We have a rich history of which we are very proud. Our history continues to inform us as to where God is moving in our midst presently and it inspires us to move into the future with hope.

Centennial Video (produced May 2008 by Dr. Andrew Rawls, narrated by Rick Forrest)

CHBC History

We have a rich history of which we are very proud. Our history continues to inform us as to where God is moving in our midst presently and it inspires us to move into the future with hope.


John F. Griffith

Organized on January 12, 1908, Crescent Hill Baptist Church grew rapidly under its first pastor, John F. Griffith, and the first building was erected on the present site in 1910.



Oscar M. Huey

Griffith was succeeded by the Rev. Oscar M. Huey who served from 1913 to 1918. Huey's tenure was marked by the repayment of a large share of the church's indebtedness, and expanded mission concerns. Two of the sons of the church died in WW I.



Charles L. Graham

The next pastor, Dr. Charles L. Graham led Crescent Hill for 22 years. These years between the Great Wars, were both glorious and trying. In 1926 the church built a $350,000 sanctuary (dedicated in 1927) for its growing congregation. Southern Seminary, a neighbor two blocks away, developed close ties of support and friendship with the church.

 In the late twenties and thirties, Crescent Hill joined with other congregations to sponsor the Anti-Saloon League, the Billy Sunday Revival and relief for the victims of the great 1937 Louisville flood. In the twenties, the church, always a generous congregation, contributed significantly to the 75 Million Campaign, a massive effort to rebuild and expand Baptist work following World War I. With the onset of the Depression, however, the church faced its toughest financial crisis. With extraordinary commitment and sacrifice, members willingly mortgaged their homes to prevent foreclosure on the church property.



William C. Boone

During the turbulent years of World War II, Crescent Hill continued to grow and expand its ministries under the leadership of Dr. William C. Boone, a descendent of Daniel Boone's brother, Samuel. 123 members of Crescent Hill served in the Armed Forces.



Rollin S. Burhans

The post-war years at Crescent Hill witnessed sustained growth. Dr. Rollin S. Burhans served as pastor from 1946 to 1960. While the Korean War and the McCarthy hearings held the attention of the nation, Crescent Hill developed dynamic church organizations and outreach ministries. The Sunday School program was strengthened and expanded resulting in the building of a new educational and family life facility. By 1960, Sunday School attendance reached 1,007.



John R. Claypool

The decade of the sixties was marked by the outstanding pulpit ministry of Dr. John R. Claypool. In a period of violence and social upheaval, Dr. Claypool addressed the deepest concerns of the world and brought to them a Christian message of integrity and hope. The racial crisis was a major focus of concern. New church staff positions included social ministry and counseling.

 [Howard Hovde (1969-1973) served as Dr. Claypool's associate and worked closely with Dr. Bill Hull during his subsequent interim. Laura Lue was ill when Hovde arrived in the summer of 1969, and Howard provided valuable service to the church and Dr. Claypool. Hovde later moved on to become the director of Laity Lodge in Texas. -- jwa].



John E. Howell

Dr. John E. Howell served as pastor from 1973 to 1978. These were years of re-evaluation and long-range planning as the church sought to re-define its role in a changing community.



H. Stephen Shoemaker

Crescent Hill welcomed Dr. H. Stephen Shoemaker as pastor in May 1981. During his eleven-year ministry, he brought a prophetic, yet compassionate voice to the pulpit. He opposed forces seeking a hostile take-over of the Southern Baptist Convention and sought to bring healing and reconciliation to those alienated in the community including Viet Nam vets and AIDS victims.



Ron Sisk

From 1994 until June 2002, Ron Sisk, the ninth pastor, brought a focus on the needs of the Crescent Hill community, a commitment to upgrade church facilities and a search for social justice in the larger Louisville community. Crescent Hill has sponsored a Bosnian family, adopted a people group in Thailand and helped build a Habitat for Humanity house while continuing its traditional missionary outreach.



Winford Hendrix

From Jan 2003 until Sept 2004, Winford Hendrix, the first transitional pastor of the church, enabled Crescent Hill to come to terms with its recent past and develop a vision for the future. The church moved from an organization based around paid staff to one in which gift-based ministry teams commanded more of the attention of the church members. Dr. Hendrix helped to guide the church search team in the quest for Crescent Hill's tenth "installed" pastor.



W. Gregory Pope

W. Gregory Pope became Crescent Hill's tenth pastor in March 2005 and challenged the church to think outside the walls and find ways of interpreting the word of God to the Crescent Hill area community....and to the world as the church welcomed the Karen refugees in 2007.


