Roanoke Salem Missionary Baptist Church is the oldest Black Church in the south end of Northampton County. RSMBC was founded before the smoke had cleared the battlefields of the American Civil War. In 1866, under a Bush Arbor, a few members of Elam Baptist Church withdrew and organized what was to be known as the Roanoke Salem Missionary Baptist Church, located just off Highway #186 between Garysburg, NC and Gumberry, NC.
Roanoke Salem Missionary Baptist Church began its long history with faith in God, and soon became a great educational and spiritual force in the life of the community. For a long time, the church pioneered in the training of youth. Two of her ministers sponsored a training school and teaching program until it was replaced by public education. The church was born in controversy, and immediately became embroiled in a land dispute that lasted for more than 120 years.
Reverend Annanias N. Buck
Reverend Annanias N. Buck, the founder, was known as one of the most outstanding leaders of his day. Many churches were founded and organized under his leadership. Roanoke Salem Missionary Baptist Church of Garysburg, NC; First Baptist Church of Halifax, NC; Cool Springs of Gaston, NC; Roanoke Chapel of Jackson, NC; Piney Grove Baptist Church of Jackson, NC; and Oak Grove Baptist Church of Littleton, NC are a few.
He was also one of the organizers and founders of the Neuse River Baptist Association to which Roanoke Salem Missionary Baptist Church was a chartered member in 1866.
Reverend Buck was a descendant of slaves who traveled through North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. However, he made his home in Halifax, North Carolina. He and his wife were buried at the northwestern border of the church grounds at First Baptist Church of Halifax, NC.
Serving the People
The following ministers have served as pastors of the RSMBC:
Reverend Annanias Buck (Founder 1866)
Reverend Richard I. Walden
Reverend W. H. Woodard
Reverend Augustus Shepard
Reverend J. W. Blacknall (1900 - 1933)
Reverend C. C. Staton (1934 - 1976)
Reverend Edward L. Fleming (1976 - 1991)
Reverend Robert E. Sessoms (1991 – 2016)
Reverend Edwin Horsley (2016 – present)
Faithful Servants of RSMBC
Under the leadership of Reverend J. W. Blacknall, the church experienced phenomenal growth both in membership and physical change in the church building. With fifty acres of land, our forefathers envisioned adequate space for future
development. Reverend Blacknall led in a complete face-lifting of the present structure. An addition was added
to the entire length of the church running from the north to south. Beautiful memorial windows were also installed in the church.
Following Reverend Blacknall, Reverend C. C. Staton Sr. came to the church in 1934. Under his leadership, the church was completely renovated from ceiling to floor. The church was completely brick veneered, using eighty thousand bricks. After this came the construction, of an Educational Building, with adequate space for
Sunday School activities and individual classrooms. A modern heating plant and bathrooms were installed. Electric lighting was also installed throughout the building.
Edward L. Fleming became pastor of the church in 1976. Under his leadership the church's sanctuary was completely renovated, choir chairs and hymn books were purchased. Two additional bathrooms were built and a new heating unit for the entire complex was installed.
Reverend Robert Earl Sessoms, was originally from Ahoskie, North Carolina. Reverend Sessoms began his pastorate on the 4th Sunday in October 1991. Reverend Sessoms provided excellent leadership in the preaching and teaching of the Gospel, along with vital administrative guidance. During his pastorate, numerous ministries were developed and long-time visions brought to completion and fulfillment.
Some of the ministries developed under his leadership are
Youth Ministries (including Youth Church)
Noon Day Prayer Ministry
BAM (Brothers Achieving Manhood)
Nurses Guild Ministry
Women and Men's Fellowship Ministry
Sisters' Act Ministry
Intercessory Prayer Ministry
Under Pastor Sessoms' leadership, the Community Choir recorded its first CD, a church website was created and a
monthly newsletter published.
The church moved into full-time worship service in 1995 and joined the Northampton County Baptist Association. Also during Reverend Sessoms' pastorate, we built a new fellowship hall, educational Wing, paved the parking lot, re-carpeted the sanctuary and upstairs annex, upholstered the pews, and remodeled the hallway leading upstairs and into the sanctuary. Additionally, we added a projection room to tape the church's services, purchased a charter bus and vans, built and paid off the church's new parsonage and purchased and paid for the Turner's Home and Farm located on the corner of Highway 186 and Cornwallis Road.
Acoustical panels were installed in the church's Fellowship Hall and new tables and chairs were also added. A fence was erected to enclose and secure the church's cemetery, and the women of the church raised funds that were used to purchase a new-lighted church sign. In 2009, the women of the church raised funds to build a memorial garden, the church’s Fellowship Hall and kitchen were renovated, additional acoustical panels were installed in the Fellowship Hall and two buildings on the old Turner Farm were renovated into the Robert E. Sessoms Youth Center and Vegetable Stand.
On Friday, January 29, 2016, Reverend Sessoms went home to be with the Lord after teaching on “Becoming A
Disciple” at Roanoke Salem Missionary Baptist Church for the Northampton County & Vicinity Missionary Baptist
Reverend Edwin Horsley was installed as our new pastor on December 4, 2016. He and his wife, Julia Horsley, reside in Seaboard, NC.
Through the consecrated leadership of Reverend Horsley and our past pastors, we know that "We Have Come This Far By Faith, Leaning On The Lord, Trusting In His Holy Word, He Has Never Failed Us Yet."