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SC Congress History

THE OFFICIAL HISTORY OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA BAPTIST CONGRESS OF CHRISTIAN EDUCATION

From the records of the Saint Paul First Baptist Church of Anderson, Historian, Mrs. Birdie L. Davis-1965. The State Sunday and Baptist Young Peopleís Union (B.Y.P.U.) Convention had its inception at the 29th Annual Session of the State Convention which was held at St. Paul First Baptist Church of Anderson.

During the 28th Annual Session of the State Convention of the first Wednesday in May 1905, the parent body met with the Corinth Baptist Church, Union, SC. Thursday was Sunday School Day. The names of S. L. Finley and Miss. Theopa Durham were programmed to read papers on SC Work. Their names were never called because the convention was occupied with discussions on matters that led to a stormy session. Dr. P. F. Mallory, pastor of Springfield Baptist Church of Greenville, SC, preached the Sunday Morning Sermon, which emphasized the need of doing a direct and more efficient job of Sunday School Work among the young people.

Reverend H. M. Moore, pastor of Mt. Moriah Baptist Church of Spartanburg, SC, was on the board of young delegates that attended the 19005 convention. He sought advice from Dr. R. W. Baylor concerning writing an article for the calling of an organization of an auxiliary to the parent body.

On June 8, 1905, following the convention in Union, SC, the article appeared in the South Carolina Standard, a Benedict College paper. The article was followed by others, such as Professor John R. Wilson, Reverend C.F. Holmes, Reverend C.P.T. White, and Dr. E. R. Roberts, endorsing the idea.

During the 29th Annual Session of the State Convention (May 1906) which convened at St. Paul First Baptist Church, Anderson, SC, the matter of organizing the young people cane directly before the convention. The older leaders seeing that the young people were determined to separate from the parent body issued a call for the organizing of a State Sunday School Convention. Parent Body President, Reverend I. P. Brockington appointed Dr. J. J. Durham to chair and prepare a constitution.

A state-wide Call was made and a large delegation met July 18, 1906, at the Macedonia Baptist Church, Greenwood, SC, for the 1st Session of the State School Convention. The introductory sermon preached by Reverend H.M. Moore of Spartanburg, using as a text Hebrew 11:5. The organization was created and named the Sunday School and B. Y. P. U. Convention with the following officers elected:

  • Reverend H. M. Moore, Spartanburg - President
  • Reverend P. F. Mallory, Greenville- First Vice-President
  • Reverend C.F. Holmes - Second Vive-President
  • Deacon W. S. Dixon - Third Vice-President
  • Professor J. W. Jakes- Recording Secretary
  • Reverend J. C. White- Treasurer

The new auxiliary proved to be advantageous for newly freed blacks in South Carolina, which was mostly rural. These individuals would now be living free from their former master on plantations. Learning would take a new meaning in new established predominant black churches and schools. The convention appointed certain of its best qualified ministers as missionaries who in turn went from county to county preaching and teaching former slaves and guiding them toward worship, thereby establishing churches from these meeting-houses and bush arbors; from such places, many of the churches were established.

The State Baptist Sunday School and B.Y.P. U. Conventionís named changed under the presidency of layman, Dr. C. O. Jackson in the mid-1970ís to the South Carolina Baptist Congress of Christian Education. The following known persons have served as presidents of the State Congress of Christian Education, formerly known as the State Sunday School and B.Y. P. U. Convention: by

