Sardis Missionary Baptist Church History and Rules of Decorum

Written by: Peter J. Gossett; the Rules of Decorum are listed below and transcribed exactly as they appear

Sardis Baptist Church and cemetery are located near Lynn on County Road 17. It is one of the oldest churches in the county. Prior to 1850, there were four churches in Winston (Hancock) County. One of these was Sardis, and the oldest church being New Prospect near Haleyville; it was chartered in 1824. Some of the earliest records for Sardis Church include the minutes beginning in May of 1873 and one of the undated membership lists included people who died in 1869. The first known pastor during this time was Elder Thomas M. Martin. Also, the Walker Baptist Association lists that Sardis joined in 1861. "Sardis was at first and for many years stood for missionary ideals and was not mixed with the non-mission influence as many of the churches in North Alabama were in those days. This was probably because of the divide or split over the mission question reached its climax in 1839 and 1840 in North Alabama," says Jerry Burns, author of the History of the Clear Creek Baptist Association.

The 1860 Minute of the North River Baptist Association says this about Sardis: "opened the door of the association for newly constituted or dismissed Churches, and the following church petitioned by letter and delegates for admission to wit: Sardis, which was received and the right hand given by the Moderator and the delegates names enrolled..." Delegates in 1860 were T.M. Martin and A. Ward. S. Tyler was pastor, and the membership was 32. Delegates in 1861 were T.M. Martin, A. Ward, J. Stone, and W. Barton. In 1862 T.M. Martin is noted as pastor with a total membership of 29; delegates were T.M. Martin, A. Ward, and W. Barton. The 1867 minute reports 15 baptisms, 4 increases by letter, with a total membership of 49, and the delegates were J. Harper, A. Ward, and Elder T.M. Martin. Sixteen baptisms were reported in 1868 with a decrease of 14 and total membership of 39; the delegates were T.M. Martin, A. Ward, and S. Wooton. The 1875 session of the North River Baptist Association met with Sardis Church, Winston County. Sardis along with several other churches was granted dismission from the association that year with the condition that "they help us pay for the Associational debt."

Mr. Steve Miles states that Sardis used to not be where it's at now. In October of 2001, information came about a "lost" cemetery. It's located near what is now County Road 367. From this road, one would have to travel 2 miles into the woods on hunting club property to find this unique cemetery. It was named the "Cagle Cemetery," for the possible Cagles buried therein. A little south of the cemetery is an old home place; all that is there now is a rock wall. Only one thing was readable on one of the few tombstones: the date of 1874.

As it turns out, this was one of the first locations of Sardis Church and Cemetery! It (the area) was called "Bold Springs," and the old home place had a spring running through it. The church was moved from here to about a half a mile south of where it is at now, where County Roads 17 and 360 intersect. It was on the other side of the road from 360 on a knoll beside another spring that feeds the pond that is there. The church was moved again to the old side of the current cemetery; however, a storm claimed this building, and it was rebuilt where it stands today.

Though the old cemetery (Cagle) has only one readable date of 1874, it is a fact that the present cemetery was started about 1862. Nancy E. (Weaver) Barton, daughter of Peter Weaver, was buried at present Sardis in 1862.

From a newspaper account, it's noted that Sardis had an older building and meeting place before it went to the Bold Springs area where the above mentioned cemetery is. From The New Era Herald, September 21, 1906: "The Clear Creek Baptist Association will meet on Tuesday the 2nd day of October. There was a mistake made in regard to the exact location of the meeting place. The District Meeting reported that it would convene with Sardis Church, No. 1., and the editor of this paper, who was also Clerk of the Association, was informed upon inquiry, that Sardis Church was about three miles west of Lynn, and so announced it on the back of the minutes. It has since been explained that Sardis church now holds their regular meetings at Bold Springs and that a new church, named Meadow Creek, holds meetings in the old Sardis meeting house. The people of that community, however, are making preparations for the Association and the session will meet at old Sardis church, 3 miles west of Lynn, where Meadow Creek now holds services as it is understood by the general public as the intended place of meeting."


1. Church meetings aught to be opened and closed by singing or prayer

2. But one person shal speak at a time and he shal firt rise & address the moderater

3. No person shal be interrupted while speack in unles he depart from the subject in question or use words of personal reflection or acts disordrly [that?] the moderater may correct him

4. Every motion made & second shal come under the consideration of the church except with drawn by him who made it

5. Every case tacon up by the church shal first be decided or with drawn be fore another is offerd

6. No person shal speak more than twic without leaf of the moderater

7. All buisnes or questions or reffernce shal be decided by a majority, the receiving or excluding of members shal be by a unanimus voise

8. Any person speaking before this church shal confine him self to the subject & shal not call on God to witness what they say

9. A pofound silanc shal be had by all [while?] any one is speaking while in confernc no mail member shal leav the hous without permission of the moderater

10. Evry motion maid & not second shal be with drawn

11. Any member knowing his or her brother or sister to bein a sinful transgression shal let it pass unnotist for two regular church meetings shal not be permited to bring a charge for the same but shal bear their burden in silanc.

12. Thes? rules may be alterd or amended at any regular church meeting [notis?] bein given the meeting before

13. Thes rules shal be publicly red each church meetin if desired

14. It shal be the duty of ech mail member to at tend ech confernc if tha miss to meetings it shall be thare duty to give a reasen why tha ware not inattendenc if tha miss three tha are liable to be delt withe