In the Year of our Lord September 2, 1882, Union Valley Baptist Church was formed in the Wampee community of South Carolina. Among the founders were: Pastor G. Soles, W.E. Gore, T.N. Owens, L.N.V. Todd, and twenty-nine charter members. Mr. Neil Thompson donated the land for the original church.
The first church was a wooden frame building which was destroyed around the turn of the century when a tremendous storm swept through Horry County. According to an interview conducted by the Historical Society in 1935, church services were conducted in a nearby house. On June 28, 1906, the Horry Herald joyfully reported that Wampee would soon have a new church for worship. In early 1907, Union Valley Baptist Church completed construction of a new white frame building dedicated to God. This building was used until World War II. It was during these years that the name of the church was changed to Wampee Baptist Church.
In 1942, the United States government purchased the land on which Wampee Baptist Church was located. It became part of the Myrtle Beach Aerial Gunnery and Bombing Range. During this time, the church worshipped at the Wampee school building. After the war ended, the church site was repurchased from the government on February 12, 1946 for the sum of $150.00. A former pastor, Rev. E. Luther Joyner planned the building and a new church was constructed. The first full time pastor, Rev Gilbert Barnhill was hired in 1955 and a parsonage was built.
On December 18, 1992, Wampee Baptist Church purchased 13 acres of land and the buildings of the former Wampee-Little River High School for $175,000. The land was covered with weeds and the school buildings were in ruins and vandalized. The members of the church had a vision of what this property could become. They cleared the property, landscaped the grounds, renovated the buildings, and created the Wampee Christian Life Center out of the ruins of the old school. The school buildings were leased to the North Myrtle Beach Christian School and the first senior class graduated in 2000.
In 2001 four acres of land adjoining church property were purchased for $17,500 per acre. A new 9,600 square foot metal building was constructed on the site. It houses a fellowship hall containing a kitchen, classrooms, a multi-purpose room, a stage, and music equipment rooms. On October 7, 2001 our Homecoming celebration was held in the new fellowship hall. Wampee Baptist began holding church services in this building and a baptismal pool was added.
When an earthquake and tsunami occurred in the Indian Ocean in 2004, Wampee Baptist responded. Four women from our church went on three different missions trips to Sri Lanka. They served on survey teams assessing critical needs, helped distribute supplies, and performed tasks such as cleaning wells to provide safe drinking water. Church members have also gone to Coffeeville, Kansas to help residents clean up after a flood in 2007.
Wampee Baptist Church is on a three-phase building project. Phase I and II were completed in 2008. There is a new driveway and sign, new parking facilities, and an addition to the fellowship hall building which includes Sunday School rooms and administrative facilities.
Wampee Baptist continues to be a lighthouse within the community. Our Brotherhood and Women On Mission members serve others through ongoing missions projects. Church members are active in prison counseling and a senior citizen outreach. We support the North Strand Housing Shelter. We also have members who are Gideons, and members who assist students and teachers at the North Myrtle Beach Christian School.
This year, please join us in welcoming our new pastor, Tyler Caines, and his wife Danielle. Tyler and Danielle have two children, Gage and Gracen.
We are very thankful for those who were so faithful to God in the past. Their hard work and dedication made sure that future generations would be able to experience the love of God and his gift of everlasting life. Praise be to God!
October 2, 2011
Did You Know?
The early Christians of Union Valley Baptist saw their church not only as a place of spiritual worship, but a guide to their social behavior. On one occasion a brother owed another a debt and would not pay. He was brought before the Council and disbanded from the church until such time as the debt was satisfied. On numerous occasions women of the church were chastised by the board for gossip and various other incidents in the church. If a member missed three meetings in a row they could be called before the board. If their excuse was not satisfactory, they could be disbanded. In 1890, two couples were brought before the board for dancing. One was acquitted, while the other was penalized. The use of profane language could have a member dismissed.
Worship services were held every Sunday but were not only led by a Pastor. The first Sunday of the month was reserved for the Pastor, while the remaining Sunday services were conducted by the laymen. The church voted that each member would pay the Pastor $1.00 per year. Pastors were voted on each year. In 1908, the state board began to give financial assistance to the church. This assistance allowed the church access to a preacher twice a month. The first full time pastor was hired in 1955.
Information gathered by Mary Emma Jones (deceased), Bettie Jo Jones, JoAnn Strickland, and Lori Cox.
Former Pastors of Wampee Baptist Church
E. Luther Joyner
Eddie Hill (Interim)
Former Members Who Became Ordained Ministers