  • The Late Reverend H.M. Moore, Mt. Moriah Baptist Church, Spartanburg (1906-?)
  • The Late Dr. Charles F. Gandy, Springfield Baptist Church, Greenville (1928-1948)
  • The Late Dr. J. C. Dunbar, Morris Street Baptist Church, Charleston (1948-1958)
  • The Late D.B.T. Sears, Cornerstone Baptist Church, Spartanburg (1958-1962)
  • Dr. J. O. Rich (30 years old), St. Paul First Baptist Church, Anderson (1962-1966)
  • Dr. L. W. Long, M.D. (Physician), Member Bethany Baptist, Union (1966-1970)
  • The Late Dr. Rufus J. Daniels, Friendship Baptist Church, Conway (1970-1974)
  • Dr. C. O. Jackson, a Deacon of the Reddy Fork Baptist Church, Simpsonville (1974-1978)
  • Dr. Ralph W. Canty (33 years old), Savannah Grove Baptist Church, Effingham (1978-1982)
  • Dr. Charles B. Jackson (29 years old), Brookland Baptist Church (1982-1986)
  • Dr. John H. Corbitt, Springfield Baptist Church, Greeneville (1986-1990)
  • Dr. J. W. Henderson, Rocky Mount Baptist Church, Greenville (1990-1995)
  • Dr. B.D. Snoddy, Mt. Moriah Baptist Church, Spartanburg (1995-2000)
  • Dr. D. L. Grant, Sr. (34 years old), New Israel Missionary Baptist Church, Sumter (2000-2005)
  • Rev. James H. Cokley, DMin, Cherry Hill Missionary Baptist Church, Conway (2005-2015)
  • Dr. Bryant S. Cheek, Sr., DMin. Springfield Missionary Baptist Church, Laurens (2010-2015)
  • Dr. Toney C. Parks, Mt. Sinai Baptist Church, Greenville (2016 - present)

Achievements such as the following were attained during each of the ensuing presidencies.

Reverend H. M. Moore was instrumental in organizing and implementing the inception of the State Congress of Christian Education. Very little is known of how long Moore served or who may have served immediately after him. The next known president to serve was Dr. J. C. Dunbar of Charleston. Dr. B. T. Sears served from 1958-1962. Dr. J. O. Rich, the second youngest serving president, served from 1962-1966. Dr. L. W. Long of Union County is the only president who was also a physician. Dr. Long was instrumental in implementing the paving of Morris College and funding it. Dr. Rufus Daniels served from 1970-1974. Dr. C. O. Jackson served from 1974-1978. Under Dr. C. O. Jackson's leadership, the name of the State Sunday School and B.Y.P.U. Convention was changed to South Carolina Baptist Congress of Christian Education. Jackson increased the course of study, introduced the "Writer's Conference," completed the project of paving the streets of Morris College and gave birth to the "C.O. Jackson Oratorical Contest". Dr. Ralph Canty served from 1978- 1982. During his administration the Congress was structured into divisions at which time the Minister's Division was created. During his last year of office, the Congress met at Mount Moriah Baptist Church as a pilot to determine the feasibility of an alternative to college campus sessions. The funds were also secured through a Cooperative Christianity Partnership to underwrite the operations of the Office of Christian Education. Dr. Charles B. Jackson, the youngest person (29) when elected to the office of president, served from 1982-1986. The Christian Education Director's position was authorized and the office implemented during the first year of his presidency. Dr. John H. Corbitt served from 1986-1990. Traditionally, the Congress held its annual sessions on the campuses of Morris, Benedict, and Friendship Jr. College on a rotating schedule. However, during the presidency of Dr. Corbitt this concept was expanded to include off-campus sites, and since 1987 sessions have been hosted statewide. The Youth Rally was started; the Congress Youth Choir, Children's Rally and the Commencement Service were all started under Dr. J. H. Corbitt. Dr. J. W. Henderson of Greenville served from 1990-1995. Henderson started the Congress Scholarship Fund and a tremendous growth of participation was realized during these years. The State Baptist Sunday School and BYPU Convention's name was changed under the presidency of layman, Dr. C. O. Jackson in the mid-1970's to the South Carolina Baptist Congress of Christian Education.

The SCBCCE's next president, Dr. B. D. Snoddy, had previously served as Dean for four years. In an effort to strengthen the faculty through continuing education, Snoddy instituted a Faculty Retreat. At the conclusion of his tenure as Dean, he recommended that the Congress create the position of Assistant for the purpose of improved transition to the deanship through orientation and training. Dr. Snoddy was elected unanimously as president of the Congress in 1995 in Summerton, SC. The following are some of the accomplishments under his leadership.