Bill Johnson, Jason Crosby, Andrea Woolley


William Johnson, Jason Crosby, and Andrea Woolley began service as co-pastors in the fall of 2011.  William Johnson retired from his pastoral care position in September 2012, assuming management of the church's building maintenance.

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In September 2012 Jason Crosby and Andrea Woolley continued service as co-ministers (aka co-pastors).  The church continued to reach out and minister to all peoples. 







(Andrew B. Rawls, Ph.D. church historian, wrote the above historical sketch based upon material written by Timothy George, Ph.D. and collected by Leo T. Crismon, Ph.D. Sketch prepared April 7, 1999. Photos scanned from 75th anniversary brochure and uploaded Feb 24, 2001.)

Timothy George's 1983 History of CHBC

Crescent Hill Baptist Church, An Historical Overview

Andy Rawls' 100th anniversary video script

The script for the 100th anniversary video of the church's history, produced by Dr. Andy Rawls.

Continuing History of the church

This is a continuing history of the church written by John Arnett. Additions and corrections are welcomed. Send to jwarnett@aol.com


timeline generated by JWA...corrections welcomed.

Charter Members of the Church

Early Fathers and Mothers of the CHBC

N.C. Shouse family

Photo archives

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History of the WMU and other details of Crescent Hill Baptist Church

Blanche Goetzman's 1988 history of the WMU and church

Women's Retreat History

25th anniversary in 2004

"Women in Ministry" history

This is a chronology of the history of ordination of women in Baptist life, especially with reference to the SBC and the role of Crescent Hill Baptist Church in the movement. Our thanks to Reba Cobb who was present at the beginnings in 1983 and who has preserved much of this history.

Youth Alumni

These are persons who spent time as youth at the church even if they later dropped out or moved away.

Youth and Children Camps, Mission Trips and Other Outings

a partial listing since about 1953

Staff of Crescent Hill- a partial history

This list is evolving and other names will be added as more research is done

Lay Leaders at Crescent Hill - a partial history

This list is evolving and other names will be added as more research is done

Instrumental Musicians

Partial listing by instrument of those who have contributed to the instrumental music of Crescent Hill Baptist Church over the years.

A Sampling of the Musical, Dramatic and Visual Art Productions

Partial listing of various dramatic, musical and visual art productions/exhibitions over the years.

Crescent Hill Authors and Hymn Writers/Musicians

Partial listing of publications by members of CHBC over the years.


Advent Meditations Index

index to contents of all CHBC Advent Meditations since 1975

In Memoriam

Partial list of names of the "great crowd of witnesses" noted in the yearly May memorial service.

(See alphabetical listing of the names on these pages.)

Memorial Garden

Memorial Garden Slide Show

Memorial Garden dedication - Nov 1, 2009

Seminary Connections

Through the years the church benefited greatly by its close connections with the seminary. This is a partial listing of some of the faculty and staff who've been a part of the congregation and church community. In recent years the church and seminary have drifted apart ideologically and currently there are no active staff or faculty at Crescent Hill.

Thousands of students at the seminary over the years have attended and enriched the life of the church. And the church (staff and members) have been a blessing to the students and seminary staff. Although the current administration discourages students from attending Crescent Hill about a third of the congregation who actively participate in the activities of the church were once students at the seminary. -- jwa

Notes on the Architecture of the Church Building

-- jwa


Dale Tucker explanation of building symbols

Crescent Hill Baptist Church's Architectural Symbols
The Exterior Molded Concrete Embellishments were done by Rackle Artstone  of Cleveland, Ohio. 


The Bible is central to worship and instruction;  This book could represent literacy or scholarship.  It may represent the Book of Life and is often shown as a bible. A popular form is the book as a double page spread.
Music was and is a large part of our worship and celebration of faith.  Pictured are horns, flutes, harps and cymbals.  

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Leaf borders and scroll motifs were used extensively in the art and architecture of ancient Greece and Rome. Foremost of these was the acanthus motif. Some say the acanthus, one of the oldest flowers in the Mediterranean area, represents long life. The symbolism and meaning associated with the Acanthus is that of enduring life, and the plant is traditionally displayed at funerary celebrations.   In Christianity the thorny leaves represent pain, sin and punishment. Acanthus symbolizes immortality in Mediterranean countries.


Wreath or Garland - The use of garlands, wreaths and festoons dates back to ancient Greek times and it was adopted into the Christian religion as a symbol of the victory of the redemption.

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This angel kneeling in prayer backed by acanthus leaves may represent the power of prayer.  The symbolism and meaning associated with the Acanthus is that of enduring life, and the plant is traditionally displayed at funerary celebrations.
In Christianity the thorny leaves represent pain, sin and punishment. Acanthus symbolizes immortality in Mediterranean countries.


