Center Hill Baptist Church Holds A Rich Tradition....


More than just an idea, in 1946, a few believing neighbors started having a weekly prayer meeting.  The meetings were held at different homes each week.  With several months of prayer, members of the prayer band decided to organize a church.  The founding members were, Reverend Hosea R. Rancifer, Moderator, Sister Cora Rancifer, Brother Leroy Reeves, Sr.,  Sister Annie Mae Reeves, Brother Friendly Hollinger, Brother Frank McCrary, Brother Lewis Reid and Sister Sarah Reid.  They thanked and praised God for giving them the vision to organize a church.

On October 19, 1946, The Center Hill Mission was born.  The members continued to meet in different homes until Division Baptist Church moved into their new church.  Division Baptist Church rented their old church building to the Center Hill Mission.  Meetings were held there until June 18, 1947.  In June of 1947, we bought a military barracks from Camp Wheeler and the building was moved to Marigold Avenue.  A lot was purchased from Mrs. Annie Hudson.  Through prayer and faith, we accomplished yet another mission.

On July 27, 1947, we marched around the church and bowed at the door giving thanks to God for the many blessings he had  bestowed upon us.  We were no longer a mission.  We were now the Center Hill Baptist Church.  Brother Leroy Reeves, Sr. suggested the name Center Hill as in his dream;  he had seen the church in the “Center of a Hill”.

Reverend Hosea R. Rancifer was the first Pastor of Center Hill Baptist Church.  He served from 1946 until his home going in 1989 (43 years).  Brother Sandy Miller was the first candidate to be baptized.

As our membership grew, we started to organize auxiliaries.  Our first auxiliary was the Senior Choir with Sister Annie F. Reeves as Musician.  Next, the Gospel Choir was formed with Sister Gladys Glover as Musician.  Deacon Leroy Reeves, Sr. was elected Chairman of the Deacon Board.  Our first piano was purchased from Sister Julia Dennard.
We continued to grow having meetings on the Second and Fourth Sunday of each month.  Through a good Pastor and God ordained  leadership, many souls were added to the church. Our membership is now over 700.

The singing of hymns and the choir singing could be heard ringing throughout the Unionville Community.  In addition, you could hear the ringing sound of the Black
Iron Bell (Rung by Deacon Reeves) for miles around.  Some of the hymns lead by Deacon Reeves, Deacon Cottle, Deacon McCrary, Deacon Lightfoot and others were:
Amazing Grace How Sweet The Sound, Father I Stretch My Hand To Thee and That Awful Day Will Surely Come.                                                                                                                
In 1953, Center Hill Baptist Church joined the National Baptist Convention.  Today, we are still a part of this Convention as our current Pastor attends each year. Our membership continued to grow and it was necessary to look for a larger lot for a larger building to be built.  On April 14, 1964, our dreams through prayer and faith were again answered.  We held our groundbreaking Ceremony for our new church.  On November 11, 1964, we marched from our old church on Marigold Avenue to our new church on Cedar Avenue for our Dedicatory services.  Oh, how our hearts burned with praise and joy!  On June 11, 1978, we had our Mortgage burning Ceremony “What a Day to Remember”.  The Center Hill Congregation continued to grow.

In 1982, a handicap Ramp was erected to accommodate members confined to wheelchairs and others who were physically challenged.  A church Van was purchased.  A house and a lot on May Avenue were purchased for additional parking and two monuments were erected at the front of the church.

In 1985, the home going of one of our church founders, Deacon Leroy Reeves, Sr., saddened our hearts.  In 1985, Deacon Leroy Reeves, Jr. was called to preach.  He was licensed and preached his first Sermon on September 11, 1985.

Our hearts were saddened again in 1989 when our Pastor, Reverend Hosea R. Rancifer, another one of our church founders was called from his labor to reward.  The church was left without a Pastor for eight months.  Different Ministers served us until we were able to elect a new Pastor.

On August 17, 1989, Reverend Leroy Reeves, Jr. was elected Pastor of the Center Hill Baptist Church and was installed on October 15, 1989.  Under the effective leadership of Pastor Reeves, we have become a fulltime full service church.  Other notable accomplishments are as follows:  Continued membership  growth, purchased  seven additional lots, blacktopped the parking area, erected a fence around the church property and the area where the Van was being kept. Cushions have been added to the seats in the Sanctuary, purchased Bibles for the Sanctuary, enlarged the Choir loft, remodeled the front entrance to the church, remodeled the bathrooms to include changing shelves for babies, added the H. R. Rancifer Educational and Fellowship Wing, which includes seven additional classrooms, a new Pastor’s Study, Pastor’s Assistant’s Office, Administrative Office, Computer Lab, Computers, Laser Printers, etc enabling us to better serve our membership, (at a cost of over $300,000), added  a sound booth to operate a Tape Ministry, employed Security Officers and a Security Alarm System, instituted the L. Reeves, Sr. Resource Library Center and a Full Service Outreach Center.

