Olive Branch continues to be active in the support of many organizations such as the Baptist Children’s Home, Inc., The Lott Carey Foreign Mission Convention, The Northern Virginia Baptist Association, the Sunday School Union and the Women’s Division of the Baptist this church. We pray for grace, strength and Divine guidance to continue this great endeavor in fulfilling our mission to always stand as a beacon of hope for the wanderer, a refuge for the troubled and a hope for posterity to all who seek the Savior’s call of salvation.
“Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.”
1869 – Present
Olive Branch Church was organized in 1869 out of prayer meetings held from house to house by a Council concerned with the spiritual welfare of the community. At this time the congregation had no building in which to worship, so they held services in the homes of James Bridgett, Joseph Moore and Charles Moore. Later, these men were among the first deacons of the church. After the membership began to grow, the Church used the old log schoolhouse, which was located partly on the property of Sister Martha Gaskins and Brother Scott Hailstock. Later, Brother Hailstock, Brother Burke and Brother John Grigsby agreed to buy an acre of land on which to build a church. With the financial help of James Bridgett, Charles Moore, Robert Tolliver, Scott Hailstock and William Gaskins, the first church was erected.
reverend Dr. george w. farmer
In March 1999, Dr. George W. Farmer, Jr. became our leader. Under his leadership the church continues to witness strong spiritual growth and increased attendance in Sunday School and weekly Bible study classes. Dr. Farmer directs the focus of the church toward Christian education and training with emphasis placed on youth involvement. We have experienced financial growth through our increased financial stewardship and tithing efforts. Olive Branch is engaged in more community outreach to assist the needy in and outside the church community and is embarking toward new horizons by increasing support to our elderly and disabled members. The church purchased a bus to provide transportation to those who are unable to get to worship services on their own. The church has a paid support staff to ensure that the administrative duties are carried out efficiently.
Dr. Farmer’s other affiliations include service on the Vice President’s Board of the Hampton Ministers Conference and Treasurer of the Fauquier County and Vicinity Ministers’ Coalition. He also teaches leadership seminars to churches large and small around the country.
reverend hugh m. johnson
In July, 1992, Rev. Hugh M. Johnson became our leader. Rev. Johnson’s acclaim was preaching The Gospel. The membership increased as did the Deaconess and Usher Boards. The Male Chorus was re-established and a transportation committee was appointed. Rev. Johnson accepted the call to pastor another church and resigned in January, 1998.
reverend alonzo a. ford
Rev. Alonzo A. Ford was elected as pastor in April, 1989. The church directed its focus toward Christian education and training. Emphasis was placed on youth involvement in the church and Rev. Ford instituted The Children’s Moment (presently know as Youth Ministry) as part of the regular Sunday morning worship service. He also instituted the Survival Kit Training Program for new members as the church continued to increase in membership. The church purchased its first computer and constructed an administrative office in the basement. Rev Ford resigned in January 1991.
reverend george n. hawkes
In September 1979, Rev. George N. Hawkes was elected as pastor. Rev. Hawkes reinstituted weekly Bible Study and Prayer Service. The church continued to grow spiritually as new members were added through baptism and Christian experience. Much material growth occurred during Rev. Hawkes administration including the installation of a baptismal pool, microphones and speaker system, a new furnace, dining room tables, a freezer, the purchase of a copier, the expansion of the cemetery grounds, and the construction of the utility building. Rev. Hawkes was called to Justice in July, 1988.
reverend harold c. hunter
In 1966, Olive Branch called Rev. Harold C. Hunter as its pastor. Members were added through baptism and Christian experience in ever increasing numbers. The church expanded services from two to four Sundays a month. The congregation paid off its mortgage and became debt free. The many improvements to the church included the installation of carpeting, a telephone, stained glass windows and a new well. Olive Branch’s 100th anniversary gift to itself was the installation of central air conditioning. Rev. Hunter resigned in January 1979.
reverend lawrence a. jackson
In 1950, Rev. Lawrence A. Jackson became our pastor. During his sixteen years of leadership the church became more involved in other Baptist organizations such as the Children’s Home, two summer camps for youth, and Virginia Union University. The church continued to grow spiritually as many were baptized and others joined by Christian experience. The church building was remodeled to include a basement, a pastor’s study, choir room, dining room, kitchen, rest rooms, and the church purchased its first electric organ.
The D.C. Club, composed of former members who had moved away to Washington, D.C. and vicinity, was organized during Rev. Jackson’s administration. The club’s focus was on the welfare of the church, its spiritual and material needs, to which numerous contributions were made for many years. Rev. Jackson accepted the call to pastor another church and resigned in 1965.
reverend john s. thomas
A second time, we were honored to call as pastor, a son of our community, Rev. John. S. Thomas, who was installed in 1940. He was the grandson of the first clerk of the church, Ross Thomas. Rev. Thomas rendered good service until his resignation in 1948
reverend peter g. berry
In 1933, Rev Peter G. Berry was called as pastor of the church. Being one of the community’s young men and son of some of the first worshippers, it was an honor to have him as pastor. During his administration that the church purchased the rest of Scott Hailstock’s land. It was felt that it should be added to the church as a memorial to the ones who had worked so hard so we could have our own church. Rev. Berry was an eloquent speaker and a real community worker. He played a leading role in the building of our community’s school. An acre of land was purchased and added to the cemetery and the church grounds were greatly improved. The church built a pastor’s study. Rev. Berry planted the hydrangea shrubs that presently stand tall along the side of the cemetery grounds. Rev. Berry, knowing that his time was near because of failing health, often brought Rev. John S Thomas with him to preach. Rev. Berry was called to Justice on May 16, 1939.
reverend j. p. nichols
In 1924, Rev. J.P. Nichols was called to pastor the church. Rev. Nichols was an outstanding scholar. During his administration the present vestibule was added to the church. He served as pastor for nine years and resigned in 1933.
reverend l.d. bruer
Rev. L.D. Bruer had been one of the visitors in the early stage of the church and after Rev. Smith’s death as well. He was called as the new pastor on June 28, 1919. He immediately opened a great revival and many souls were added to the membership. There was need for expansion and the church was remodeled. After five years of service, Rev. Bruer was called to Justice in 1923.
reverend william n. smith
Reverend William N. Smith was called as the first pastor in April, 1878. Rev. Smith baptized Susan Moore as the first candidate for baptism. Alice Lansdowne followed by Hannah and Matilda Hailstock were also among the first baptized members. Many of the older members came out of the white Antioch Baptist Church having been members there during the time of slavery. Rev. Smith served the church for forty years traveling by horseback or horse and buggy. Under his administration, there were two churches built and much aid was received from all citizens of the community, black and white. On March 18, 1918, Rev. Smith was called to Justice.