Wake Baptist Grove Church

Wake Baptist Church Legacy


The forefathers of Wake Piney Grove Church (Sister Church to Johnson Piney Grove in Clayton, NC) met and held the first worship service under a bush arbor (a covered shelter or grove of trees) in 1867. The church name was later changed to Wake Baptist Grove Church.

Rev Essex Blake of Raleigh, NC was chosen pastor in 1868. Rev. Blake and the faithful members held services each third Sunday in a small building. A Board of Deacons was selected: Allen Haywood, Elias Allen, Tom Haywood and Ranson Jones. After many years this structure was blown down, but the members joined together and erected another church at the site on Old Garner Road, Garner, North Carolina.

Other minister to serve Wake Baptist Grove Church were Rev.A.T. Price, Rev. M.S. Elam, Rev. Bob Jones, Rev. W.A. Jones, Rev. W.E. Ellerbe,Re. Messiah Palmer, and Rev. Samuel Sanders.

Wake Baptist Grove Church was reconstructed in 1917 with the pulpit toward the railroad tracks and the back to the highway as it stands today. It was under Rev. Canady's leadership that the church's auxiliaries were reorganized. A senior Choir was organized and new Deacons were ordained. Rev. Cannady went to his heavenly home in 1920.

Rev. J.W. Powell of Wake Forest, NC was pastor in 1928 and during this time the outdoor Baptismal pool was built . He was known as a dynamic preacher and singer.

Rev. G. S. Stokes served as pastor for more than thirty years. Under Rev. Stokes' leadership the old stone church was modernized with the purchase of lights, a furnace, a communion set, and a new piano.

Rev. J. L. Clanton served as interim pastor after the resignation of Rev. Stokes.

Rev. Dr. C. P. Briley came  came to Wake Baptist Grove in 1964. He intitiated the youth interval and organized the Briley Chorus. January of 1975, Dr. Briley and the church membership marched from the orignial church on Old Garner Road to the refurbished edifice at 302 East Main Street, our present location. Rev. Briley went to be with the Lord in December 1981.

Rev. Miiton Walton served as interim pastor after the death of Dr. Briley.

Rev. Leonard Farrar was elected as pastor of Wake Baptist Grove in October 1982 and served until September 1992. It was under his leadership that an 8:00 a.m. service was added to accommodate the increase in membership. He also implemented new ministries: youth programs, additional choirs, increased the musical staff and added musical instruments. In September of 1992, Rev. Farrar and serveral members moved to another site.

There was a "New Beginning" at Wake Baptist Grove Church in October of 1992. Although we were reorganizing and did not have a permanent pastor, the membership went forth to organize and carry on the mission of the church. The Pastor Selection Committee scheduled ministers to come in each Sunday to bring the Word.

Rev. Peter Johnson became the interim pastor at Wake Baptist Grove Church on March 7, 1993. All auxiliaries of the church began projects and services to reach out into the community and to improve the fellowship with community churches. The membership increased from sixty to one hundred thirty members. 

Rev. Charles Valentine, Jr., an associate minister at Elevation Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, was elected pastor on July 3, 1994. He was installed on August 14, 1994. Several programs were implemented under his tenure to enrich and strengthen the church. Such as: Sunday school beginning  at 9:30 a.m. for longer study, encouraging a "meet and greet" during morning worship service, having a once per month "come as you are jubilee service" , a Commitment Counseling Group that would instruct and guide new members. Rev. Valentine resigned from Wake Baptist Grove Church on June 30, 2003.

Rev. Frankie Pettiford, an Associate minister at Wake Baptist Grove Church , was selected to serve as interim Pastor in July 2003. Rev. Pettiford led the ministry br preaching on Sundays, teaching Bible Study, performing all pastoral duties, assisted by the Deacons. The membership selected Pastor Selection Committee and they began the process of finding a pastor.

Rev. Ronald A. Burrell, an associate minister at Mount Peace Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC, was elected to serve as pastor on July 8, 2005. Rev. Burrell was installed as pastor on September 4,2005. Rev. Burrell intiated " Feast Night" onthe 1st Wednesday of each month before Bible Study as a time for members to fellowship duing dinner before attending Bible Study. A children's Bible study was reestablished under his leadership on Wednesday nights. Jubilee service was once again a monthly/quarterly service. The church purchased a new bus and piano during Rev. Burrell’s tenure as pastor. The outreach ministry under Rev. Burrell’s leadership extended as far away as Zimbabwe, Africa and as close as Princeville in eastern North Carolina, and two post-Katrina missions to the gulf coast including New Orleans.  Rev. Burrell delivered his final sermon on Sunday, March 11, 2012. He passed away on Tuesday, May 1, 2012.

The Deacons Ministry under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and led by Chairman Stanley Davis, Assistant chair Henry Holbrook, Senior Deacons - Rufus Avery, and Julius Avery,  Deacons James Hall and Thomas Morgan filled the leadership void left by Rev. Burrell. They assumed all pastoral duties except delivering the word on Sunday morning. The Deacons rotated the Associates ministers (Rev. Dr. Joseph Lovelace, Rev. Patricia Hall, Rev. Willie Dunmeyer, and Rev. James Rogers, Sr.) and scheduled guest preachers and speakers when needed. 

Reverend Dr. Joseph C. Lovelace, an associate minister at Wake Baptist Grove was elected by the membership to serve as interim pastor on July 27, 2012. Dr. Lovelace recommended a 24/7 Prayer Line, led a “Train-the-Trainer” Class for the New Member’s Committee, and helped organized a “Voter Registration Team”. He led the Church in an annual “Fasting/Prayer” in preparation for annual revivals.  Rev. Lovelace served as interim pastor until November 2, 2013.

Rev. James E. Clanton Jr., former pastor of First Baptist in New Hill, and a relative of the Rev. J. L. Clanton, was elected by the members to serve as pastor on June 21, 2014.  Rev. Clanton had the unique honor of performing the two Ordinances instituted and established by Jesus Christ for His Church, on his first Sunday, Baptism and Communion. Rev. Clanton became pastor on August 1, 2014 and was installed as pastor on Sunday, September 28, 2014.  Pastor Clanton quickly made an indelible spiritual mark on the Wake Baptist Grove members in particular and the Garner community in general. Several notable accomplishments included; Morning prayer with the Associates, Deacons and choir members, the Fellowship or Worship, the Ordination of New Deacons, the election of new Trustees, hosting the 2015 Annual Meeting of the Wake Missionary Baptist Association, the return to five nights of Revival Services - welcoming former pastors: Rev. Valentine and Bishop Farrah, the establishment of the Youth Tutorial Ministry, a renewed emphasis on Evangelism, the addition of new musicians and musical instruments, and the purchase of ALL the property on our block. “GOD IS GOOD.” His leadership abilities were also recognized by the Wake Baptist Missionary Association with being elected Vice-President of the Union during the Annual meeting on August 20, 2016.  


    -Wake Baptist Grove is a Missionary Baptist Church under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and the leadership and vision or our Pastor - James E. Clanton Jr.; we are “Going Where God Leads Us”.  He has been leading us 149 years!-


                               “Going Where God Leads Us”