Pastor Reeves continued his pastorate by organizing the following Ministries and Services:  Activities Ministry, Brotherhood Ministry, Children Church, Christian Education Ministry, Courtesy Ministry, Food Bank, Kitchen Ministry, L. Reeves, Jr. Male Chorus, Men’s Sunday School Class, Music Ministry, New Member Orientation Class,  New Member Class, Nurses Ministry, Outreach /Mission Ministry, Pastor’s Support Ministry, Prayer, Praise & Bible Study for Adults (Youth and Children), Sanctuary Choir, Scholarship Ministry, Seniors Ministry, Tape Ministry, Trustee Ministry, Van Ministry, Women’s Ministry, Youth Choir and Youth Ministry.

In 2003 a house was purchased next door to the church and was converted into a full  service Outreach Center which includes a Food and Clothing Bank.  Also the Center provides Financial assistance to the needy, Discipleship, Prayer and Referrals.

​Nine Associate Ministers have been added to our membership:  Reverend E.G. Hale, Reverend M.L. Goolsby, Reverend Ben Williamson, Reverend Robert Simmons, Reverend George Respress, Reverend Jacoby Hall, Reverend W.M. Maynard and Reverend Donald Hallman, Reverend Harris Walker and  Reverend Terry Baker.

​Thirteen Deacons have been added:  Sammie Oliver, Jr., Richard Howard, James D. Johnson, Richard Murphy, Melvin Lawrence, William Jackson, Otis Harris, Bruce Colbert, Bernard Andrews, Wynous Hall, Sr., Willie T. Clark, Sr., Timothy Lee, Brian Colbert and Charlie Wallace.

In 2006 another church Van was purchased and a fence was erected  in October, 2009 for security purposes.

Another House and Lot on Cedar Avenue was purchased  and our Outreach Center was moved to 1562 Cedar Avenue.       

​September 27, 2009, Ordination service was held for two Deacons to be added to the Deacons Ministry, namely: Brothers Timothy Lee and Brian Colbert bringing the total deacons of Center Hill Baptist Church to 13.

In October, 2009, we were blessed again and purchased another lot on May Avenue.

September 26, 2010, re-naming of the CHBC Outreach  Center Dedication service was held in honor of Deacon Eldries Colbert.  The new name for the Outreach Center is  Deacon Eldries Colbert Outreach Center. Groundbreaking  Ceremony for our New Sanctuary/Worship Center was held on April 23, 2011 at 12:00 noon . “To God Be The Glory for His Blessings”.  Groundbreaking was performed by Pastor Leroy Reeves, Jr., Deacon Charlie Wallace, Chairman of Deacons Ministry, CHBC Deacon & Trustee Ministry, namely:

Deacon Earnest Clark, Deacon James Johnson, Deacon Wynous Hall, Deacon Richard Howard, Deacon Brian Colbert, Trustee and Deacon Timothy Lee and Mother
Annie Mae Reeves, Mother of the CHBC.  “Oh What A Happy, Joyous and  Blessed Occasion It Was“. In 2011 the Center Hill Baptist Church began  the building of over a million dollar
facility that would house a new Sanctuary, Pastor’s Study and Administrative Office. The Sanctuary was completed in March of 2012.  On April 15, 2012 we marched from Cedar Avenue to May Avenue with excitement and “Joy“.  Dedicatory services were held beginning with regular Worship at 11:00 a.m. and the Dedication was climaxed  at 4:00 p.m. by Dr. Walter L. Glover, Jr. and the Greater Zion Hill Baptist Church and the Union Baptist Missionary & Educational Association, Inc.   

​Center Hill continues to experience tremendous growth in membership and has become known as simply, “The Hill” a church that is building bridges for future generations.  The membership continues to be blessed under the leadership of Pastor Leroy Reeves, Jr., as he is led by the Holy Spirit. We are striving and working toward being the type of church God is calling for in the last days.

We will keep our hands in GOD’S hands and continue to grow.