Our history

Sonora Baptist was founded in 1920 as the Sonora Missionary Baptist Church. Services were held in the old Sonora schoolhouse, with 26 members and Floyd Tillman 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 the pulpit and slat type benches. Out of debt, dedication services were held in November, 1941.

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The original rock building built in 1933. The church building remained the same until 1975.

Photo by Ray Watson, courtesy of the Shiloh Museum of Ozatk History/Ray Watson collection (5-85-325-1828)

In February, 1952 the church changed its affiliation to the Southern Baptist convention, and changed its name to Sonora Baptist Church. A dissenting group departed and formed Temple Baptist Church in Springdale, AR. The few who were left decided to keep the church going.

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The church added an educational wing in 1975.

Photo by Ray Watson, courtesy of the Shiloh Museum of Ozatk 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 served every Sunday night, with a potluck dinner held on the first Sunday of each month.

In 1977, Sonora Baptist sponsored Sang Avenue Mission in Fayetteville. Then, in 1979, they sponsored Northeast Southern Baptist Mission in Fayetteville. In that same year a foyer was added to the front of the church and a library was established.

In March of 1986 a note burning ceremony was held for the foyer and kitchen that had been added. Also, a 12 passenger van was purchased.

In 1987 work began on a new 3.080 square foot sanctuary, as the church was still meeting in the original rock building built in 1933. The new sanctuary was completed on February 1, 1988.

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The new sanctuary built in 1988.

On April 3, 1988, pastor John Smedley resigned. Later that year, on July 13, 1988, Danny Williams was called to be our new pastor. As of 2019 he continues to serve in that position, totaling nearly 31 years.

By the 1990’s the Sunday School had grown so much that new space was needed. To meet this need the church remodeled the original building, turning the sanctuary and downstairs kitchen area into additional Sunday School space. During the mid/late 1990’s we were out of Sunday School apace again and God again expanded our vision of what he wanted us to do to meet this need. In addition to the needed classroom space we were short on parking, fellowship space, and needs for space in 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 May 1999, the construction of a new educational building began. Many people made donations of time, money, and talent to help complete the project. In the 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 Sonora Baptist Church in multiple ministries, helping to meet the physical and spiritual needs to all ages.