Air Line Baptist Church was established in July, 1874, with fourteen charter members: Burrell Hulsey, William Head, Noah Martin, William Rite, Jasper Browning, Lid Ivah, James Sweetman, Larret Hulsey, Sarah Head, Martha Martin, Amanda Rite, Joicy Ivah, Narsissia Ivah, and Martha Sweetman. The first services were held in a small log building on White Sulphur Road. The name “Air Line” was given by Burrell Hulsey for the Air Line Railroad (now Norfolk Southern) which was the first in the area to utilize air brakes. In August, 1874 the Church called its first pastor, J.H. Harris and voted to ordain James Ivah as the Church’s first deacon.
|Second Church Building|
In 1884 a new building was erected with much of the labor and materials donated by the members. In 1940 a basement was added and in 1955 a sub-basement was completed.
In the beginning, services were held the second Saturday and Sunday each month. The Church became “half time” in 1941, meeting on the second and fourth Sunday each month. It was not until 1960 that Air Line called a full time pastor.
|Third Church Building|
In 1967 construction began on a new church a short distance from the old building. The dedication for the new church building was held in November, 1968. Pastor J.L. Gibson presided over the dedication service which included former pastors of Air Line.
In 1988, the Church called Rev. Charles Pirkle as its Pastor. Under the leadership of Rev. Pirkle, Air Line began to experience tremendous growth and soon realized that additional facilities were needed.
In 1992 construction began on our first addition. This building provided educational space, office space, and additional sanctuary space. It also included renovations to the sanctuary such as stained glass windows, new pews and new pulpit furniture.
The 6,000 square foot addition was completed in 1993 and the dedication service was held June, 1993 by former Interim Pastor Rev. A. C. Stephens.
Charles M. Pirkle Educational Bldg.
In 2000, construction began on our second addition. The 8,100 square foot building provided much needed educational space, a new choir rehearsal room and a library.
The dedication service was held in January 2001 by Evangelist Sam Cathey. It was during this service that the addition was formally named the “Charles M. Pirkle Educational Building”.
New Sanctuary Interior
In 2003 Air Line embarked on its largest expansion to date.
A 3.2 million dollar sanctuary that seats almost 1,000. The project also included a complete renovation of the existing sanctuary into a foyer, additional offices, a new choir rehearsal area, rest rooms, and a new library area.
For over 135 years Air Line Baptist Church has been a light house to this community. We continue to experience a mighty outpouring of God’s presence and power and make our commitment to the Lord to continue carrying the torch until