Nowadays we hardly give a thought to hopping into the car and driving 25-30 miles to go to church. But in the days of mud roads and stubborn mules, a four-mile journey was often a half-day ordeal.
It seemed that way to many in the community of the Tesh school house in Davidson County. Many of them were Moravians, members of Friedberg, but the four-mile distance was too far to attend services regularly. What they needed, they told James E. Hall, Friedberg’s pastor, was a Sunday school in their own neighborhood. Not one to miss an opportunity, Br. Hall obliged, and on May 10, 1896, opened a Sunday school in the Tesh school house.
It was a perfect match of eager members and willing pastor. On that first day 103 enrolled, and shortly the number grew to 135. The Sunday school also had a name befitting an energetic endeavor: Enterprise. By that autumn it was evident that Enterprise needed a church. Br. David A. Tesh donated the land, and construction began by March 1897. The volunteer work by the members continued all that year and into the next. Then on April 11, 1898 — Easter Monday — Bishop Edward Rondthaler journeyed out from Salem to lay the cornerstone as well as dedicate the completed church.
Originally a quaint-looking wood structure, the church got a complete makeover in the 1920’s and early ’30’s with a basement for Sunday school rooms, brick veneering, and electrical wiring to make it “one of the most beautiful church buildings in our Province.” In the mid 1950’s the basement was given such a thorough remodeling that the congregation would “now have to refer to it as a fellowship hall.”
The congregation too has grown over the years. At first a filial of Friedberg, it was officially organized as a separate congregation on December 15, 1929, though it still shared the same minister, Br. Samuel Tesch. Then in 1950 a parsonage was built and Archie Jones became Enterprise’s first resident pastor.
Over the years, decades, and now more than a century, the congregation James E. Hall began and the church Edward Rondthaler dedicated continue to serve the Enterprise community.