Original Sonora Baptist Church

Here are photos and a short history of our church:

The Sonora Missionary Baptist Church was organized in 1920 in the old Sonora schoolhouse, with 26 members and with Floyd Tilman as Pastor. In 1933 a stone building was constructed using native stone. It was a community cooperative project with many church members donating labor, money, and hauling materials. They hand-built a pulpit and slat-type benches. Out of debt, dedication services were held in November 1941. In February 1952, it changed to Southern Baptist. A dissenting group departed and formed Temple Baptist Church. The few who were left decided to keep the church going.

Sonora Baptist Church Historic Photos

Photo by Ray Watson, Courtesy of Shiloh Museum of Ozark History/Ray Watson Collection (5-85-325-1828)

An educational wing was added in 1975. Also, a vacant lot next to the church was purchased with expansion in view. Vivian (Mrs. Ivan) Perry donated an organ in memory of her parents, Will and Lillie Cannon, and charter church members. In 1976 a kitchen was installed, and refreshments were served every Sunday night, with a Potluck Dinner on the first Sunday of each month.

In 1977 Sonora Baptist Church sponsored Sang Avenue Mission in Fayetteville and, in 1979, they sponsored Northeast Southern Baptist Mission in Fayetteville. Also, a foyer was added across the front of the sanctuary, and a library was established. In March of 1986 a note-burning ceremony was held for the fellowship hall and the kitchen. Also, a 12-passenger bus was purchased. In 1987 work began on a new 3,080 sq. ft. sanctuary which was completed on February 1, 1988. On April 3, 1988, John Smedley resigned as our Pastor.  On July 13, 1988, Danny Williams became our new Pastor and continues to serve in that capacity.

“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”
Romans 8:31 

During the 1990s, the church had grown so much that additional Sunday School space was needed. To meet this need, the church remodeled the old sanctuary and basement into additional Sunday School space. During the mid- to late 1990s, God, again, expanded our vision on what He wanted us to do. We were, again, out of Sunday School space and our needs continued to grow for more parking, fellowship space, and other ministries. With this need in mind, a group of members regularly met outside the building holding hands as they prayed, asking God for more space. God had always provided for our needs, and they trusted He would continue. The property next to the church was not for sale, so they and many others asked God to make it available to them, even though the owner was not interested in selling. In late 1997, God made the property available. Three lots were purchased and a new parking lot was paved.

In late 1999, the construction of a new educational building began. Many people made donations of time, money, and talent to help complete the project. In late 2000, the educational building was completed and in use. By 2003 the building was paid off and a note-burning ceremony was held. God had, again, answered our prayers and blessed us in ways that only He could.

Today, God continues to bless the Sonora Baptist Church in multiple ministries, helping to meet the physical and spiritual needs of all ages.