One of the oldest churches in Liberty County, the Walthourville Baptist Church, was founded in 1809 as the North Newport Baptist Church.
Under the leadership of the Rev. John Hubbard, the church celebrated her 201st anniversary in November 2010.
With her long and distinguished history, the church has had several homes over the years. In 1923, the church moved to Walthourville, where the present sanctuary was built and still stands. In 1952, the members voted and renamed the church Walthourville Baptist Church.
The edifice has two unique features, solid brick walls and a theater-style floor made of heart pine.
While certainly not a newly established church, Walthourville Baptist does have a new pastor. Pastor Hubbard of Spring Lake, N.C., says he is humbled to be the church’s leader. He has been in ministry for three years and Walthourville Baptist is the first church where he has served as pastor.
Hubbard retired from the military at Fort Bragg. He had served with the Special Forces in Africa, Zimbabwe and Mali. During his military career, he was also assigned to Fort Campbell, Ky., Fort Drum, N.Y., Korea and Panama.
Located on Vandiver Road off Highway 119 (Talmadge Road), Walthourville Baptist Church has services every Sunday at 11 a.m., with Sunday school for children and adult Bible study at 9:45 a.m. Prayer and praise service is at 5 on Sunday evenings. Prayer meeting and Bible study is held on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.
“My vision is that Christ would grow us in the grace and in the knowledge of Him and grow us as He sees fit congregationally, which leads to the glory of God,” Hubbard said.
During 2011, the pastor said he would like to see more kingdom growth and a youth program started.
Currently, the church has a women’s ministry and men’s ministry. “We have women’s brunch and fellowship on the third Saturdays at 10 a.m. and a men’s prayer breakfast at 8 a.m. on the second Saturdays,” Hubbard said.
The members do individual evangelism, and the church has purchased Christian tracts to pass out. Hubbard has gone through formal evangelism training. He also has a bachelor’s of religion from Liberty University.
“Stay in the word; don’t compromise the truth, be God pleasers, not man pleasers,” the pastor said when asked about his advice to pastors. He credits Pastor Thomas Waters of the Emanuel Baptist Church in Jesup, Paul Washer, founder of Heart Cry Ministry Missionary Society, and Bill Legg with helping to shape his ministry.
“Bill Legg is a full-time street evangelist,” he said.
Hubbard is married to Tonia Hubbard, who is employed at Fort Stewart Criminal Investigations Division. They have been married 18 years and have two children. The Hubbards live in Long County.
“I love to praise the Lord and I love to study. Hopefully, I will write a book one day,” he said.
Hubbard said he also enjoys farming, gardening and raising animals.
Pastor Hubbard said the members at Walthourville Baptist are very loving and caring. “They are faithful. We welcome visitors with open arms, and are praying for Godly growth.”