Humble beginnings

In the years following slavery, the black community in the Bordeaux area was left in a spiritual void.  The ex-slaves came together to worship in an area known as the Goolsby Lands.  It is not known who first donated the land for the church, but it was received as a gracious gift.  There was no structure in which to worship, so they worshipped underneath a tree.  Thus, Cedar Grove Baptist Church was founded.

The first minister was Rev. Wallace Shelby form the Antioch Community
This was a lively time both spiritually and socially for this small church, whose members worked hard all week.  Rev. Andrew Wilson was the second pastor.  He was from the Rock City Community, which is now Inglewood.  During his leadership, the first church was built in 1872.  Members of the congregation would work a week at given times to help with the building of the church.  Rev. Wilson pastored Cedar Grove for twenty years.  The third pastor was Henry C. Abernathy of the Bordeaux area.  His parents were among the founders of the church.

The Era of Hope

On December 23, 1919, the trustees of Cedar Grove purchased 2.37 acres of land from Delta Treppard for a sum of $200.  A new church had to be built, because the old building had fallen to ill repairs.  Rev. Abernathy supplied lumber for the building of the second church, which stands in front of where the old structure once stood.  Again members turned out to build the new church.

The fourth pastor was Rev. William Gregory.  His pastorage started in 1950 and under his leadership, a building fund was instituted.  The church was expanded by adding two rooms to the back of the church.  Rev Gregory was a strong supporter of the Stones River District Association.  Rev. William Scruggs was elected pastor in January 1962, and the building program continued.  He was also a strong supporter of the Stones River District Association.  He resigned to become the pastor of New Hope Baptist Church.


In 1972, the Pulpit Committee recommended Rev. Benjamin Farell.  He was elected, and under his leadership, the interior of the church was remodeled.  He resigned on November 6, 1977.

On march 29, 1978, Rev. Roosevelt Hughes, Jr. was elected unanimously.  He instituted a prayer and teaching ministry.  Rev. Hughes resigned as pastor of Cedar Grove in November of 1979.  Again Cedar Grove was without a spiritual leader, and a pulpit committee was formed to seek a new pastor. 

Rev. Fred E. Conley was installed as the pastor on April 27, 1980.  In the Fall of 1986, Rev Rodney Hampton seceded Rev. Conley as pastor of Cedar Grove.  He was pastor until the following year, 1987.  Cedar Grove was again left without a pastor. 

The Era of Movement and Vision

The Lord had called a wonderful new messenger into his service,  Rev. Venerria B. Smith.  She was ordained into the Baptist ministry on February 18, 1988.  Recognizing her as one of God’s chosen leaders, the congregation of Cedar Grove installed Rev. Smith as the pastor this same year.  Since her inception, the congregation of Cedar Grove has been experiencing a rebirth.

This era finds Cedar Grove in the midst of a great movement.  The BRIDGE Outreach Ministry, established in 1995, was borne out of faith and obedience to God, and continues to be a part of the vision for a powerfully anointed ministry and will be of service to those in need of spiritual and physical assistance.  The members of Cedar Grove are in preparation for this outreach movement, with evangelistic training, and several other study programs designed to increase their understanding of, and role in, the Great Commission.  Visions for Cedar Grove also include a new building to accommodate the growth of this church and further development of The BRIDGE Outreach ministries.