In The Beginning
In or around the year 1892, a small group of Christian workers in the Emit community decided to organize a church. They chose an old, one room, log cabin, school house named “Pig Pen Academy” to have their worship services in. The pews were boards lying across sawed off blocks of wood. The first preachers were the Revs. John Sasser, and Daniel Davis, followed by a number of the others, including Revs. Pat Lucas, Henry Renfro, Hardy Boykin, Ruffin Flowers, Ben Tippet, and Billy Anderson.
The congregation began to grow rapidly in the Pig Pen Academy and soon became inadequate to meet the needs of the people, so a desire to erect a new and larger church began. The site for the new church was given by Brother and Sister Bennett Strickland.
Sister Eliza Lee, a strong woman of God, played a large part in helping to lay the foundation for the new church. Although she was aged and required the aid of the cane to get around, she went about the community soliciting logs for its construction. When the church was completed, it was given the name “Friendship” by Sister Lee.
There were 11 charter members of the early church, namely, Sister Catherine Strickland, Sister Eliza Lee, Sister Bessie Corbett, Sister Charlie Tippett, Sister Joe Tippet, Sr., and Brother Charlie Tippet.
The church was originally located about a quarter mile East of its present location, going down a path through the woods and behind a hill. After several years of preaching and teaching in this church, they wanted to move out to the new road, which is now known as Friendship Church Road. The church was moved and they continued to worship in this building until 1920.
The Renovation Years
Under the leadership of Rev. B.B. Deans, the present structure was built, which began about 1919 and was completed between 1920 and 1921.
Between 1947 and 1948, six new Sunday school rooms were added to the church.
Renovations began in February, 1951, and was completed in 1952 with new pews installed. The organ was installed in November of 1953.
In August, 1955, brick venere was added to the church and a heating system was installed. Stained-glass windows were installed in August, 1957. In February, 1958, new light fixtures were installed and Friendship affirmed itself as an Original Free Will Baptist Church and would follow the articles of faith and principles of church government for the Free Will Baptist denomination.
A well was drilled, bathrooms were installed and Sunday school furniture was purchased in June of 1961. The steeple was built by Mr. Coleman Strickland in October of 1963. In September, of 1966, the church began full time services. In November, of 1969, Mr. and Mrs. Roy Strickland donated ½ an acre of land in the back of the church. In March, of 1972, Mrs. Lillian Wilder Hocutt gave enough land to square of the church cemetery on the north side.
The Fellowship Hall
In June, of 1976, construction 0n a Fellowship Hall began and was completed and dedicated to the Lord on December 3, 1978. The parking lot was paved in 1990. In 1991 the road directly in front of the church was named Friendship Church Road.