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It all began in the late 1800's when weekly prayer meetings in the home of Mrs. Frances Millage, who lived on Lacy Street in West Columbia, S.C., manifested the vision of a faithful few. The actual worship services took place in a brush arbor, which was created by packing brush, limbs and wild growth around a wooden frame. Mrs. Millage, Mrs. Tena Putnam, Mrs. Martha Gillians, Mrs. Selina Brown, Deacon & Mrs. John Nelson, and Deacon & Mrs. R. C. Frye, met at this brush arbor until 1902, when and where they became Brookland Baptist Church.
In 1905, Reverend J.R. Brown, an accomplished carpenter, built the church's first structure on Augusta Rd. in West Columbia, S.C. He pastored for several years until the church's second pastor, Rev. R.M. Sims took over as head pastor of Brookland Baptist Church. Very little is known about Pastor Sims, but it was around 1920 when the church's third pastor, Reverend J.C. White succeeded him. Rev. White introduced the church's very first baptismal pool, and water was pumped from a well behind the church into the pool. Prior to having this convenience, baptisms were held at the "Horseshoe Pond" only once or twice annually.
Moreover, on July 28, 1926, Reverend M. H. Holloway became Brookland's fourth pastor. A man of many vocations, Rev. Holloway lead Brookland through a tough time that came to be known as the Great Depression. By the late 1930's, Rev. Holloway resigned under amiable conditions and Reverend John Livingston, Brookland's fifth pastor, temporarily took over as pastor.
Expansion and Growth
On August 16, 1937, Reverend Hill Norris was elected as the sixth pastor of the Brookland Church. The church experienced a great deal of growth under Rev. Norris, especially in the membership of the church. In-fact, there were enough members for deacons to be assigned a section of the community. However, Rev. Norris was voted out for unknown reasons in 1950, and Reverend C. M. Freeman became the 7th pastor of the church. Unfortunately, very little is known about Rev. Freeman's tenure, as he pastored the church for only 5 years before his successor.
On June 16, 1955, T.T. Marsh became the 8th pastor of Brookland Baptist Church. His pastorship marks an era in which financial growth and stability stemmed from an increase in weekly service attendance on Sunday by the growing number of members of the church. Talk about building a new church quickly began to surface, but was quieted by skillful renovations of the same edifice instead.
A few years later, on September 4, 1968, Reverend W. J. Mcllwain became the 9th pastor of Brookland. Pastoring briefly for only 2 years, it was under his pastorship that wafers and juice were introduced into Communion.
Preparing for a new Millennium
January 19, 1971 would mark what the Brookland Family would agree to as being the "turning point" for the progress and the productivity of the church. Fresh out of high school, Reverend Dr. Charles B. Jackson, Sr. was elected as the 10th pastor of Brookland Baptist Church. Though some were concerned with his youth, Rev. Jackson was given a chance to share his vision from God. From that very moment, it was quite clear that this young brother was one of God's chosen few with a vision well ahead of his time! Upon completing his college education, Rev. Jackson became full time with Brookland Baptist Church in January 1984.
From that point the church budget really began to grow and by the mid 80's the church budget was $100,000, and the congregation was nearly 700 in number. As the 90's rolled in, Brookland experienced exponential grow in both members and finance. The growth necessitated two worship services and in December 1992, a third service was added for Sunday evenings at 7 p.m. Even with these efforts to accommodate the growth, there was still a tremendous overflow of Sunday worshippers. It was then on February 18, 1994 that Brookland Baptist Church purchased the shopping center at Saluda Plaza in West Columbia. On Easter Sunday 1994, the church moved to its present location on Highway 378, Sunset Blvd. (West Columbia, S.C.).
With this move, the church grew by leaps and bounds. The church budget increased by $350,000 in only three years to half a million and the congregation now numbered nearly 2000. The new home had already been outgrown and the need for a larger building was of the essence. On July 17, 1995, a special meeting was called to discuss the new church edifice.
Mr. Nathaniel Spells of Construction Dynamics laid the foundation for "The Master Plan", which would be a five million dollar project for the sanctuary alone. It would seat 1600 people on the floor and 500 seats in the balcony. There also would be a 200 seat choir stand.
The project was completed in April 1999. A Dedication Service was held on July 25, 1999 at 5 p.m. It's no question, Brookland has been a church blessed since its origin. Mrs. Millage could not have imagined that nearly a century later, the weekly prayer service in her home would have developed into a congregation of more than 6,700 members with a 3 million dollar budget and over 60 ministries to reach out to the community. Brookland has made its purpose and mission to " Glorify God and Edify Humanity". The new millennium promises the opportunity for this church to fulfill that mission.
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