The History of Etna Mission Baptist Church

From 1960 to Eternity

Etna Baptist Mission started out as a two-room schoolhouse. It became a church on June 5, 1960. The church’s start came because of the faithful believers of Decatur Missionary Baptist Church. They had a desire to follow the Lord Jesus’ command to fulfill the Great Commission. Longing to see people saved in that community, a revival was held with Rev. Isom Gibson & Brother Ken Addis.

Within six months of those revival meetings, God blessed so much that a newly formed church was birthed into existence. At that time, the church had approximately 80 members. From that point on, the church continued to grow and be blessed by God.

People often ask, “How did the church get its name?” The answer isn’t as simple as one might think. During 1818, all the way up to 1916, the southern part of Ohio was rich in various minerals and those minerals were especially right for making what is known as Pig Iron. Pig Iron was used for all kinds of purposes: pots, kettles, wagon wheels and during the Civil War it was used to make armaments. But this iron had to be formed and that brings us to the furnaces.

In the six-county Hanging Rock Iron Region of Southern Ohio, Etna was one of 46 charcoal iron furnaces. Each charcoal furnace had their own name and the name of the furnace became the name of the community. Every community would have a local store, cemetery, school, and church. From time to time the church would double for other events in the community.
Etna Furnace was built in 1832 and provided a living for that local community for 55 years until it closed in 1887.

Most furnaces received their names from volcanoes from around the world. Etna furnace was probably named after Mt. Etna in Catania, Italy, which is still an active volcano today. As a matter fact, our local lake is known as Lake Vesuvius, which is also another volcano located in Naples, Italy. So, when Etna furnace came into existence, it wasn’t long until a small community sprung into being and shortly thereafter came the schoolhouse, the cemetery, the general store. Amazingly, the Etna furnace is still standing today after 188 years.

Over the years Etna phased out the particular ministry that had originally been the source of the “Mission” part of its name. The church was started by a small group of people that had a vision of providing a food pantry for those in need in the community. After many years of success, that need wasn’t as dominant and other ministries blossomed, which has
allowed us to reach more people in our community. God is so good that He is using us to not only reach those in our community, but He’s also using us to continue to fulfill the Great Commission of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.

The following men have served as pastor and have been faithful to preach the Word of God:

• Rev. Ken Addis 2/25/1961
• Rev. Sam Kerns 1/31/1963
• Rev. Isom Gibson 9/26/1963
• Rev. Clay Eaches 2/15/1972
• Rev. Dale Knipp 4/15/1978
• Rev. Curtis Stevens 10/24/1978
• Rev. Sammy Cooke 11/15/1989
• Rev. Steve Cook 3/15/1995
• Rev. Greg Frasure 4/28/2003 to present

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