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This is a contributing entry for The Hill - Hickory's Historically Black Neighborhood and only appears as part of that tour.Learn More.
Friendship Missionary Baptist Church began after Reverend P.R.D Gore left Morning Star First Baptist Church to establish a new church. Less than 400 feet away, Reverend Gore, with the assistance of other previous members of Morning Star and new believers, wanted to create a church that believed in the Holy Trinity, water baptism, and the sacredness of the Holy Bible. The congregation steadily grew, becoming one of the most attended churches in the area, and they stayed loyal, with some families attending the church over five generations.

Inside of church

Wood, Product, Brown, Property

Sunday School in the 1950s

People, Dog, Carnivore, Dog breed

Friendship Baptist Church

Road, Road surface, Infrastructure, Architecture

On January 21, 1903, fourteen people under the leadership of P.R.D. Gore assembled to organize a new church. It began with the singing of hymn no. 556, and scripture was read from the Gospel of Matthew. The fourteen people present signed a pledge by singing “Together let us Sweetly Live, Together let us Die.” Friendship Missionary Baptist Church was chosen for the name, and Revered Gore pioneered and set a precedent for the church’s growth. Under Gore’s leadership, the church erected its first building in 1906 and stood until 1956, when it was removed to construct the present building.

Under the direction of their sixth pastor, E.B. Wilkerson, membership soared, and the connection with other local churches grew. Friendship and Morning Star First Baptist Church worked together continuously to improve the surrounding area. During the fight for integration, Friendship was a backbone for the site. Since 1963 the Hickory Branch of the NAACP has held a march honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from Lenoir-Rhyne College to the Ridgeview Community Center, often assembling on the steps of the church to praise the work that King was doing and what has been done. Shouts, singing, and praises filled the crowd on King’s birthday as the crowd would shout “We Shall Overcome!” and sing hymns. 

The Church’s objectives are to create a spiritual organization that is empowered by the Holy Spirit to spread the message of Christ to as many people as possible, to minister to the community unselfishly, and to help people experience a meaningful relationship with God. They do so by providing Sunday School, Women’s auxiliary groups, Christian Education, and a Layman group. 

Hartsoe, Drucella Sudderth. The Hill: Memories of the Ridgeview Community. High Point. The Marshall Group, Inc, 2001.

By-Laws, Article 2. 2017.

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Hartsoe, Drucella Sudderth. The Hill: Memories of the Ridgeview Community. High Point. The Marshall Group, Inc, 2001.

Photo by author