On May 1, 1962, thirty-six people met at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Beamon in Raleigh, North Carolina to organize a Free Will Baptist Mission.
The following ministers were present at this meeting: Rev. R.H. Jackson, Chairman of N.C. State Mission Board; Rev. R.W. Allman, member of State Mission Board; Rev. C. M. Coats, Chairman of Cape Fear Conference Mission Board; Rev. Ed Taylor, Moderator of Cape Fear Union Meeting and proxy for Rev. C. F. Bowen, Moderator of Cape Fear Conference. Rev. Taylor was elected to serve as moderator of the meeting and the following officers were elected: Trustees - Moses Farmer, Lawrence Garris and Louis Puckett; Clerk - Mrs. Ralph Beamon; Treasurer - J.D. Strickland; Finance Committee - J.D. Strickland, Albert Woodard and Eddie Taylor.
The organization was first named New Hope Mission. This was changed on September 5, 1962 to Palmer Memorial Mission in memory of Paul Palmer founder of our Free Will Baptist Faith.
The first services were held in homes of various members. Later we moved to Overby Funeral Home where we continued until August 26, 1962 at which time we moved to 500 Garner Loop Road into a building provide by one our members, Mr. Moses Farmer.
In August 1962 we elected Rev. W. Royster Martin as our first pastor. On September 6, 1962 a Woman's Auxiliary was organized under the direction of Mrs. Dola Dudley, Field Worker for the State Auxiliary Convention. Mrs. Joy Garris was elected president of this organization. In October 1962 a Youth Fellowship Auxiliary and an Ambassador for Christ was organized by Mrs. Gladys Phillips, Youth Director. Louis Puckett, Jr. was elected president of the Y.F.A. and Max Garris of the A.F.C.
From January to September 1962 Reverends Eugene Sumner and Dr. Michael Pelt served as interim pastors, and at this time the Rev. H. Adrian Grubbs was elected pastor.
On September 20, 1967 Palmer Memorial Mission voted to purchase property located at 904 Northview Street, Cloverdale Subdivision, which is now part of Garner, North Carolina. The house on this property was remodeled with a chapel that would seat about 80 people and provide for seven Sunday School classrooms.
On May 5, 1968 Palmer Memorial Mission was officially organized into a church. This service was held in conjunction with our annual Homecoming service with members of the State Mission Board and the Cape Fear Conference Mission Board participating.In August of 1969 the adjoining property became available and was purchased as a parsonage.
In September 1969 our pastor resigned and for several months we were without a pastor. Our people began to scatter and we were as sheep without a shepherd. During this period we were in a state of despair and hope was very dim.
In January of 1970 the Rev. R. W. Allman came to pastor the church. He saw the needs of the church and we began to see some results of our labor.
In December 1970 the building was moved from the corner lot and on January 31, 1971, the groundbreaking ceremony was held. It looked as if our dreams were going to become a reality. On February 9, 1971 the layout for the present building was begun. On March 6, 1971 the foundation of an average building is laid, but as the first block was laid the pastor was there and prayer was offered to God on behalf of this building and organization. The church was finished and dedicated on July 18, 1971.
After four years, Rev. Allman resigned and at that time we elected Rev. Curtis Jones as our pastor who remained with us until September 1978. During this time we purchased a church bus to be used for making trips to Youth Rallies and other church functions. Because of an increase in attendance, the men of the church dug out the basement and made two new Sunday School classrooms.
In September 1978, the Rev. R. W. Allman, our former pastor, came out of retirement to serve as interim pastor until April 1979; at which time the Rev. Danny Braswell became our next pastor.
In August 1980, we again were without a pastor. We therefore called the Rev. R. W. Allman to serve again as interim pastor. We have a special place in our hearts for "Preacher" Allman who has shown us such great love and devotion by his willingness to help us when we needed him the most.
The Rev. Dewey Boling came to us in March 1981. During this time our church experienced a new quest for growth, not only in membership but also in spiritual matters. As a result of fund-raising efforts and the faithfulness of our members, many wonderful things happened. Souls were saved, the pews were padded, the choir loft remodeled, a handicap ramp added, the parking lot paved and a new organ purchased. On June 13, 1982 we held a special service to celebrate the retiring of our bond debt. The church was now mortgage-free!
In the latter part of 1984, the parsonage and the house which had served as our fellowship hall were moved from the property and a new fellowship hall was constructed. The debt on this was retired in June 1992.
After serving 11 years, in January 1992, Rev. Boling resigned and Rev. Jeff Scarborough came to serve as interim pastor. In March of that same year, we voted him our full-time pastor. He served until October 1996 before retiring.
In October 1996, Al Warrick came to serve as interim pastor. He was a licensed pastor but had not been ordained. On April 13, 1997 he was ordained at his home church, Johnston Union Free Will Baptist. On April 16, 1997 he became our full-time pastor and served until October 1998.
Our present pastor, the Rev. Joe Myrick, came to us in November 1998.
The members of Palmer Memorial and its ministry have worked long and hard with great perseverance. Today as we look around us, we see our dedication and labor has been crowned with success. Our hearts are not swelled with pride, but with humility, gratitude, and thanksgiving to God for what He has done for us. It is in this spirit that we shall continue our work here at Palmer Memorial. May we never lose sight of our greatest task - winning the lost to Jesus Christ.
(Note: Most of the preceding was taken from the June 19, 1982 issue of The Free Will Baptist, written by Betty Jo Perritte.)