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History of Caney Baptist Church
Deanna Gayheart, Martha Baldridge and Margo Sparkman  



       As early as 1951, Charlotte Madden and Taulbee Jacobs, two leading educators in Knott County [Kentucky], had taught Bible School at the old Caney Elementary School.  And somewhat later, two well-known county nurses, Evelyn Mottram and Ivalene Caudill, used their living room as a Sunday School for the Caney community.  When Ms. Mottram and Ms. Caudill moved, God sent Sally "Miss Pat" Patterson, an Irish immigrant, to teach His word, which she faithfully did in her home.

      As adult interest grew in the study of God's word, the old Knott County High School became their meeting place.  The Rev. J. S. Bell, who had founded most of the churches in Knott County and who had faithfully worked in the Caney area for many years, became the first preacher.  Being so involved, however, in other missions, he relinquished the job to the Rev. Floyd Titsworth, Jr., pastor of the First Baptist Church of Mousie [Kentucky].

      On October 31, 1960, Taulbee and Hazel Jacobs signed a deed with the First Baptist Church of Mousie, giving them the title to a small plot of land for a church to be built upon.  On November 5, 1960, a committee made up of Pearl Slone, Rilda Watson, Hazel Jacobs, Charlotte Madden, Jeannette Slone, and John Commodore Slone requested that they became a mission of First Baptist Church of Mousie until they could establish themselves as a church.

      When the request was granted, John Commodore Slone, himself a talented architect, drew up plans for the church building.  Groundbreaking on the Jacobs' land was held April 2, 1961.  On September 9, 1962, the opening services were held at the Caney Baptist Chapel, and the first hymn sung was, appropriately, Count Your Blessings.  Under the watchful eye of John Commodore Slone, many from the Caney community and Alice Lloyd College had labored hard and joyfully together to bring about the blessing of Caney Baptist Chapel.

      In May 1964, the church called Lawrence Baldridge to serve as pastor of that mission.  On October 17, 1964, with the Mountain Missions Director, Ed Cunningham, preaching, the Chapel was constituted Caney Baptist Church, with fourteen founding members.

Founding Members were: 

      John Commodore Slone
      Jeannette Slone
      Charlotte Madden
      Hazel Jacobs
      Norma Brainard
      George McDermott
      William S. Hayes
      Edith Hayes
      Rilda Watson
      Anna Sue Jacobs
      Lawrence Baldridge
      Martha Baldridge
      George Chunn
      Mary Collins 


        Caney Baptist Church was once in the hub of the Pippa Passes community, sitting at the foot of Caney Mountain and the mouth of Spruce Pine Hollow.  Since its establishment, the community has grown and expanded in all directions, leaving the original Church at the end of Alice Lloyd College's campus rather than in the midst of the Pippa Passes community.
        In the 1980s, Caney Baptist Church members, including Richard and Dot Kennedy, Bill and Nancy Melton, Danny and Caroiyn Kimball as well as many others, made a decision to work toward relocating the Church onto Kentucky State Highway 899, the main road through Pippa Passes.  Property was purchased, and a new church building was planned.

        In the 1990s, Randall Burchett, an architect in Prestonsburg, Kentucky, was engaged as the architect for the new church building.  Mr. Burchett provided a beautiful, angled design to fit snugly on the property, but it would have required a large amount of debt to build.  Several versions of plans, varying in square-footage were developed, but the cost continued to be prohibitive for such a small congregation.  Savings accumulated over a period of 15 years, but building costs continued to increase, respectively.  Then, in 2006, unfortunately after the Kennedys, Meltons, and Kimballs had retired and moved away from the Caney community, two women in the church, Mary Lois Jacobs and Margo Sparkman, decided it was time to put God's money to work.  The church voted to start the building project but to change the plans to a more affordable design, and a building committee was formed.

Building Committee Members

Jerry Moore, Project Manager
Burnis Jacobs, Assistant Manager
Donna Dudte, Prayer Warrior
Ann Moore, Hospitality Coordinator
Mary Lois Jacobs, Reporter
Margo Sparkman, Treasurer
Shelia Ann Jacobs, Secretary
Tim Watts, Plumbing Advisor
Kenneth Sparkman, Electrical Advisor

        After several months of struggling to find an appropriate church plan, a call came in from Dave Tidwell of Birmingham, Alabama, inquiring about our plans to build a church.  Mr. Tidwell was the project coordinator of a group of volunteer construction workers, the Carpenters for Christ, who were, at that time, constructing a church in Paint Lick, Kentucky, the home of church members Jerry Moore and Nancy Melton.  The building committee welcomed the Carpenters for Christ's interest and believe they were the answer to many years of prayer.
        The Carpenters for Christ, selected Caney Baptist Church for their mission outreach project for 2008, but the had to simplify Mr. Burchett's plan in order to make it volunteer-friendly.  On April 1, 2007, the ground-breaking ceremony for the new church building was held.  Construction began in June 2008 with the Carpenters for Christ putting it under roof, installing the bapistry, and setting the steeple.  Many additional volunteer teams and individuals followed over an 8-month period.  The new 9,000+ square-foot church now stands on the property on Highway 899.  The sanctuary is designed to seat 180 people, comfortably.  In one wing, there are nine Sunday School classrooms for Nursery, Preschool, 1-2 Graders, 3-4 Graders, 5-6 Graders, Teens, College, Adult Men, Adult Women.  The other wing houses a  beautiful new kitchen and fellowship hall, as well as a much-larger food pantry.  There are also handicapped-accessible restrooms and a spacious pastor's study.

        Caney Baptist Church members held the first Sunday service in the new church building on March 22, 2009, and a dedication ceremony will be held on May 17, 2009 at 10:00 a.m. with original founding members Charlotte Madden, Lawrence Baldridge and Martha Baldridge in attendance.  Rev. Floyd Titsworth offered up the sermon for the dedication service.  A permanent stone and granite sign was erected in 2010 and houses the bell  which had been donated by Jeannette Slone for the original  church.


cANEY BAPTIST CHURCH      4744 HIGHWAY 899      PIPPA PASSES, KENTUCKY 41844      (606) 368-2212