Our History

Our History

Over a decade before the Civil War, Baptists were meeting in Mt. Vernon.  One group in a log house, another in a group called Bethelehem, and another group called Cedar Grove.  It was the middle 1840's.  They decided to join at a half-way house which would be in the town of what is now known as Mt. Vernon, Arkansas.  In 1850 the town was named Stone Wall Jackson, then the name later changed to Houseville, named after Tom House, a local saddle shop owner.  During the Civil War it was dangerous to meet as Federal troops roamed the countryside, but this faithful group of fewer that a dozen decided to build a church and toward the end of the Civil War in 1867 they did.  This church is believed to be on the same spot as our current church and was added to and then torn down to build a new one where our old sanctuary still stands.

Preachers were many times traveling preachers on horseback,  called circuit riders, who would go from church to church.  One of those preachers, J.F. Sheffey, became pastor near this time and was pastor on and off for many years.  It wasn't until a century later that what happened during that time would be known.  For in the 1980's, ancestors of the Sheffey family came to Arkansas from California, searching for cemetary sites of their family.  They found a long-time resident of Mt. Vernon, Alonzo Hawkins,  who showed them where the Sheffeys were buried in the cemetary. 

Not long after the Sheffeys returned to California, they sent back to Arkansas, a diary, a saddle bag, and books belonging to the 1800's circuit rider, J.F. Sheffey.  The diary contained valuable historic information about the times in and around Mt. Vernon and spured some members to do further research on the history of our church.  After several years a book was written, now located in the church library along with the artifacts owned by the circuit rider, and other pictures of our church history.  Our Church history can be traced to 1848 and possibly earlier.  This makes our church  around 150 to 160 years old, one of the oldest in the state!

For decades faithful men and women have continued to serve the Lord through Mount Vernon Baptist Church. They kept the church a pillar in the community and built it up. Starting in 1999 God moved in a special way upon the church. A building program began on a new sanctuary. The sanctuary had been a vision of long time pastor Bro. Bill Canary. The church built a sanctuary that they thought could never be filled in their community, but on the first Sunday chairs had to be brought inside the sanctuary. This has continued. During that time a food pantry, van ministry, youth, and children's program were begun and God moved in a mighty way. In the early 2000s MVBC was one of the fastest growing churches in the state of Arkansas. The church has continued to be a leader in baptisms in the state. God is still doing an amazing work at MVBC.