About Hillside Baptist Church
1903 was a very important year to many people. To Henry Ford, it was when he introduced a new motorcar to the United States. To the Wright brothers, it was when they took their flight at Kitty Hawk - a dream come true. One of the greatest politicians of our state and nation was born - Senator Strom Thurmond. An entertainer loved by the military and enjoyed by many, Mr. Bob Hope, was born. Animal crackers were introduced to the American public as a favorite snack food. And on the Southwest end of Greenville County, a little country church was constituted, called Hillside Baptist Church, a minister to community needs.
Before the turn of the twentieth century, a group of people saw a spiritual need and organized cottage prayer meetings in various homes throughout the community. It was not long until these same people organized Sunday School classes to have on-going weekly Bible study. From the "brush arbor" days came the desire to organize a Baptist church in the Hillside community. People in the community built a building in 1902 to be used by the Baptists, Methodists, and the Presbyterians. Strangely though, only the Baptists ever used the building. Following a series of "protracted meetings" led by Rev. A.E. Howard, on August 16, 1903, Hillside Baptist began to serve and minister to the people of this community. Here we are, 109 years old and the days are bright for the church.
No doubt in 100 years of scientific improvements, many changes have come about which has made church life better. One of those improvements is electricity. For years, Hillside used oil lights that were purchased by the ladies of the church with proceeds from selling hens. These oil lights were used up until 1940. Another improvement was indoor plumbing. For many years, Hillside had to "out houses" behind the church, at the edge of the woods. One was marked "men" and the other was marked "ladies." The restrooms were built in the church in 1960. Another improvement was gas heat. For years Hillside heated the church with coal-burning stoves that gave way to many funny stories of "gunny sacks" falling down from the ceiling on people in the services. And who could forget air conditioning replacing funeral home fans and seat cushions so members could sit and listen to those "long-winded" preachers!
Yet one thing remains constant - the people of Hillside Church still have a burning desire to tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love. What started with 15 charter members is now over 400 in membership. The longest serving pastor was Rev. W.A. Baldwin, who preached for 36 years (1916-1952). The current pastor is Rev. W. Eddie Howard, Jr. who has served the church for 18 years. The old saying "what goes around, comes around" must be true. Over 100 years ago, 1903, Hillside began with Rev. A.E. Howard. Now, in 2012, a Howard is still preaching. May God continue to bless this church family, until Jesus comes to call us to our eternal home.