Angel with outstretched wings and hands which enfold cherubs or children.  Perhaps this represents the guardian angels Christians have traditionally believed are assigned to children.  At the base again are found the acanthus leaves.  Angels are seen as the agent or messenger from God,
Angel/Cherubim - Guardians of a sacred place, servants of God; divine wisdom or justice.

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In this Corinthian column the top or capital contains the acanthus leaves around the lower part and ferns at the top.  The  volute is a spiral, scroll-like ornament that forms the basis of the Ionic order, found in the capital of the Ionic column. It was later incorporated into Corinthian order and Composite column capitals. The word derives from the Latin voluta ("scroll"). It has been suggested that the ornament was inspired by the curve of a ram's horns, or perhaps was derived from the natural spiral found in the ovule of a common species of clover native to Greece.  (Wikipedia)  Here you might interpret it to be a fiddle head fern; ferns represented sincerity or sorrow.

Interior stained glass windows and doors done by Louisville Art Glass Company.

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A square may be used as a symbol of many things, all primarily related to the number four. It may represent the four corners of the earth. It may represent the four Evangelists - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Since four is sometimes considered the "number of the earth," is may be used as a halo, or "nimbus," to distinguish living persons from departed saints.

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The quatrefoil is a symbol of the four Evangelists — Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

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The fleur-de-lis is a stylized representation of the lily, a symbol of purity, and so is a common reference to the Virgin Mary. The fleur-de-lis is also a symbol of royalty, made so by its adoption by kings of France. The triune representation of the fleur-de-lis has also led to its adoption as a symbol of the Trinity.  This flower may also be a lotus.

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The olive branch is widely recognized as a symbol of peace. In the story of the Great Flood, a dove returned to Noah with an olive branch to let him know that the flood waters had abated, and that the episode of God's judgment was over. The olive tree produced great quantities of oil, itself a symbol of the Holy Spirit and His anointing, as well as of consecration to the Lord.  The olive branches are topped by a fleur de lis or a lotus blossom.  A lotus represents purity, resurrection or potential and is commonly used in ancient Egypt and in Hinduism, the flower is sacred in Buddhism

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Wreath or Garland - The use of garlands, wreaths and festoons dates back to ancient Greek times and it was adopted into the Christian religion as a symbol of the victory of the redemption. Note the olives above the garland of olive leaves.

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The Christian symbol of Palm Branch symbolizes victory and also represents a martyr who sacrifices his/her life for the sake of faith in God. The Palm Branch is often seen in the hands of Jesus Christ and is considered a symbol of resurrection that depicts supreme triumph over death. Palm branches were waved and laid out on the path when Jesus entered Jerusalem. In early Christianity, the palm tree was even used as the Tree of Life.
Note the arc of palm branches over a lotus blossom.  Because a lotus blooms above the water from roots anchored in the mud, it it sometimes used as a symbol of the sanctifying power of Christ's Holy Spirit. It can also borrow its meaning from Greek mythology to refer to spiritual sleep or stupor.

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The symbol of the incense bowl with the incense smoke rising up found on both sides of the upper windows   In the Old Testament, God commanded His people to offer incense in worship.
Pure incense is the resin from certain trees found in limited areas of the Middle East like Ethiopia and Eritrea.  In ancient times it was obtained only at great expense.
In the book of Exodus (Chapter 30), God commanded Moses to make an altar of acacia wood for the burning of incense.  Aaron is to burn incense morning and evening.  Moses is given special instructions for making the incense to be used exclusively for the worship of God (Exodus 30:34-38).  One of the many ingredients given in God's list was frankincense.
Among the gifts of the Magi given to the baby Jesus was frankincense--a gift worthy of a king.
Incense is a symbol for the prayers of God's people.
"Let my prayer be counted as incense before thee, and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice. . . ."  -Psalm 141:2  http://prayerfoundation.org/dailyoffice/incense.htm

Inside the sanctuary is plaster work done by Grisanti Statuary Company.


In the alcove above the choir is a grill.  Note that the grill is made up of many candles.
A candle calls to mind Jesus' words, "I am the Light of the World" (John 8:12). When two candles are placed on an altar, they represent Jesus' human and divine natures. Believers are also called to be the light of the world:


Below the grill work over the choir are about 100 candles each in its own alcove [observation by jwarnett]


The funeral urn symbolizes death.  Urn - Greek symbol of mourning, the body as a vessel of the soul, originating as a repository for the ashes of the dead in ancient times - a popular symbol of mourning. Most represent an ossuary.

