Eighty Years of Providence
Starnes Cove Baptist Church began with a dream for a Baptist Church in the Starnes Cove community in Buncombe County. In 1940 a number of men, women, and families gathered together and organized a Sunday school in a house just off Starnes Cove Road.
In 1941, Rev. Nane Starnes and Rev. M. L. Kirstin held a tent revival on the corner of Starnes Cove Road and Holbrook Road, in what was then a small community to the west of Asheville. A group of dedicated believers set out to make their dream for a new church a reality. In that tent, Starnes Cove Baptist Church was organized on June 8, 1941. Several local Baptist churches joined together to help organize the new church: Calvary, West Asheville, New Morgan Hill (now Lake Hills), and Patton Avenue (now Erwin Hills).
The North Carolina Baptist State Convention purchased a portion of the present site and later gave the property to the church. The church called Rev. Ralph Hensley as the first pastor. The first facility was built with materials taken from the old Enka Baptist Church. This 28 x 40 structure was dedicated on May 3, 1942. In 1953 some lots, adjoining the initial church property, were purchased and a parsonage was built.
During the 1960s, Rev. Howard Laney pastored the church. His leadership was pivotal for maintaining the church’s cooperation and fellowship with the Southern Baptist Convention when some churches in the area were inclined to withdraw from the convention due to rising theological tensions in the denomination. On October 30, 1960, ground was broken for the present educational building, which was dedicated on September 24, 1961.
Rev. Jesse Head pastored the church from 1971-1985. His ministry was marked by administrative growth and advancement for the church. Ground-breaking for the new sanctuary/educational building was held on March 31, 1974. These facilities were dedicated on May 4, 1975. Property adjoining the church was bequeathed to Starnes Cove Church in 1974 by charter member, Mrs. Ida Capps.
Major renovations to the media center occurred in 2004, and major renovations to the auditorium and vestibule areas were completed in 2005. In the fall of 2020, we began a series of media upgrades which are continuing in 2021.
In December of 2018, Pastor Charlie Sams retired after more than thirty-two years of faithful ministry at Starnes Cove. Dr. David Horton, president of Fruitland Baptist Bible College in Hendersonville, served as interim pastor until June 2020, when we elected Paul Sanchez to be the church’s new lead pastor.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented challenges, we look toward the future with great hope and anticipation for the Lord’s blessing as we seek to be faithful to the stewardship handed down to us by Christ our Lord and preserved in the Scriptures.
Ralph Hensley 1941-43
Jack Bagwell 1943-44
Johnnie Tiller 1944-51
Harry Dycus 1951-53
J.J. Reese 1953-55
C.D. Sawyer 1955-59
Howard Laney 1960-67
F.P. Blankenship 1967-71
Jesse Head 1971-85
Charlie Sams 1986-2018
Paul Sanchez 2020-present