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The year 2018 will mark the one hundred and forty-sixth anniversary of the founding of Thankful Baptist Church. Prior to 1872, a log house, located in the area known as Roan Hill, served as a worship place for those of the Baptist faith, AME Zion, the Christian Church and other denominations. Each denomination was allowed one Sunday per month for worship service. In 1872 the Rev. Horace Leftwich and five others (William Jobe, Jacon Hoskins, Lizzie Hoskins, Frederick Adams and George Phillips) established Thankful Baptist Church. Under the leadership of the eleventh pastor, the Rev. A. H. Wilson, a brick structure was erected at 104 Water Street in 1912. There, for the next 63 years, Thankful experienced tremendous growth in membership and spirituality. It was also considered one of the leading churches in the area. During the tenure of Rev. John Birchette (1951-1982), a Johnson City Urban Renewal program initially included the site on which Thankful was located. The plan was later revised, but Thankful was already committed to a new site. February 3, 1974, ground was broken for a new sanctuary on the present site, 1501 East Watauga Avenue. The building was completed in 1975 and the mortgage was burned in 1979. In the year of 2017, Rev. Aaron T. Murphy was called to pastor Thankful and has led a movement of community unity and expansion beyond the walls of Johnson City into the Upper East TN region.
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