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Ichthus (ikh-thoos) or ichthys is the Greek word simply meaning “fish”.   The Greek spelling for ichthus is -- Iota, Chi, Theta, Upsilon, and Sigma. The English translation is IXOYE. The five Greek letters stand for the words meaning, “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.” This symbol was used primarily amongst Christians of the early church years (1st and 2nd century A.D.) The symbol was introduced from Alexandria, Egypt; which at the time, was a very heavily populated seaport. It was the port in which many goods were brought over from the European continent. Because of this, it was first used by the peoples of the sea as a symbol of a familiar deity, in this case, Jesus Christ.   Note a stylized rose or dogwood in the center of the fish symbol.

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The vine and branches are a reminder of Jesus' teaching that believers derive life   and fruitfulness from Christ, the True Vine.  The leaves of the vine may be that of the acanthus plant.  John 15:5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (NIV)

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Shell is symbolic of fertility, resurrection and pilgrimage.  The shell may be, in fact, a lotus blossom.  Ferns are on either side of the acanthus plant.   What appears to be a shell could also be a stylized thistle plant.  The thistle is a symbol of temporal sorrow and the curse of sin from the story of the Fall. Because the thistle is a thorny bush, it is often portrayed as the source of Christ's crown of thorns. Because thistles flourish to crowd out useful crops, they have also been used to represent the "tares" or weeds written of in Matthew 13.

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At the front of the sanctuary are three important symbols of the church.  The Lord's Table is where  bread and wine are placed for Christian Communion or The Lord's Supper.  Jesus, at what has been called "the Last Supper" he had with his disciples said that the bread represented his body which would be broken and the wine represented his blood which would be shed.  As often as you meet, do this in remembrance of me.  Directly behind the Lord's Table is the pulpit from which ministers/preachers proclaim the Good News of the Gospel which is the God of Grace forgives our sin if we turn from our sin (repent) and follow Christ.  Behind the pulpit is the space for the choir and behind the choir is the baptismal pool where new believers are immersed as a testimony that their old lives are gone and they are raised to new life in Christ. 


To the left of the pulpit is a single candle representing that Jesus said that he was the Light of the World and also that Christians are also to be lights in their world today.  To the right of the pulpit is the Bible which is God's Holy Word.  Guided by God's Spirit, Christians can find direction for their lives through reading the Bible.

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The dogwood is a modern figure of the Passion of Christ. The "legend" has it that the dogwood, which once grew tall and straight, was the source of the wood used for the cross. Jesus had pity on this poor tree used for such an ignoble purpose, and decreed, "Henceforth it shall be slender and bent and twisted and its blossoms shall be in the form of a cross ... two long and two short petals. And in the center of the outer edge of each petal there will be nail prints, brown with rust and stained with red, and in the center of the flower will be a crown of thorns, and all who see it remember ... that it was upon a dogwood tree I was crucified and this tree shall not be mutilated or destroyed, but cherished as a reminder of My death upon the cross."

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Another stylized dogwood bloom on pews.

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The daisy found on the pulpit is a late (15th century) symbol of the innocence of the Christ Child. The daisy, less exotic and pretentious than the lily, was thought by some to be a more fitting symbol for the baby Jesus.  The circle is a symbol of life everlasting.  Interestingly, this symbol is also similar to the dharma chakra (literally, ‘wheel of Law’) Buddhist emblem resembling a wagon wheel, with eight spokes, each representing one of the eight tenets of Buddhist belief. The circle symbolizes the completeness of the Dharma, the spokes represent the eightfold path leading to enlightenment: Right faith, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right endeavor, right mindfulness, and right meditation.  The Gypsy chakra has 16 spokes in their wheel.


A lozenge (?), often referred to as a diamond, is a form of rhombus. The definition of lozenge is not strictly fixed, and it is sometimes used simply as a synonym (from the French losange) for rhombus. Most often, though, lozenge refers to a thin rhombus—a rhombus with acute angles of less than 45°.[1] The lozenge shape is often used in parquetry and  as decoration on ceramics, silverware and textiles
The lozenge motif dates as far back as the Neolithic and Paleolithic period in Eastern Europe and represents a sown field and female fertility.[2] The ancient lozenge pattern often shows up in Diamond vault architecture, in traditional dress patterns of Slavic peoples, and in traditional Ukrainian embroidery. The lozenge pattern also appears extensively in Celtic art, art from the Ottoman Empire, and ancientPhrygian art.[3]  (Wikpedia)


The Natal Cross--This cross is shaped like a star, reminding us of the story of Jesus' birth and foretelling the purpose for which he was born.

References:  http://www.planetgast.net/symbols/ for Christian symbols

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Monogram of CHBC on radiator grill work


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Dismantling the 1910 building

Dismantling the 1910 building

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Memorial Garden Bricks

Memorial Garden dedication Nov 1, 2009

Memorial Garden dedication Nov 1, 2009