Dr. B. D. Snoddyís Accomplishments while President of Congress in 1995

  • Afternoon seminars were implemented to discuss a paper on the Congress theme for increased learning opportunities.
  • A District Presidentsí and Deansí Conference was instituted for the purpose of increased communication between state and local congresses and fostering improved Christian Education training on the local level across the state.
  • Established a $1,000.00 Scholarship at Morris College for a student who is pursuing a major in Religious Education with concentration in the Parish Ministry or Christian Education Ministry.
  • Significantly increased the oratorical contestís scholarship and savings bond amount.
  • A computer was purchased to increase efficiency at the Congressí pre-registration site.
  • Honorariums for teachers were increased about 35%
  • Initiated the first State Christian Education Certification and Accreditation Program in the history of the Congress.
  • The Jackson, Moultrie, Sanders and Smith Scholarship Fund have been increased from about $28,000 to $92,000. At the conclusion of his tenure he had increased the scholarship to over $104, 000.
  • Issued a challenge to District Congresses and Sunday School Conventions to sponsor a week of study at least once annually.
  • Stimulated growth in the number of registered churches and growth in the number of delegates.

In the year of 2000 in Spartanburg, Dr. D. L. Grant, Sr. of Dalzell was elected president. Under his tenure, the following has been implemented:

  • A Youth and Childrenís Congress has been established that runs simultaneously with the Adult Congress.
  • Annual Sessionís Morning Bible Study Implemented.
  • Harvest Convocation/Board Meeting/One ĖDay Session, traditionally met at Benedict College, now meets at statewide locations.
  • Congress Awards Banquet held at Harvest Convocation/Board Meeting/One-Day Session instead of Annual Session.
  • Harvest Convocation/Board meeting/One-Day Session moved from 2nd Saturday in December to the 3rd Saturday in November.
  • Increase in oratorical scholarships and savings bonds.
  • Honorariums for teachers increased by another 25%.
  • Drill Teams and Praise Dance Teams established in Youth and Childrenís Congress for competition and showcase presentations from local churches.
  • Annual Session begin on Sunday evening instead of traditionally meeting on Monday evening.
  • Adult Curriculum traditionally offered one certified course per delegate, now offers two selections of certified courses to delegate for a maximum of 20 hours credit instead of 10 hours.
  • Increased giving toward operation of Baptist Headquarters from $10, 000 to $20,000 per year.
  • Increase in Field Missionary financial reports.
  • Constitution revised.
  • All Worship Services held in evening during annual session and concentration with emphasis placed on teaching and training during daytime hours.
  • Prayer Breakfast initiated in 2003
  • 1st time in 2004 to meet in the Coliseum at USC
  • The office of 2nd Vice President (adult position) was implemented.
  • The 2nd Vice President (youth position) became 3rd Vice President.
  • The written history of the Congress was initiated and completed.

During the 99th Annual Session held in Columbia, South Carolina, Reverend James H. Cokley, DMin, Senior Pastor of the Cherry Hill Missionary Baptist Church of Conway, South Carolina, Inc., a former Dean of Congress and Assistant Dean of the National Baptist Congress of Christian Education, NBCUSA, Inc. was elected President.

In the year 2005 Dr. James H. Cokley was elected President. Dr. Cokley immediately took the reins to revise the Congress current financial state. Dr. Cokley's tenure primarily focused on creating stable revenue to operate the Congress. Under his administration, the following has been implemented:

  • Website developed and implemented.
  • Increase in revenue (moving the Congress from a red to black state).
  • Established a firm banking relationship for the Congress with the SC Community Bank of Columbia, SC.
  • Youth Classes revised: All Youth required to take a core class before participating in an activity.
  • Revised registration fees in order to increase financial revenue to operate the Congress more effectively.
  • Curriculum handbook - developed a guide specifying graduation qualifications.
  • Re-designed the registration process with the use of technology through an advanced online registration site; which allows a faster and easier registration experience.
  • During the 104th Annual Session held in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Reverend Bryant S. Cheek, Sr., DMin, Senior Pastor of the Springfield Missionary Baptist Church in Laurens, SC was elected president.

