 1,007.






ClaypoolThe decade of the sixties was marked by the outstanding pulpit ministry of Dr. John R. Claypool. In a period of violence and social upheaval, Dr. Claypool addressed the deepest concerns of the world and brought to them a Christian message of integrity and hope. The racial crisis was a major focus of concern. New church staff positions included social ministry and counseling.

[Howard Hovde (1969-1973) served as Dr. Claypool's associate and worked closely with Dr. Bill Hull during his subsequent interim. Laura Lue was ill when Hovde arrived in the summer of 1969, and Howard provided valuable service to the church and Dr. Claypool. Hovde later moved on to become the director of Laity Lodge in Texas. -- jwa]



HowellDr. John E. Howell served as pastor from 1973 to 1978. These were years of re-evaluation and long-range planning as the church sought to re-define its role in a changing community.







ShoemakerCrescent Hill welcomed Dr. H. Stephen Shoemaker as pastor in May 1981. During his eleven-year ministry, he brought a prophetic, yet compassionate voice to the pulpit. He opposed forces seeking a hostile take-over of the Southern Baptist Convention and sought to bring healing and reconciliation to those alienated in the community including Viet Nam vets and AIDS victims.







SiskFrom 1994 until June 2002, Ron Sisk, the ninth pastor, brought a focus on the needs of the Crescent Hill community, a commitment to upgrade church facilities and a search for social justice in the larger Louisville community. Crescent Hill has sponsored a Bosnian family, adopted a people group in Thailand and helped build a Habitat for Humanity house while continuing its traditional missionary outreach.






Hendrix From Jan 2003 until Sept 2004, Winford Hendrix, the first transitional pastor of the church, enabled Crescent Hill to come to terms with its recent past and develop a vision for the future. The church moved from an organization based around paid staff to one in which gift-based ministry teams commanded more of the attention of the church members. Dr. Hendrix helped to guide the church search team in the quest for Crescent Hill's tenth "installed" pastor.





Pope W. Gregory Pope became Crescent Hill's tenth pastor in March 2005 and challenged the church to think outside the walls and find ways of interpreting the word of God to the Crescent Hill area community.





Historical Sketch written by Andrew B. Rawls, Ph.D. church historian based upon material written by Timothy George, Ph.D. and collected by Leo T. Crismon, Ph.D. Sketch prepared April 7, 1999. Photos scanned from 75th anniversary brochure and uploaded Feb 24, 2001.

Timeline of Crescent Hill Baptist Church

This is a project in progress. If there are additions or corrections please contact John Arnett.

Charter Members of CHBC


Early Fathers and Mothers of CHBC


Archival Photos


History of the WMU and other details of Crescent Hill Baptist Church

Blanche Goetzman's 1988 history of the WMU and church

Women's Retreat History

25th anniversary in 2004


"Women in Ministry" history

This is a chronology of the history of ordination of women in Baptist life, especially with reference to the SBC and the role of Crescent Hill Baptist Church in the movement. Our thanks to Reba Cobb who was present at the beginnings in 1983 and who has preserved much of this history.

Youth Alumni

These are persons who spent time as youth at the church even if they later dropped out or moved away.

Youth and Children Camps, Mission Trips and Other Outings

a partial listing since about 1953


Staff of Crescent Hill - a partial history

This list is evolving and other names will be added as more research is done

Lay Leaders at Crescent Hill - a partial history

This list is evolving and other names will be added as more research is done

Instrumental Musicians

Partial listing by instrument of those who have contributed to the instrumental music of Crescent Hill Baptist Church over the years.

A Sampling of the Musical, Dramatic and Visual Art Productions

Partial listing of various dramatic, musical and visual art productions/exhibitions over the years.

Crescent Hill Authors and Hymn Writers/Musicians

Partial listing of publications by members of CHBC over the years.

Advent Meditations Index

index to contents of all CHBC Advent Meditations since 1975 (also listed by author)

In Memoriam

Partial list of names of the "great crowd of witnesses" noted in the yearly May memorial service.


Seminary Connections

Through the years the church benefited greatly by its close connections with the seminary. This is a partial listing of some of the faculty and staff who've been a part of the congregation and church community. In recent years the church and seminary have drifted apart ideologically and currently only about five of the seminary staff and faculty are active at Crescent Hill.

Thousands of students at the seminary over the years have attended and enriched the life of the church. And the church (staff and members) have been a blessing to the students and seminary staff. Although the current administration discourages students from attending Crescent Hill about a third of the congregation who actively participate in the activities of the church were once students at the seminary. -- jwa


Notes on the Architecture of the Church Building

-- John Arnett




This page updated December 20, 2010

CRESCENT HILL BAPTIST CHURCH
2800 Frankfort Avenue
Louisville, Kentucky 40206
(502) 896-4425


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