Located in the heart of the historic northeast neighborhood of Wake Forest, NC, Olive Branch Baptist Church has been a fixture in the community since its founding in 1865.
Originally located on the campus of Wake Forest College, the present day Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, the founders instilled the spirit of community and Christian service. These principles laid the groundwork for the church's core values today.
Today, Olive Branch is focused on creating an atmosphere of love and community through fellowship and worship.
How long the church remained on the Wake Forest College campus is not known for certain. The inscription on the cornerstone states that the church was organized in 1865 and remained on the campus until 1879.
The present site of Olive Branch was conveyed by a deed dated October 15, 1879. The names of the trustees recored in the deed are J.T. Thomas, J.F. Phillips, S.S. Powell, Henry Dunston, and Joe Gill.
It is worthy to note that when Olive Branch was established, it received both financial support and guidance from the Wake Forest Baptist Church. The tensions generated by the Civil War conflict had not overcome the "Spirit of Brotherhood."
The early history dates back when both whites and blacks worshipped in the same church edifice. The white minister preached to the whites in the morning and to the blacks in the afternoon. Later, the blacks had their black ministers. This seems to suggest that Reverend George Harris was the black minister who preached to the blacks on the campus and led them to the present site on 326 East Juniper Avenue. Reverend Harris was the pastor from 1879 until his death in 1893. He was buried in the church cemetary.
The present structure of the church is the third building on this site. According to the inscription on the cornerstone, the structure was rebuilt in 1955. As before, when the church was built this time, Wake Forest Baptist Church gave the members considerable assistance. Throughout the years, improvements have been made on the exterior as well as the interior of the church.
Since its early beginning, Olive Branch has held a unique position in the total welfare of the community. Because of its sanctuary, many groups gathered at Olive Branch. The members of the church were very helpful to all the community churches that began later. They also gave their blessings to all the community improvements.