In 1902 a small group of African American Christians in Spring, Texas decided to address the need for their own place of worship. The need for a separate African-American congregation was dictated by the existence at the time of strong racial prejudice and the firm belief in the separation of the races in all areas of life, including religion. After a few meetings and much prayer, this hand full of dedicated followers of Christ were led by the Holy Spirit to organize and plant a church. For years the church met in the homes of its members and any other place they could acquire space.
In November 1928 the first church building was dedicated. The King family owned the property where the church was located. They generously allowed the church to erect a building on the site but only with the understanding that the land would always belong to their family. The church was allowed to use the land as long as they wished, but they could not buy the land.
In the beginning the church had no name. According to sparse records found concerning this pivotal time, after serious prayer and many requests for guidance they named the church Truevine Missionary Baptist Church and Reverend L. H. Simpson was called to be its first pastor. According to these records, they started with six deacons: Will Jackson, L. L. Jackson, A. D. Oliphant, W. Byrd, J. Johnson, and N. Baker. There were four trustees, C. D. Phillips, J. Meyers, W. Square, and H. Spence and the church secretary was Sis. Lottie Harvey.
As time passed, the congregation grew and the old wooden building in which they worshiped was no longer large enough and it was in need of major repairs. Due to their firm belief that having full ownership of the property would present opportunities for future growth, they decided it was best to make an offer to purchase the land from the King family. Unfortunately, legal matters concerning the land prevented them from acquiring a clear title and deed to the property.
The small but growing congregation realized that their only option was to look elsewhere to purchase property. Under the leadership of then Pastor Hill a committee was established to raise money, find a new location and design a building. The members decided to form a building committee whose intent was to purchase property on which to build. The most accurate information available shows the committee consisted of Pastor Hill, Deacons B. F. Clark, George Green, George Pruitt, Oliver Liscombe, and Charlie Booker. Deacon B. F. Clark survives and is still a deacon and a working member of the congregation.
To make acquiring land and new church structure a reality each member made an individual pledge of $12.00. Even though this was a large sum of money during that time, it still was not enough to complete their plans for a new church. In addition to other individual pledges, members of the church spent years organizing fund-raisers, such as bake sales, dinner sales, and other activities that would support the building of a new church. In order to raise money for the building fund, a group of ladies from the church, including Sister Pearlie Mae Williams, who is a member of the congregation today, went to the schools on Fridays, where they cooked and sold lunches to the children for 25 cents each. After raising $20,000.00 the contract to build the church was awarded to Pastor Hill and John Mays. The money raised was enough to build the church but it was not enough to complete the building’s interior. Even though the idea was to build without going into debt, ultimately the congregation had to borrow $5,000.00 to complete the inside of the sanctuary. In 1971 the construction was complete and the church was ready for worship.
Since that time, Truevine has existed at its present location, but many changes have been made. Some of these changes include carpeting the sanctuary, paving the parking lot, purchasing a new baby grand piano, (the original was donated by Troy Booker), installing ceiling fans, normal repair and replacement, and the addition of all the amenities we are blessed with today for human comfort. The Fellowship Hall was added in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s along with a new addition to the church. On November 10, 2002, a dedication ceremony was held for the new Education Center. Averiest Gilliam spearheaded the construction of this addition.
Adding the new educational wing to the existing building was a somewhat difficult task; however, with prayer and perseverance, it all came together. Presently, separate classrooms are available which provide individualized learning and promote various strategies to maximize learners’ growth and life application. We have also been blessed to install a fully functional computer reading/tutorial lab, which provides benefits to our members and the community. This is indeed a blessing and, this time, Truevine was able to complete the project without borrowing any additional funds. The Benjamin F. and Bernice Clark Scholarship fund makes it possible for Truevine to assist its youth in their pursuit toward higher education. The fund is the brainchild of Helen Farris, a former Spring resident. While living in California, she got the idea to help the youth of our church who would be going to college. She wrote a letter to Rev. R. L. Hill and the Truevine church family informing them of her desire to honor B. F. and Bernice Clark. The content of the letter outlined her plans and included a $50.00 donation. Many of Truevine’s youth have benefited from this scholarship fund and it is Truevine’s sincere prayer to be of service to many more in the future. Since the dedication of the new building in 1971, Truevine was blessed to have Rev. R. L. Hill and then Rev. G. H. Haynes serve as Senior Pastor. In 2003, Rev. Franklin D. Callaway was called to serve the church as interim pastor and in 2004, was installed as Senior Pastor of Truevine. Immediately the church’s clergy staff began to grow. In 2005, Rev. Kevin McGee was licensed and added to the staff that then included Rev. Claude Hill, Rev. Kevin Lauderdale, and Rev. Darwin Jones. In 2006, Truevine awarded a license to preach to the first female member of its clergy in its history, Rev. Dr. Carol Thompson Turner. In 2007, James Powell and Altonnia Melton were licensed, followed by Rev. Anne Kelly Warren in 2008. This addition increased the number Missionary Baptist Church serving on Truevine’s clergy staff to a historical high. God continued to pour his blessings on Truevine with the addition of 4 ministers to the clergy team. Rev. James Williams preached his first sermon in the fall of 2008 and on July 12, 2009 Rev. Gloria Williams, Rev. Clara Woods and Rev. Dr. Darrin Moore preached their first sermons and were awarded license to preach the Gospel.
Under the leadership of Pastor Callaway, Truevine has sought to meet the needs of the larger community with the creation of the Old Town Spring Heights Task Force. The church has blossomed and continues to grow as new members join with Truevine as we labor for the Lord. The church continues its determination to honor God’s Great Commandment and His Great Commission as it serves the community in which He has planted it.