The history of Summer Hill Baptist Church is traced back to a simple, one-room schoolhouse. Following the Civil War and days of “Reconstruction”, this small wooden tabernacle was built with shutter windows with “T-type” hinges on one side for cross ventilation. Local teachers and students would meet from 8:45am to 3:30pm on weekdays. Some Sundays, the community would gather there for prayer and Bible study. On two separate occasions, the building caught fire and burned to the ground. In each case, the community gave their time and resources to build again the structure they deemed so vital for education and the teaching of God’s Word.
In 1880, Jacob Fry organized a Sunday school and became the first Sunday School Superintendent. Services were then held every Sunday morning. At times, the attendance was small and disappointing. But Mr. Fry remained faithful to keep the “doors open” and would “fire-up” the wood stove in the winter. After years of service, other capable and faithful Sunday School Superintendents followed Mr. Fry: James Freeman, Thomas Short, Ellis Morrison, and Rev. W.C. Hough. Revival services were held each fall. Later, Rev. Williams, pastor of the Carthage and Bethlehem Baptist Churches, agreed to preach at 2pm on the second Sunday of each month.
A new white frame structure was built in 1916, which was more modern and roomier for both students and worshippers. In 1924, Summer Hill School was consolidated into the Sandhills Farm Life School. The Summer Hill building still remained in use for community worship until an organized church was established on January 13, 1929.
This presbytery consisted of the following ministers: Rev. C.H. Hartsell of Jackson Springs; Rev. F.D. Solomon of Pinehurst; Rev. J.C. Styers of Jackson Springs; and Rev. Joney Thompson of Aberdeen. The following deacons and deaconess were ordained: J.A. Williamson, N.H. Arnette and Fannie Arnette.
Records reveal the names of the following charter members: N.H. Arnette, Fanny Arnette, Fannie Rosser, Alma Williamson, Herbert Williamson, Ida Williamson, J.A. Williamson, Kitty Williamson, and Mattie F. Williamson. At the annual meeting of the Sandy Creek Baptist Association on October 3, 1929, a delegation appeared before the assembly to request admission as a member. At the time of the admission the membership of the church had grown to 41. In 1967 the church voted to withdraw from the Southern Baptist Convention and began to operate as an independent Baptist Church. A total of eleven ministers have served as pastors: Rev. J.C. Styers (1 year), Rev. R.H. Weaver (6 years), Rev. Ernest Hancock (1 year, 9 months), Rev. William Hancock (20 years), Rev. Max Gilmore (Associate & Interim Pastor), Dr. L.M. Williamson (28 years), Rev. Dan Underwood (1 year, 6 months), Rev. Joseph Peters, Jr. (15 years), Rev David Legrand (interim pastor for 2 years), Rev Andy Garner (6 months), Rev. David Legrand returned for 2 years interim followed by Rev. Edwin Moore (interim pastor, 2 1/2 years), Dr. Robert Simms (1 year). Since October 2012, Pastor Arnold Comer has been serving as interim pastor.
In more recent years, the church has doubled its missionary outreach. A fellowship hall with classrooms was built. The first drama-musical was presented in 1989; the first children’s program started in 1990; the sanctuary was completely renovated, adding beautiful stained-glass windows in 1996; the AWANA Program was organized in 1999; a new constitution was adopted in 2000, and the church added a foyer to the church in 2004. In 2011, the church bought adjoining land for a separate fellowship building.
Additions and revisions were made to the church constitution on March 6, 2016 by a vote of the church. Five years after purchasing adjoining land, ground was broken on March 20, 2016 to build a larger fellowship building and AWANA room adjacent to the present church.