Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Surely those were the words spoken in this community the year of 1937.
Prior to that year there was not a missionary church in this community – in fact there was only one church, the Primitive Baptist.
In 1930 Brother Charles Henry Wade accepted Christ and joined the St. Paul Baptist Church in Draper, N. C., where his wife and daughter were already members. Being a resident of the Sandy Level Community and aware that many people in the community were going to other communities to attend church, Brother and Sister Wade saw a need for a Missionary Baptist here.
In October of 1937, the Saint John Missionary Baptist Church was organized under the leadership of Rev. S. T. Stone in the home of the late Deacon and Mrs. Charles Henry Wade. The membership included Sister Octavia Wade, her daughter Sister Henrietta Wade Petress and Brother Charles Wade all from St. Paul Baptist Church; Sister Eliza Clark and Sister Pauline Clark from Moral Hill. Sister Veola Perkins and Sister Laddie Hall were candidates for baptism. Later they moved to the building that once stood in front of where the church is now. The building belonged to the community so school was taught during the week and church services were held there on Sundays. Those ministers present and instrumental in organizing the church were: Rev. T. L. Smith, Rev. J. E. Wade, Rev. J.E. Harris, Rev. George Martin and Deacon B. D. Hairston. On June 10, 1939 construction of the new, dedicated St. John Baptist Church began. The land was purchased from Mrs. Ruth P. Hairston, and she donated the land that later became the cemetery to St. John.
The original building was remodeled in 1958 by forming a T-structure in the back of the church. Further remodeling was done during the early 60's. The church was bricked, new windows were put in, and the inside was refurnished. On August 6, 1967 the remodeling was dedicated.
On March 30, 1969 the church was destroyed by fire. Consequently, services were held in the Lodge Hall Building just north of the church until rebuilding was completed. Under the leadership of Rev. Fred H. Vann the process was completed and the new church was dedicated November 15, 1970.
Over the years five pastors have served the church. They were Rev. Samuel T. Stone 1937-1939, Rev. Leroy Davis 1940-1946, Rev. John E. Powers 1946-1965, Rev. Fred H. Vann 1966-1975 and Rev. Green Moore 1976- to the present.
Under the leadership of our present pastor, Rev. Green Moore, we have made some changes in the appearance of our church. Presently under construction is an enlarged sanctuary, choir stands, new classrooms, restrooms, pastors study and storage areas.
Under the present leadership of Pastor Moore, we purchased our church bus in 1983. The wooden doors were replaced in 1984 with swinging glass bronze doors. We have built a utility building, a ramp for the handicap, carpeted the porch and remodeled the basement and kitchen area. Upholstered the pews on June 3,1984. Several organizations were organized such as the Corner Stone Bible Class, the Pastors' Aide in 1981, Jr. Missionary in 1985, Christian Ed. Association 19869, Sanctuary Choir 1989, the Little Saints 1990, the Male Chorus 1990 the Mass Choir, and the young adult choir was revised.
Our offering tables were dedicated IN HONOR of the late Deacon James Clark on January 5, 1986. Our GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY (50 years) November 1987 a plaque was dedicated during our anniversary containing the founders name and date; pastors names and dates of pastoralship and the year St. John was established. The original driveway was rerouted September of 1988. Remodeling of our church began in July of 1989. Without having to borrow money it was voted upon that we would raise money and remodel the church in phases, which was agreed upon with our contractor Mr. Clarence Jamison. On August 4, 1994 our church was broken into and set on fire. Thank God, someone passing by saw the smoke and got help until the fire truck arrive. Damage that was done: the new part of the choir room floor was burned out, wiring, Sheet rock damage and insulation damaged.
Under Pastor Moores' leadership God have blessed us to ordain several deacons and several have been called into the ministry to preach the gospel.
As you can see we're at a good point since it began in 1989. We still have quite a way to go, but with the help of the Lord, we can't fail. He didn't bring us this far to leave us. Some of our members might but GOD NEVER FAILS.