Tried Stone Missionary Baptist Church

In 1928, a new church family was born in Asheville, North Carolina when a small band of Christians emerged from Hill Street Baptist Church to establish the Tried Stone Missionary Baptist Church. The first official home of the Tried Stone family was in the basement of a building on the corner of Livingston and Congress Streets. Members worshiped in this facility for two years until their one-room building was constructed on Southside Avenue at Gaston Street. In 1942, after a succession of pastors; the 16-member congregation called a young minister, Rev. Benjamin F. Brewer to the pastorate. It was the first calling for Rev. Brewer, who had entered into the ministry in 1938. The first service that he conducted drew all 16 members, and a total sum from the collection plate was One Dollar. The amount collected did not discourage the pastor, and shortly thereafter, the congregation began to grow.

Two years later, the building was sold and the congregation was forced to relocate to the downstairs portion of the old Markham building on Southside Avenue near Beach Hill Street. By that time the Tried Stone family had increased to some 50 members. Two years later the Markham building was sold and the congregation moved to a building on Knoxville Place. The church family continued to grow as it merged with Brooklyn Chapel at the Knoxville Place site. They worshiped at this location for six years when Rev. Brewer purchased a lot on Sorrell Street and the church family constructed a small one-room cinder block building.

In the mid to late 1940’s Sister Rosa Brewer saw a need for the church to have a choir. She along with sister Mary L. Sanders organized the Senior choir in the living room of Sister Sanders’ home. By the 1960’s, growth of the church indicated a need for a larger church building. This was also the beginning of the Young Adult Choir under the leadership of Brother J. Cornell Proctor. The music ministry of the church served to attract young people, causing church leaders to begin serious discussion on building a new church. The young people of the church sponsored various fund raising activities such as the sale of dinners, bake sales, rummage sales and gospel singing programs. The church members also began tithing consistently. In 1980, their plans were interrupted when they learned that the Housing Authority of the City of Asheville had acquired the building to make improvements in the East End/Valley Street Redevelopment Project Area.

Tried Stone was forced to move again, this time to the auditorium of the Allen Center, continuing work towards the dream of a new church. During their stay at the Allen Center, they received tremendous support from several area churches and organizations. The Nazareth First Baptist Church family allowed the use of their sanctuary for funeral services and World Wide Baptist Tabernacle provided the sanctuary for baptismal services. The United Methodist Church was very cooperative in allowing the use of the Allen Center auditorium along with several rooms in the facility.

On June 21, 1985, Rev. Brewer, his congregation, along with ministers of the Mud Creek Missionary Baptist Association and friends broke ground on Carroll Avenue to begin construction on God’s edifice.

On Monday, June 24, 1985, a convoy of earthmoving equipment paraded onto Carroll Avenue, scooping up dirt as workers removed trees from the hilly property that the church members had purchased. By Friday, June 28, the site for the new Tried Stone Missionary Baptist Church began to take shape. Under the watchful eyes of architect, T. Edmund Whitmire and general contractor, D. V. Ward, skilled craftsmen began work on the foundation.

The exterior of the building was completed in record time. Mr. Whitmire and Mr. Ward called on journeymen, carpenters, plumbers, electricians and painters to apply their skills to the interior of the building. Everyone cooperated with Tried Stone during the construction period. The Lord provided excellent weather even during the winter season. On February 16, 1986 at 1 p.m., the church family met at the Allen Center for the last time. After a prayer members were instructed by Rev. Brewer to turn, face the back door, proceed quietly to their cars and not look back. Rev. Brewer was leading the flock to their new church home. As they were led out of the Allen Center parking lot to Town Mountain Road, across College Street onto what is now known as Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, to 100 Carroll Avenue, the members offered shouts of praise and prayers to God.

Tried Stone members had worshiped and praised the Lord in their new sanctuary for seven years when on October 1, 1993 at 2 a. m. the building they worked and prayed for had been engulfed in flames and they lost everything.

The following Sunday, church service was held in the Tried Stone parking lot, and for the next two Sundays at the YWCA on South French Broad Avenue. As God would have it, Sheriff Charles Long of the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department called to offer the use of their facility for worship service, meetings, etc. for as long as they needed.

On March 5, 1994, Tried Stone members faced the death of their beloved Pastor of 52 years. Rev. Benjamin F. Brewer had been called from labor to reward.

By God’s grace with dedication of the associate ministers, Rev. Otis Ware, Dr. Paul Miller, Dr. Clydell Johnson, Elder Alfred E. Blount, Rev. Daniel Harrison, and the board of Deacons, church members continued serving and praising the Lord.

Tried Stone was without a pastor from March 1994 to July 1997. Dr. Carl R. Lee of Rocky Mount, NC led the congregation from July 1997 until July 1998. Upon Dr. Lee’s departure, Dr. Miller, minister trainee Luella Whitmire and Elder Blount continued with pulpit services.

In September of 1998 the church was again without a home. The Buncombe County Sherriff’s Department had a need for its facility. After much searching and praying, Rev. John W. Brewster and members of Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church opened their doors and hearts, and in October leased Tried Stone Church their annex building. Again, the Lord saw them through.

Through prayer, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, grace and mercy of God, in January of 1999, the church welcomed to its pulpit a new pastor, one of its own sons, Elder Alfred E. Blount. On July 8,2001 while in their temporary location at 56 Walton Street, Tried Stone was able to add to the list of sons of the church by licensing Minster Damion L. McDay as a preacher of the Gospel.

Under the leadership of Pastor Blount, with the help of the Almighty and Caring God, on March 9, 2002 the members of Tried Stone, Rev. J. W. Brewster, members of the Asheville City Council, Marcie Blackstock of Centura Bank, Jerry Young, Architect, Gerald Payne, Contractor, staff of WLOS Television, and friends from the community met at the Carroll Avenue site where ground was broken to lay way for construction of the new church home.

After much of the same toil and strife, gone through previously, with much never ending faith, on September 7, 2003, Pastor Blount, members of Tried Stone, family and friends met at the temporary church home on Walton Street for a closing ceremony and prayer. Then led by Pastor Blount and the church officers, everyone proceeded to their cars and the procession was escorted by officers of the Buncombe County Sherriff’s Dept. to 100 Carroll Avenue where out of the ashes of the former church, stood God’s new edifice. Once again, the members of Tried Stone experienced the blessings of a loving, caring awesome God.