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A Brief History of

Clayton Baptist Church

The story of the church family called Clayton Baptist is squarely focused on the goodness and faithfulness of God Himself. Without His hand of guidance and protection, the more than 200 years of history would not be worth telling and would most certainly have already come to an end. The historical markers and brief descriptions below are a simple and very incomplete story of what God has been doing over the last two centuries. A team of Clayton Baptist members put together an exhaustive history a few years ago and published it as a book. Let us know if you'd like a copy, or come to our church library and check out a copy.


1784 - Georgia Baptist Association Formation

Organized by five churches: Kiokee, Fishing Creek , Upton's Creek (Greenwood), Red's Creek (Abilene), and Little Briar Creek.

1814 - Baptist General Convention Formation

First met in Philadelphia in order to pool resources to support foreign missionaries like Adoniram Judson, and to encourage gospel ministry to unreached groups in America like the

Cherokee people.

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1817 - Humphrey Posey

Appointed by the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions as a missionary to the Cherokee and frontier settlers, particularly in Western North Carolina and North Georgia. Member of the presbytery that formed Clayton Baptist.

1819 - Rev. Stephen White

Leading member of the first presbytery which would soon form Stekoa United Baptist Church and the new church's first pastor. He wrote the circular letter of Tugalo association in 1820. In this letter he deplored the destitution existing in the mountain sections in the area. He noted the scarcity of ministers in the territory. As an early minister and missionary, he also looked across the border into North Carolina and saw the destitution there. He sent out notice to ministers of other associations to look over the fields at the white harvests in the mountains. One writer says of him: "He was evidently a public, spirited, zealous, and

far-seeing man."

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August 14, 1819 - Stekoa United Baptist Church

On Saturday, August 14, 1819, Clayton Baptist Church was constituted as Stekoah United Baptist Church. The date was four months before Rabun became a Georgia county. Only a handful of scattered settlers lived in the rugged wilderness area, an area inhabited by the Cherokee Indians. Written notes indicate that ten men founded the initial church.

1845-84 - Rev. John Coffee

He is the longest tenured pastor in the history of the church at close to 40 years. For many of those years he also served as moderator of the Mountain Baptist Association. He and his wife are both buried in the cemetary directly behind the current Sanctuary building.

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Approximately 1870

A new church building was built on the property Clayton Baptist currently occupies. This land had been given by Thomas "Red" Kelly in 1850. After relocating, the members changed the name to Stekoah Baptist Church of Clayton.

1906 - A New Association

The Rabun County Baptist Association was constituted at Clayton Baptist Church with Rev. Charles Ledford, her pastor, named as first moderator. Rev. Ledford pastored until 1909.

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1937-40 - A New Auditorium

Under the leadership of Rev. J.B. Brown, and during the Great Depression, the church sacrificed and labored to complete a new auditorium. This is the same auditorium that is still used today for

worship services.

1953-67 - Period of Growth

During the fourteen-year pastorate of J.E. Dillard, Clayton Baptist went through a growth spurt in membership and the yearly church budget nearly tripled during this same time.

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1991 - Third Floor Fire

During a Wednesday night revival service led by former CBC Pastor, Sam Letson, a fire broke out in the third floor of the education building. Firefighters from eleven stations responded to put it out.

2002 - Ministry Activities Center

Under the leadership of then pastor Mike Campbell, the $1.94 million building was dedicated in May 2002. Soon after current pastor Joey Thompson arrived the bank note was completely paid off in April of 2012.

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2016 - David Rogers 30th

After graduating from seminary, David Rogers began serving as youth pastor in March 1986. As one of the longest tenured youth pastors in Georgia Baptist history, he and his wife Norma have been serving CBC faithfully for more than 35 years.

2019 - Derrick Street House

The church members bought this property knowing that God would use it somehow. Shortly thereafter, God revealed that this house will be used to care for foster children and families.

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2022 - Joey Thompson 15th

In 2007, Clayton Baptist Church called Joey Thompson as her 41st pastor. After he, Marla, and their 4 children came, he set CBC on a path to know and love the Word deeply, and to "glorify God by making disciples of all nations until Jesus returns." 

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