Gap Creek Baptist Church, which is nestled between Osborne Mountain and Pinnacle Mountain, has been touched by grace, beauty, and an interesting history. Since its laborious beginnings in the mid-1800's, the church has been tested by fire, withstood wars, prevailed in lawsuits, and been blessed by many interesting congregations.
The first church was established in 1840 and was a humble log structure. It was built by the men and women of the community and was erected close to Gap Creek Road. In 1859, Mr. Champion Osborne deeded two acres of land where the current cemetery stands, much to the chagrin of Mrs. Osborne. A new road was cut, another log church was built, and in 1887 it became a charter member of the North Greenville Baptist Association. As time progressed, trouble would brew between the years of 1859 and 1887.
Mr. Osborne died, and his wife posted the land against the church's congregation, and a member of her family blocked the road to the church. This motivated some of the men to cut a new road to access the church. The lawsuit that ensued was in circuit court until September 21, 1870, when a verdict for the defendant was issued.
Around Christmas of 1868, the church burned to the ground. Despite this, the Rev. WB Johnson and Mr. Solomon Jones committed themselves to have church the following Sunday. Their dedication and resolve resulted in an unfinished yet surely blessed church building. This third building stood for many years.
For the 16 years that M.E. Smith was pastor of Gap Creek, services were held once a month - on Saturdays and Sundays. On Saturday everyone came to church in their "Sunday best".
Around the turn of the century, a frame building was raised where the cemetery and church now stand as more land was purchased. The church began to flourish, singing schools were conducted, and Vacation Bible School introduced to children.
The loveable country church called Gap Creek was built in 1928. These were lean years but with the help of Spartanburg businessman John Hart, who was reared in the valley, money was raised and the church building was built. The stained glass windows that grace the building were purchased and tenderly transported from France, and still stand as a landmark in the community today.
With God's grace, Gap Creek Baptist Church (GCBC) flourished in members and in 2004, the plans for the new building broke ground as a service was held to bury a Bible where the pulpit stands today. It has taken countless hours, manpower, volunteers, and faith, but God blessed this community, and the new building stands. The first service was held on Easter Sunday in 2008, beginning at the tomb as a reminder who gave us the vision and ability and ending at the finished building.
This charming church has seen the rise and fall of creek waters and pastors, wars won and lost, love bloom and grow, and the buildings come and go. Yet, through it all, it stands as a beautiful and blessed monument to the community of River Falls.