Updated: Apr 3, 2020
When the Spirit Came to Gregory
By Raymond Boyles with Commentary by Rebecca Boyles
Pat Burton Bridge outside Gregory August 10, 1941
In doing some research for another story I ran across something that illustrated the theme for this month and felt it needed to be shared! It’s the story of a great awakening of faith and the resulting church.
Raymond Boyles 2005
This is the tale as told by Raymond Boyles to his Sunday School Class at the First Baptist Church of Augusta.
“As a child in the late 30’s and early 40’s we lived in the county not far from Gregory in a house 2 large rooms with a dog trot running between. My parents originally were Methodist but, had lately felt something was missing from their religion. Many of their neighbors felt the same way. They talked about it and decided to get together at my Mother’s - Maude Boyles – house and study the bible along with Sunday School for kids. Soon there were about 50 at our house each Sunday. It was soon realized they needed a true leader.
Uncle Mack MacKreel (or Creel – it's shown spelled both ways in different sources) was a popular radio preacher. He had started a home for boys and was loved and listened to by many in Arkansas. He was well known in the Augusta and Gregory area where he often would visit. One day when he was visiting in Gregory, he had the idea they should have a true revival and, “God would show them the way!” He suggested he could preach from the front porch of our home as the house was built on the side of a hill and created a natural outside theatre. It was planned for one week, or less, depending on attendance.
It started on a Sunday night. The preaching was great, the singing was loud, and the crowd grew each night. Soon other preachers heard about it and asked if they could come and preach a message. They were the Methodist, Baptist, Holiness, and Church of God from Augusta and the surrounding area. All were inspired by the setting and the enthusiasm of the people. The meeting went on for 2 weeks and The Spirit never left!
As a result of this Revival many came forth and wanted to dedicate their life to God and be baptized. There was no church or building in the area that could accommodate all of them! Uncle Mack said, “Jesus was baptized in a river in the open and the Bayou has plenty of water!" The date for the baptisms was Augusta 10, 1941. Pastors from each of the churches who preached came to perform the service for those who wished to join their church. Methodist, Baptist, and so on, all standing in the water to Baptize people. They started at 10am and continued non-stop until 2pm that afternoon. Over 200 hundred people were baptized that day. There was singing and dinner on the ground. This was the most important day of my life.”
Baptismal Service August 10, 1941
Not long after the revival land was donated by The Eldridge Family to build Gregory Baptist Church. That Church still stands today with Pastor Bert Thomas of Searcy in the pulpit.