October 25th was a big day in Cundiff. The “main gig”, in the metropolis of approximately 50 residents, turned 135 years young. Following the Sunday service, the church hosted a luncheon for members and guests. A “photo history” was hanging on the walls of the fellowship hall, bringing fond memories to those that attended. Old friends gathered and met new friends, a result of the growth the church has seen in recent months.
The Cundiff Baptist Church was organized in 1880 by Rev. L. D. Tipton at Howard Valley, 1 and 1/2 miles west of the present site. The church was moved to Cundiff in 1893 but was known as Howard Valley Baptist Church until November 27, 1909, when the church voted to change the name to Cundiff Baptist Church. The land where the church now stands was given by Ivy Lawrence and the present building was built in 1907.
Very little is known about the church from its beginning until 1909, because the church records were destroyed by fire on June 22,1909, in the home of the church clerk. However it is known that the largest membership recorded was 87 in 1897. During the years of the war (1944 and on), many people moved away to find work, and there were very few to carry on the activities of the church. Cundiff Baptist Church did not have regular services for a few years, but in October of 1950 the Cundiff Baptist Church was re-organized under the leadership of John Beam, the county missionary. By 1959 the church membership had grown to 56. Like many other churches, the membership has seen its share of growth spurts and declines. Fortunately, strong youth leadership has brought a number of teens to the church recently. A sign of growth that is welcomed by all.
Many beloved residents have made Cundiff their home church throughout the years, but perhaps none more famous than Joe Paul Nichols, who called Cundiff home, along with his loving wife, Carolyn and their 2 children (and grandkids). Many of the photos that hung on the wall reminded us of days long forgotten, days that we would love to go back and revisit.
As the celebration came to an end, those that attended left knowing that they had been a part of something truly special. Not just history, but a fellowship. One that doesn’t come along every day. One that has taken 135 years to build.