The church’s actual anniversary date is on July 28, but the church decided to conduct the festivities in September. The church also welcomed its new pastor, the Rev. J.B. Kitts in May, who said he loves his new position. “The church has a very nice history, and a bright future ahead,” he said.
The theme for the celebration is “Honoring our past, embracing our future!” Kitts mentioned that former pastors and spouses will be invited to the event as well as the community to come and celebrate.
In the early 1900s, there wasn’t much acceptance towards the Pentecostal church, Kitts said. Historic church documents revealed there was “open hostility and rejection by many,” including the denial of use from other churches to any Pentecostal group. The commencement of the Toonigh Church of God took place between the years of 1910 and 1911.
“Before there was a building available for worship service, the service was held by the roadside,” Kitts said, adding as time continued, the roadside worship services began to grow and displayed a good response from the community.
Due to the positive response, tent meetings began to take place, and Kitts said numerous people were baptized. In 1912, the church contacted the Rev. A.J. Tomlinson in Cleveland, Tenn., to inquire about possibly organizing a Church of God in Toonigh.
The first of the two locations was constructed in 1913 on Rope Mill Road in Woodstock using timber from the original train depot, which was built in 1879 and demolished in 1913. Church member William Cox purchased pieces of the depot’s remains and built the church in former location on Rope Mill Road.
Once open, the church’s membership was 47 individuals from the community. The church continued to grow and the need for additional space became imminent.
In 1946, the Voyles family donated the land along Old Highway 5 across from The Home Depot in Holly Springs, which is where the church currently sits. Paul Fowler was the first pastor at the new church location.
Hugh Voyles later sold an additional acre of land adjacent to the property 23 years later. According to church documents, the agreement reached included roughly one acre in return for “$1,350 and a plaque with the names of Voyles’ parents, to be placed on a church pew.”
Church member Scott Webb said the church has come a long way.
“The church is rich in history and has a great heritage,” he said, adding that it continues to grow. Webb described the congregation as an excellent group of people with a great heart for the church.
“I’m proud to be a part of the church and excited to see what the future holds,” Webb said.