View to the left, which is the entrance into the baptistry. The wooden steps are placed outside of the baptistry door for the pastor and the person being baptized to step up into the baptistry and walk down into the water on metal steps. This painting is also continued along the side walls, so that the person being baptized has a view of the “bank” of the river while standing in the water.
View of the right side of the baptistry. The dedication plaque is on the wall close to the center of this photograph. The plaque states that the painting was completed in memory of Rev. Isom W. Vestal, who served as pastor for a few months in 1939 and passed away late that same year. He is buried at the Fall Creek Baptist Church cemetery in Jonesville, a church which helped to start the Arlington First Baptist Church.
This is the view a pastor and a person being baptized would have as they enter into the baptismal pool.
Signature of the artist, Walter Keul, who did this baptistry painting, circa 1939-1940. He also painted other baptistries and paintings in NC.
The sanctuary of Arlington First Baptist Church was completed in 1936. The outside walls were veneered with river rocks from the area.
Jill’s Notes: Arlington First Baptist Church in Jonesville, North Carolina, was established in 1936 by a group of people eager to organize a church in their village of Arlington. According to the church’s history, a committee “requested an arm” from the nearby Fall Creek Baptist church. An “arm” of nine members from Fall Creek was granted, and the church was officially organized. The church is constructed of stones from the surrounding area, a choice made by the church’s first building committee in the mid-1930s. The original church included an indoor baptistry in its plans. Mr. and Mrs. Richard Vestal donated the baptistry painting in memory of Reverend Isom W. Vestal. Vestal was the church’s second pastor and served from April to December 1939. The painting was done by artist Walter Keul of Shelby, North Carolina. Keul painted baptistry scenes for several North Carolina churches, including Deep Branch Baptist Church in Lumberton, Emmanuel Baptist Church in Indian Trail, and New Hope Baptist Church in Earl. Keul was also known for other types of artwork, such as portraits.