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Archives and Special Collections at Southeastern: Sandy Creek Baptist Association records

This guide is designed to introduce researchers to Archives and Special Collections at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Sandy Creek Baptist Association records, 1859-2013

Creator(s): Sandy Creek Baptist Association, Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, Southern Baptist Convention
Date(s): 1859-2013
Extent: 16 cu.ft.

Historical Note: The Sandy Creek Baptist Association is the oldest Baptist Association in North Carolina and the fourth oldest in the United States. As of 2020 the association resides in Sanford, North Carolina. The association was formed by Shubal Stearns who came from Boston, Massachusetts. He was part of the New Light Movement and became an ordained Baptist preacher in 1751. Being mission minded, he came to North Carolina in 1755, and the Sandy Creek Baptist Association began in 1758. Based from the Sandy Creek Baptist Church which was formed in 1755 by Shubal Stearns, the association began with nine member churches and 20 ministers. The association grew to contain a vast area that spanned from Georgia to Virginia and thus led to the creation of two other associations in 1770. The Georgia and South Carolina area was called the "Congragee Association," the Virginia area formed the "General Association," and the North Carolina area kept the original association name "Sandy Creek Association." For most of the association’s history, the association and its member churches have been located in Alamance, Chatham, Lee, and Randolph counties.

The first officers were elected in 1805 including a moderator and a clerk. There is little known of the early years due to a fire that burned all the association's records up until 1816. George Purefoy gathered and wrote on the history of the association from 1758 to 1858 which gives historical information where records are lacking. The association has a heritage of a missional focus, both international and domestic, which is evidenced throughout their records. Miss Roberta Pearle Johnson was the first international missionary sent from the association in 1915 to China. The association also played a large part in the rise in popularity of Sunday Schools in the 1830s. In the 1830s through 1850s, the association was in eager support of the American and Foreign Bible Society, the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, and the building of a seminary which lead to the Mount Vernon Seminary.

The book, "History Sandy Creek: 1858-1958," continues the history of Sandy Creek past Purefoy's book. This book contains many valuable records of each annual session and general history of Baptist associations within North Carolina. The association kept only one moderator and a clerk up until 1972 when the first associational missionary was appointed. In 1973 Rev. Manuel Cunnup was appointed associational missionary. Cunnup contributed greatly to the association during his time. The budget grew from $1,089 in 1961 to $17,484.60 in 1978. Later the "Associational Missionary" became "Director of Missions" in 1979 and reverted back in 2001 to "Associational Missionary."

Some of the ministries of the association include Women's Missionary Union, Christian Women's Job Corps, Baptist Home for Aging, Jubilee Choir, "M" Night, and general local and international missions and church planting. In 2008, the association was made up of 48 churches and missions with five of the churches being Hispanic, one being Filipino, and 42 being "Anglo." Missions still remains the focus for the association through its many ministries and trips. For the 250th anniversary in 2008, the association gathered a history of the association and the member churches which is within the collection in a binded book and in a larger binder.

Scope and Contents: The records of this collection cover the mid-1800s to the 2010s and are arranged in three main series: the national and state baptist convention materials gathered by the association, the association produced records, and the local member church records gathered by the association. The records are contained within 13 boxes (16 cubic feet). Some materials have been separated for mold remediation which is noted within the item's folder.

The first series consisting of the Southern Baptist Convention and Baptist State Convention of North Carolina materials predominantly falls between the 1970s - 1990s. The extent of series one is approximately 1.5 cubic feet. It consists of advertising materials, newsletters, annual session attendee packets, annuals, and books produced by the conventions. Some of the ministries highlighted in this series include the Baptist Home for Children, the Baptist Home for Aging, the Foreign Mission Board (currently known as the International Mission Board or IMB), and the Home Mission Board (currently known as the North American Mission Board or NAMB).

The second series consists of approximately 10.75 cubic feet of material produced by the Sandy Creek Baptist Association. This series contains annual reports, books of report, executive council and board meeting minutes, the "Link" newsletter, digest of letters, histories of the association and the member churches, newspaper clippings, artifacts, and ministry records for the Jubilee choir, Baptist Home for Seniors, Women's Missionary Union, and Christian Women's Job Corps. The annual reports cover the period 1874-2013. The years 1878, 1881, and 1997 are absent from the collection. The years 2014-2018 can be found in the Baptist Missions Room of the Archives.

The third series contains the records collected by the association from member churches and contains approximately 3.75 cubic feet of material. This series is listed in alphabetical order by the name of the churches. Some churches began as ministries or missions, and these were labeled as the association filed and labeled them, but some churches and missions had multiple names over the years. For clarification of the names of the formed churches, please refer to the book created by the association on the 250th anniversary. Records relating to individual churches include church bylaws, general correspondence, minister applications, bulletins, newsletters by the member churches, histories of the churches, newspaper clippings, event flyers, and directories.


Series 1: Southern Baptist Convention/Baptist State Convention of North Carolina records
    Subseries 1: Southern Baptist Convention records
    Subseries 2: Baptist State Convention of North Carolina records
Series 2: Sandy Creek Baptist Association records
     Subseries 1: Annuals and Annual Sessions
     Subseries 2: Book of Reports
     Subseries 3: Executive Board Meeting Minutes
     Subseries 4: Executive Council Meeting Minutes
     Subseries 5: General Records and History of the Association (unpublished)
     Subseries 6: History of the Association (published)
     Subseries 7: Association Newsletters
     Subseries 8: "M" Night
     Subseries 9: Jubilee Choir scrapbooks and records
     Subseries 10: Baptist Home Study Committee of Sandy Creek Baptist Association (rest home for elderly)
     Subseries 11: Christian Women's Job Corp of Sandy Creek Baptist Association
     Subseries 12: Women's Missionary Union of Sandy Creek Baptist Association
     Subseries 13: Artifacts
Series 3: Sandy Creek Baptist Association Member Church records

Language(s): English
Conditions Governing Access: This collection is open for research.
Related Materials: Sandy Creek Baptist Association annual reports are located in the Baptist Materials Room of the Archives.

Custodial History: Material held by the Association until retrieved by Archives staff December 2019.

Processing History: These records were donated by the Sandy Creek Baptist Association in 2019 for the Archives at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. The records were retrieved from the association's location in Sanford, NC by Jonathan Lawler, and Assistant Archivist, Dustin Toone. Accession documentation was prepared by Jonathan Lawler. Processing and creation of the finding aid was completed by Archives Intern, Ashley Peyton from March - August 2020.
Preferred Citation: Sandy Creek Baptist Association records, Archives and Special Collections, Library at Southeastern, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC.
Repository: Archives and Special Collections, Library at Southeastern, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC
Resource Identifier: ARC.095

Subjects and Access Points:

Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

Southern Baptist Convention

Southern Baptist Convention. Foreign Mission Board

Southern Baptist Convention. International Mission Board

Women's Missionary Union

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary