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Goodrich First Baptist celebrates 119 years

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 A group of churchgoers in front of what was the original First Baptist Church Building which was located on FM 1988 West across the railroad tracks. Courtesy photo

The 119th anniversary of Goodrich First Baptist Church is today. This year’s homecoming services will begin at 11 a.m. with guest speaker Paul Cherry and his wife Vanessa Cherry. As has been the same tradition for well over a hundred years ... “Dinner On The Grounds” will follow the morning service. Everyone is welcome to join with Goodrich First Baptist for this very special service. Today also marks the beginning of revival at Goodrich First Baptist. The Cherrys will lead the revival services every night through Wednesday with the nightly services beginning at 6 p.m.

With times as they are, it is very difficult for smaller churches to be able to literally “keep their doors open.” Sadly, there is a serious falling away from churches and Covid has certainly taken its toll on church attendance. Smaller churches don’t have a lot of things many of the larger churches have. They don’t have huge membership which in turn brings in enough people and money to afford extras for their members to enjoy. Many times in smaller churches a few individuals have to take on the role of many different needed church positions. But I would like to believe that larger churches also can remember back to when their church was just a small church and I am sure their members also appreciate all the work and effort it took to get their church to the point it is today.

I love driving through a small town and seeing the churches there because I know those churches were the building blocks of those little communities and they still stand. Those churches have stood the test of time as Goodrich First Baptist has. Has it been easy? No. Honestly, at times it has been so very difficult. People come and then some leave. Sadly, many pass on from this earth, leaving empty spots that are impossible to fill. The economy plays a huge part on any church but it seems to really hit the small ones the hardest. But on the flip side of that is all the amazing love that is shown and the wonderful feelings of walking into that church and being met with hugs and smiles.

Thankfully God has enabled Goodrich First Baptist to not only keep its doors open, but to also be able to offer help to the surrounding communities. Goodrich First Baptist has been a “port in the storm” to many that have been seeking shelter from raging storms and rising waters. While this small church has never called itself a shelter nor ever received any funds for being a shelter, the doors were opened when it was needed and with God’s continuing grace, these doors will be open when needed again. Goodrich First Baptist also offers free programs such as their free clothing closet and their free lunch for seniors each Tuesday. All of this is possible only through the grace and will of God.

One only has to walk into the beautiful sanctuary to instantly realize how historic this little church is. So with that being said, I thought I would once again share some of the history of Goodrich First Baptist Church.

On Sept. 21, 1903 a group of members of the regular Baptist churches holding letters of dismissal and living in Goodrich met in the schoolhouse to organize a church. The charter members registered were J.H. King, R.A. Coward, S.H. Edmonds, T.C. Walters, S.C. Walters, Mrs. E.P. Coward and Mrs. S. C. Coward. After reading the convent, Mrs. S.C. Walters was elected church clerk. Bro. P.H.  Bilbro was elected pastor for one year. The church was named First Baptist Church of Goodrich, Texas. Brother S.C. Walters and Bro. A.B. Coward were ordained as the first deacons in the presence of Brother P.H. Bilbro and J.S. Louis.

The one-room schoolhouse where the meeting took place is where the home of Lera Craig was later built. The first Sunday School Superintendent was elected and the first Wednesday night prayer meeting was organized on January 24, 1905. On Nov. 16, 1907 the church raised the pastor’s salary to $55 a year. In April of 1908 the total membership for the First Baptist Church of Goodrich was 29 – 12 men and 17 women. They were able to raise the pastor’s salary to $56 a year.

While this small church was struggling to get its own church building built the world around them was rapidly changing. Many members of this church willingly stepped up to join up and serve their country and sadly many did not return home. In Sept. 16, 1921 the First Baptist Church of Goodrich held a revival with visiting pastor L.S. Cole. This revival was held under an arbor under the two big trees west of what was the J.R. Edmonds home. During this revival 62 members were added to the church membership. Due to the rapid growth of the church membership they were able to raise the needed money to build their own church. In 1921 the church was able to finish building its first church home. On Sept. 22, 1922 the church had a membership roll of 106 members.

Then in 1929 Wall Street crashed and the Great Depression hit and it hit the little communities hard. But still this community pulled together. They helped their neighbors in need, they cared for each other and they continued on God’s plan for this church. Despite the crash of Wall Street and the Great Depression looming over them, this group of Christians continued on their faith in the belief that God would provide. In 1929 the church had to find a building to use through the cold winter since there was no heat in their church building, so they returned to using the one-room school building until March of 1930 when the weather would be warmer.

Fast forward to 1941 and remember that Pearl Harbor was attacked but still this church moved forward with members buying war bonds in 1942 to start a church building fund. On April 29, 1945 after it had failed at an earlier church meeting, the church membership voted to move the church from its location across the railroad tracks to its new location on 1988 East (Bond Street) where it remains today. After only two years in August of 1947 the church entered its new home at the same current location where the church stands today.

In 1971 the present parsonage was built and is still in use today. In 1978 the present-day classrooms and fellowship hall were built, doing away with the old two-story classrooms. In May of 1982 the church spent approximately $40,000 to remodel the auditorium. In July of 1985 the church designated the third Sunday of every September as its Homecoming Celebration date. In September of 1986 with the grace of God, Goodrich First Baptist was able to “burn” its financial note.

Now to present day … through so many up and downs (and a few different buildings and locations) this little church in Goodrich, Texas has stood now for 119 years. I could go on and on about how many wonderful Godly people have worked through these many years to not only sustain but to work for the future generations to come, so that this little church could stand in the middle of a tiny country town and proclaim that by the Grace of God and the hard work of so many, this church still stands as a Christian Church based on the principles of God’s Own Word ... the Holy Bible. This church welcomes all. There are no exceptions. Everyone is welcome to come worship God at this church.

So with all this being said, please feel very welcome to attend the 119th Homecoming Celebration at 11 a.m. Sunday. No dress code required ... from suits to jeans ... from heels to flip flops ... everyone is welcome.

Now for other news:

Goodrich School Events:

Sept. 20 – Volleyball - Goodrich at Diboll at 4:30 p.m.

Sept. 23 – Volleyball - Goodrich at Leggett at 4:30 p.m.

Sept. 27 - Volleyball - Burkeville at Goodrich 4:30 p.m. 

Sept. 27 - Junior High Volleyball - Latexo at Goodrich 5 p.m.

Sept. 30 – Volleyball - District Game - Goodrich at High Island 4:30 p.m.

News Around Town:

Some of my older readers may remember the Hayman family. Mr. Wesley Hayman was the superintendent of Goodrich ISD during the 1950’s. His son John Hayman attended school here and graduated from Goodrich in 1961. John Hayman surprised me a couple of years ago and stopped by my office to give me his Goodrich letterman jacket so it could be framed and hung in The Old Hardware Building as part of our collection of items for preserving our community’s history. He promised to come back soon with more keepsakes and some photos but that is about the time Covid hit so that was the last time that we got to visit about “the old days,” but his jacket now hangs in The Old Hardware Building in the forever memory of him. Sadly, John Hayman passed from this earth this past week and his funeral was held Sept. 16 in Edna, Texas. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of his family and friends.

I will leave you on that note with a reminder to find time to make those memories because at some point that is all that will be left.


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Goodrich ISD reveals improvement plans, projects

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Goodrich ISD Hornet Facing LeftBy Brian Besch
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The Goodrich school board approved a strategic expenditure plan and discussed summer projects that are finishing at the September regular meeting Thursday.

The board approved a strategic spending plan that earmarks some of the district’s fund balance.

  “These are the things that we have identified as our projects that need to be addressed,” Goodrich Superintendent Daniel Barton said. “It is a compilation of things we’ve been doing all year, as far as collecting quotes. We’ve got bids on most of these things. With most of them, we’ve tried to put plenty of finances behind it. The reality of it is, what we are trying to do is commit funds in our fund balance.”

Barton said the district is about to deposit another $600,000 into the fund balance, bringing it to over $4.1 million. The district wishes to have six months of operational expenditures in uncommitted funds. The resolution approved Thursday will commit funds to the projects.

The top priorities on the list include re-roofing the theater, which is estimated at $45,000, and security cameras for the district at a price of $130,000. Also top priorities, security fencing is expected at around $70,000, and there are plans to add vestibules at the primary and high school entrances for $24,000.

Lower priorities include theater lighting, road repair, a travel bus, roofing for the old gymnasium, replacing or upgrading air conditioning units and electrical upgrades.

The lowest priorities are tennis court upgrades, track resurfacing, rerouting of wiring, two new buses, new furniture, old gym and middle school/upper elementary interior, and a new suburban. 

The school will begin NWEA testing at the beginning, middle and end of the year to gauge growth in Goodrich students. It is new to the district and will individualize plans to help each student. The testing is designed to close gaps and will be for all tested grade levels.

There is also a targeted improvement plan, required because of a campus that was rated as needing improvement in the latest testing. An initial review meeting will soon be set in October with the Texas Education Agency. The plan explains what the school district will do to get students caught up where they need to be.

The maintenance report was positive, as new windows at Goodrich ISD are finally all in.

“It really looks nice and I was glad to see that last window go in,” Barton said. “They put it in (Wednesday) night. Most of the work has been done on the lower elementary, but the middle school still has a lot of work to be done, and of course, the outside trim. They are working at night, trying to get it knocked out.”

Restrooms that were under construction are also now complete. A water pump needs to be replaced to get a third bus operational and help transport students.

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Deadline nearing for school board candidate announcements

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CandidateAnnouncement Graphic

From Enterprise Staff

Tuesday is the deadline for school board candidates to submit a free one-time-only announcement and photo to run in the Polk County Enterprise. The announcements will run on a first come first served basis as space allows.

This is an opportunity to introduce yourself and your vision to our readers. The announcement and photo may be emailed to the editor at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or may be brought into the office on a USB flash drive.

The photo should be a large .jpg (actual size when emailing) and the announcement should be typed in a Word document not to exceed 400 words. 

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Chamber offers full slate of activities

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LivingstonChamberofCommerceFrom Enterprise Staff

Dianne Amerine and Cheryl Powell from the Angelina College Small Business Development Center will present the program for the next Learning Lunch hosted by the Livingston-Polk County Chamber of Commerce at noon Tuesday at the chamber office located at 1001 Hwy. 59 Loop North. This is just the first event of what is gearing up to be a busy fall season for the local chamber. To register, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

A breakfast for past chamber chairmen is slated for 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. To register for the breakfast please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The chamber will host Business After Hours at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at The Bradford at Brookside. This is an opportunity to visit and network with other chamber members as well as tour the facility.

The chamber’s next Quarterly Membership Meeting is slated for Sept. 27 at Cho-Yeh Camp & Conference Center. Corrigan-Camden ISD Superintendent Richard Cooper, Goodrich ISD Superintendent Daniel Barton and Livingston ISD Superintendent Dr. Brent Hawkins will present the program.

Other upcoming events include:

Women Interested in Networking Opportunities (WINOs) will make fall wreaths with Rachel Deason on Sept. 29 at the chamber office. Register immediately as seats are limited. 

Power Hour with the Chamber from 8-9 a.m. Oct. 4 at The Bull Shack. Bring your business cards and mix and mingle.

Come Clean Lake Livingston Oct. 15 at On the Lake RV Resort in Onalaska. For those wanting a T-shirt, please register online before Thursday.

A Learning Lunch at noon Oct. 18 at the chamber office. Joshua Ureke, a financial advisor with Edward Jones, will present the program.

WINOs will play bingo on Oct. 27 at the chamber office.

Power Hour with the Chamber from 8-9 a.m. Nov. 1 at The Bull Shack. 

A Learning Lunch at noon Nov. 15 at the chamber office. Ashley Ethier with Polk County Crime Stoppers will present the program.

WINOs will make a Christmas craft with Rachel Deason on Nov. 17 at the chamber office.

Power Hour with the Chamber from 8-9 a.m. Dec. 6 at The Bull Shack.

For additional information on any of these events, contact the chamber office at 936-327-4929 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Registration for most of these events is available on the Chamber’s website at www.polkchamber.com

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Council adopts budget, closes undeveloped street

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City of Livingston logoBy Emily Banks Wooten
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A public hearing on the budget for the fiscal year that runs Oct. 1, 2022 through Sept. 30, 2023 drew no comments during the regular meeting of the Livingston City Council on Sept. 13. Council approved an ordinance adopting the budget and also approved budget adjustments for the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30.

Council accepted a petition from Mr. and Mrs. Earl Hubby to vacate, abandon and close an unnamed and undeveloped street containing 0.196 acre between Blocks 18 and 19 of the South Livingston Addition. The Hubbys own a house and property on South Beatty. According to City Attorney James W. Wright, a 1919 map and a 1935 map show the unnamed street in question as being undeveloped. “I feel they’ve met the requirements to close the street,” Wright said. Council approved an ordinance vacating, abandoning and closing said property.

The annual firefighting agreement between the City of Livingston and Polk County for fiscal year Oct. 1, 2022 through Sept. 30, 2023 was approved.

A resolution designating the Polk County Enterprise as the official newspaper of the City of Livingston for the upcoming fiscal year was approved.

Council also approved a resolution rescinding Resolution No. 597 which authorized the sale of a 1987 Ranger Femfab walk-in heavy rescue fire truck.

After reviewing the bids received, Council awarded Griffin Electric the contract for the U.S. Hwy. 59 crossing underground electric installation, an upcoming project in which existing overhead electric lines on Willis Street on the west side of the bypass will be relocated underground.

Council set public hearings on the determination of unsafe and/or dilapidated buildings for 5 p.m. Oct. 11 for two properties:

A residential structure owned by Texas Specialty Homes, L.P. located at 302 Leopard St., as an unsafe and/or dilapidated building, the property being described as: Lot One (1), Block Fourteen (14) of the Dunbar Addition, an addition to the City of Livingston, in Polk County, Texas, according to the map or plat thereof recorded in Volume 1, Page 107 of the Plat Records of Polk County, Texas, also known as 302 Leopard St., Livingston, Texas; and

A residential structure owned by Gregory John located at 204 Younger Street, as an unsafe and/or dilapidated building, the property being described as: Lots Three (3) and Four (4), Block Seven (7) of the Pinecrest Addition to the City of Livingston, as shown by the map or plat thereof recorded in Volume 1, Page 21 of the Plat Records of Polk County, Texas, as described in deed dated September 7, 2008 from Elissie B. John to Gregory Wayne John, recorded in Volume 1663, Page 256 of the Official Public Records of Polk County, Texas.

Following an executive session to review the proposed salary schedule for the fiscal year Oct. 1, 2022 through Sept. 30, 2023, Council approved it upon return to open session.

City Manger Bill S. Wiggins reported the September sales tax report from the state comptroller’s office for the month of July reflects $397,643.65, an increase of 6.48% over July of last year.

Updating Council regarding current development projects, Wiggins reported that Tracey Kincade bought the old Billy’s Donuts at 1026 W. Church St. and is renovating it and will call it Alma’s Donuts. He said that Kincade has also been visiting with city officials about a possible renovation for a new venue location on the second floor of 318 N. Washington. 

He reported that the city had a pre-development meeting with CP Homes Memory Care to discuss a new memory care facility to be located at 1864 N. Washington.

Wiggins reported that the Habitat for Humanity Resale Shop has relocated to the old Sears building at 321 N. Beatty.

He said the permit has been issued and work is ongoing on the new Pizza Hut located at 1205 W. Church St.

Wiggins reported there is an ongoing buildout for Serenity Spa located at 1207 W. Church St.

Joseph and Daniel Smith are renovating Malcolm Jones’ old building at 415 N. Washington to become an event venue called The Vault.

Victory Lending, a payday loan group, will be located at 1213 W. Church St. but there is no opening date as of yet.

Wiggins reported that Janice McCanus moved Crave Nutrition from Denham Street to a new location at 1211 W. Church St. and the certificate of occupancy has been issued.

A certificate of occupancy has also been issued to Taco Bueno at 2001 U.S. Hwy. 190 West although it is not open yet as they are in the process of training their staff.

Wiggins reported that Wendy’s at 1819 U.S. Hwy. 190 West is completed and open for business.

Other business included approval of accounts over $500 and minutes of the August 9 meeting.

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