  • Liquidated the indebtedness within the first two years, as of April 2013 the Congress is debt free.
  • Upgrade Congress technology to help enhance registration process, and to assist with team member responsibilities
  • Experienced record number of pre-registration with on-line numbers of over 1750 before annual session
  • Enhanced the Pre-Registration process by adding early pick-up procedures
  • Update the Curriculum Handbook with new Graduation Requirements
  • Instituted New College Workshop Division for College Students
  • Instituted New Classes for Pastors, Ministers, and Spouses
  • Implemented new seminars, Money Management with SC Community Bank, Marketing the Church in the 21st Century
  • Established Uniform Diploma for Graduates of Congress Curriculum
  • Appointed the first female, Reverend Cathy Charles as Director of Registration Team
  • Paved the way for female preachers on the main stage of the SCBCCE
  • Increased Honorariums for Congress Teachers
  • Instituted Devotion Message during the C. O. Jackson Oratorical Contest
  • Introduced delegates to community service projects with homeless shelters
  • Reorganized the Field Missionary
  • Restructured the Minister Division
  • Implemented Youth Activities for Congress Sessions
  • Provided opportunities for youth to have Leadership Roles throughout Congress Sessions
  • The following are the past meeting sites of the State Congress of Christian Education from 1906 - 2017

    Year Location City
    1906 Macedonia Baptist Church Greenwood
    1908-1974 Unknown
    1975 Friendship Junior College, Dr. Pettigrew President Rock Hill
    1976 Benedict College Columbia
    1977 Morris College, L. C. Richardson, President Sumter
    1978-1979 Unknown
    1980 Morris College, L. C. Richardson, President Sumter
    1981 Morris College, L. C. Richardson, President Sumter
    1982 Mt. Moriah Baptist Church Spartanburg
    1983 Benedict College Columbia
    1984 Benedict College Columbia
    1985 Unknown
    1986 Morris College, L. C. Richardson, President Sumter
    1987 Morris Street Baptist Church Charleston
    1988 Trinity Baptist Church Florence
    1989 Springfield Baptist Church Greenville
    1990 Zion Baptist Church, held at Radisson Hotel Columbia
    1991 Mt. Moriah Baptist Church Spartanburg
    1992 Morris College, L. C. Richardson, President Sumter
    1993 New Tabernacle Fourth Baptist Church Charleston
    1994 Welfare Baptist Church, held at Anderson H Anderson
    1995 Taw Caw Baptist Church, held at Scottís Branch High Summerton
    1996 Mt. Moriah & Majority Baptist held at Dawkins Middle Spartanburg
    1997 New Ebenezer Baptist Church held at Irmo High Irmo
    1998 Cedar Grove MB Church, held at Crestwood High Sumter
    1999 New Tabernacle Fourth Baptist Church held at Dorchester High Charleston
    2000 Mt. Moriah Baptist Church and Spartanburg Association Spartanburg
    2001 Andrew Chapel Baptist Church and Affiliated Churches held at SC State University Orangeburg
    2002 Pee Dee Baptist Association Area Churches, held at Wilson High Florence
    2003 St. Matthews Baptist Church and the Low Country Associations North Charleston
    2004 Adamís Mark Hotel ,USC Coliseum, Wateree Upper Division, Gethsemane and Midlands Baptist Associations Columbia
    2005 Marriott Hotel, USC Coliseum, Wateree Upper Division, Gethsemane and Midlands Baptist Associations Columbia
    2006 Brewer Middle School and Greenwood County Civic Center Greenwood
    2007 Marriott Renaissance Hotel, First Baptist Church of Spartanburg, and the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium Spartanburg
    2008 Saint Andrews Baptist Church, Saint Andrews Middle School Columbia
    2009 Pee Dee Baptist Associations of the Pee Dee Area Florence
    2010 Marriot Renaissance Hotel, First Baptist Church of Spartanburg, Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium hosted by Spartanburg County and Tyger River Associations and Congresses Spartanburg
    2011 South Florence High School and Southside Middle School Hosted by Savannah Grove Baptist Church and Associations of Florence County and Vicinity Florence
    2012 Andrew Chapel Baptist Church and Affiliated Churches held at SC State University Orangeburg
    2013 Sumter High School and hosted by Jehovah Missionary Baptist Church and Associations of Sumter County and Vicinity Sumter
    2014 Sumter High School and hosted by Jehovah Missionary Baptist Church and Associations of Sumter County and Vicinity Sumter
    2015 Mauldin High School and hosted by Reedy Fork Baptist Church and Associations of Greenville County and Vicinity Simpsonville
    2016 W. J. Keenan High School; hosted by First Nazareth Baptist Church and churches in "The Midlands" Columbia
    2017 Sumter High School and hosted by Trinity Baptist Church and Associations of Sumter and Vicinity Sumter


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