According to the Saints of the church, a man by the name of Rommie Jones donated an acre of land to the Flat Swamp Community to build a church. The church was built in 1882 and became known as Flat-Swamp Missionary Baptist Church. Earlier pastors included Rev. P. McMillan, Reverend “Red” Sandy, and Reverend Henry Melvin, who served as pastor for 47 years, beginning in October 1952. We continue to remember his legacy and dedication to this church for almost 5 decades. Reverend Terry Bethea served as interim pastor between 1998 and 1999.
In January 2000, Reverend Booker T. Anthony was called to serve as Interim Pastor and was installed as permanent pastor in March 2001. In October 2007, Pastor Anthony released God’s vision to him to elevate the ministry by renaming the church R.E.F.U.G.E. Community Church, where REFUGE stands for “Re-establishing Families Using Godly Ethics”; the Biblical text for this change is Psalm 46, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” The rich history of Flat Swamp remains, is and will always be a part of this body of baptized believers in Christ Jesus. We shall always treasure our past while embracing our future!
R.E.F.U.G.E. continues to be an affiliation of the Union Missionary Baptist Association and the General Baptist State Convention. In 2001, the church purchased property next door at 1101 Pasture Lane and called it R.E.F.U.G.E. Place. Currently, R.E.F.U.G.E. Place is used for our Christian Education and Outreach ministries. It houses clothing and food for the needy. Our community church provides a place of refuge for persons seeking hope in Jesus, the Christ. In 2008, R.E.F.U.G.E. reaffirmed its status as a non-profit corporation in the State of North Carolina, and received its status as a 501©)(3) church with the Federal government.
The R.E.F.U.G.E. cemetery (for active members and approved sick and shut-in) is located off Deep Creek Road and Rhone Street.
Our ministries included the Hospitality/Bereavement Ministry; the Missions Ministry; the Music Ministry; Sunday School; Prayer/Bible Study Ministries; Praise and Worship Ministries; Vacation Bible School; Youth Ministry,Graduation Ministry, Family Restoration Conference; Annual Church Breakfast; and Missionary Candlelight Service, and Prison Ministry. In 2012, Refuge was blessed to have Rev. Tony Baldwin served as our interim pastor until 2013.
In August 2013, T. W. Campbell was called to serve as Pastor. Pastor Campbell currently serves as a servant leader who has watered the vision that was previously planted while incorporating the vision that the Lord has given him for REFUGE COMMUNITY CHURCH. In 2014, the vision of Dr. Anthony manifested in Adventures in Odyssey Summer Camp and the After School Enrichment Program. New ministries have also been added such as the Media Ministry, Golden Torches (Seniors), Women (Women of Faith), Men (Men2Men), Ministry By Singles, and more to come as we continue to tarry for the vision of a Senior Day Care and a new church building. See our current vision above.
God, build our church, except that you build it, we labor in vain.