The History of Bay Leaf Baptist Church
In the late 1870’s a small community of approximately twenty-five families lived nearly fifteen miles north of the capital city of Raleigh. A one-room school house was built in the center of this community.
The school needed a name and the people of the community chose “Bay Leaf”. This name sounded like “Bailey,” a common family name in the community, but it is also claimed that the name was taken from the bay trees that grew around the spring from which the school drew its water.
Sunday School started meeting in the little schoolhouse, and on August 19, 1880, the Bay Leaf Missionary Baptist Church was organized. The first pastor, J.R. Maynard, served from 1880-1883.
Present-day members can take pride in the fact that Bay Leaf Baptist Church has always had a commitment to missions. Even when the pastor was paid less than $50 a year, the church gave $8 to missions annually. Also, the church was effective in reaching people in the community for Jesus, and many were baptized in the Neuse River!
By October 1887 there was obviously a growing need for a church building. A collection was taken and $250 was pledged for the construction of a building that was completed in 1889. By 1958, new buildings were again needed, and a series of building projects were voted on, funded by the growing congregation, and completed. Pastor Ron Rowe led the church through this period of expansion, and in the 1980’s and into the 1990’s, a new sanctuary, gymnasium, and educational buildings were all completed! Tremendous prayer and sacrificial giving undergirded this growth.
In 2006, the church leadership saw the opportunity for continued growth and expansion of the ministries of Bay Leaf Baptist Church and a 70 acre tract of land was purchased at the intersection of I-540 and Creedmoor Road. This land was owned by the family of charter member, Clina Bailey. The first development on the property was the remodeling of the house to become the Clina Bailey Missionary house. This house has been used continually by missionaries related to Bay Leaf Baptist Church as they are on stateside assignment.
As the triangle grew and the suburbs expanded into the Bay Leaf community, the people of Bay Leaf Baptist Church committed to being a spiritual anchor in northern Wake County. It has faithfully served the city and welcomed new neighbors into the congregation. Throughout its rich history, the church has maintained its vibrant family atmosphere. There are opportunities for people of every generation to worship, serve, and grow together.
In 2021, Dr. Jared Richard answered God’s call to become Bay Leaf’s Senior Pastor. Today we are a congregation dedicated to making disciples locally and globally for the glory of God. We are excited to see the Spirit lead this vision in the years to come from Wake County to the ends of the Earth. Locally we pray God uses our current campus and the development of 40+ acres on Creedmoor Road to provide the environment where disciples are cultivated and commissioned to impact the world for Christ.