Vine Grove—Red Hill Baptist Church in Vine Grove celebrated its 65th anniversary July 12, not only as a congregation, but also with the same pastor, James Royalty.
Each year, the church celebrates its homecoming on the second Sunday in July with a morning service, a covered dish meal, an afternoon fellowship and an evening service.
Royalty, along with some other college-aged preachers, began Red Hill as a revival service in a borrowed army tent and a Vacation Bible School that eventually turned into a mission in 1950. Royalty traveled to and from Georgetown College to preach for Sunday services.
In 1952, Red Hill Baptist Church was organized, and Royalty was called as pastor. He has served in that position ever since.
“I prayed about it and thought about it for a long time, whether or not I would accept the call to ministry. I didn’t feel I was able. I wasn’t a suitable person,” Pastor Royalty said.
“By reading the Old Testament prophets, I saw that cities were spared because of one, two or 10 people,” he continued. “I thought, ‘Well, if 10 more people, or even one, could be saved because I’d respond, then it’s well worth the effort.’
“I decided I would do what the Lord wanted and stay where I was needed, and I’d try to be there when the time came to help that person,” he added.
Royalty has served a term on the Western Recorder’s Board of Trustees, three years as moderator of Severns Valley Baptist Association and one term on the state convention’s Executive Board.
Red Hill is part of the Severns Valley Association. Through the years, the church has contributed to missions in various ways. A strong supporter of the Cooperative Program, the church, although small in size, sets aside 25 percent of its annual budget for missions.
“We’re not a large church, but we try to support the Lord’s work in any way we can. We’ve tried to keep ahead of what we ought to be doing through the Cooperative Program,” Royalty said.
Additionally, Red Hill has sponsored a Laotian ministry and a Spanish ministry. The church has had several members who served in volunteer mission work across the state and the world. The church has also sent its pastor on two mission trips to Africa.
With contributions by Marlene Lawson of The Sentinel, Radcliff.