Bethlehem Baptist Church
History of Bethlehem Baptist Church
As with other churches in Gordon county, several of Bethlehem's record books have been lost over the years. Bethlehem was a church model. The minutes usually reported all in peace and calls for acknowledgement brought no response. The earliest date in the books was May 1893.The early churches of Gordon County were called the Baptist church of Christ. The church covenant, Articles of faith and Gospel and Order of the rules of decorum were all copied in the clerk's book. Rev. A.H. Rice was pastor from 1893 to 1901 with J.W. Bowls, Joab Lewis, and W.H.McEntyre church clerks during this time. Also in July 1893, a committee was appointed to cover the church building. It was recorded in the church books in 1896 that the church voted to exclude any brother drinking to excess.
A long row of small marble slabs near the church marks the graves of these unnamed pioneers. The old part of the cemetery surrounds the church on one side and the back with a recent addition across the road. The cemetery is kept neat and clean.
In 1901 J.N. Hightower was elected pastor with A.T. Chandler serving as clerk. It was also recorded that year that some of the younger brethren were departing from faith by joining other denominations using profane language, and playing the fiddle at a dance.
Rev. W.B. Bridges was elected pastor in 1913 and J.W.Queen church clerk. Rev.Bridges served until 1916 when Rev. A.J. Smith was elected. Mr.Queen continued as clerk with W.E. Johnson, Treasurer.
Rev. J.A. McArthur was pastor from 1917 until 1923, With L.G. Bryant and W.E. Johnson clerks during these years. In 1917, the church withdrew fellowship from twelve members for nonattendance and nonsupport of the ministry.
Rev. D.O. Penland was pastor for 1923 and 1924, and L.G. Bryant church clerk. The church was given a new roof in 1923, though in august $6.00 was still due for shingles and nails. These were two peaceful years.
Rev. J.A. McArthur was again elected pastor in 1924 with J.M. Woods church clerk.
Rev. Monroe J.Taylor was pastor from 1926 to 1933 and the church clerks during this time were :L.G.Bryant, A.R. Shirley, and Aaron Mcntyre. The church was painted in 1927. In 1931, the church purchased four acres of land adjacent to the church from Mr. Hunt. It is being used as a cemetery. The first person buried in the new cemetery was Mrs. Woodson Langston.
Rev. L.C. Sluder was chosen as pastor in 1934 to serve until 1938, when Rev. Pinson became pastor. Church clerks during this time were: Wiley Woodward, Tom Blalock, and Mr. Parker. From 1941 until 1943, Rev. E.L. Champion served as pastor and E.L. Rickett was church clerk. Rev. Walt Ballew served from 1944 until 1947.
The church was again painted in 1947 and decoration day was observed in June. Electric lights were installed in the church in 1948 and Rev. Johnnie Belcher was elected pastor after the resignation of Rev. Ballew in 1947.
From 1948 until 1950, Rev. Henry West was pastor and Ervin Rickett was church clerk. Rev. Homer Davis who only pastored for one year followed him and the church clerk was James L. McDearis. Rev. Billy Cochran pastored in 1952 and 1953 , Rev. I.C. Sluder from 1954 to 1956 , Rev. Robert Hudgens 1957 through 1960, and Ray Bearden in 1961 with John Jones serving as church clerk throughout these years.
In 1962, Rev. Hollis Hammond was elected pastor and served until 1970. John Jones again served as church clerk for these eight years. In 1972 a fellowship hall was built. Rev. Robert Hudgens was pastor from 1971 to 1979 with church clerks for the ensuing time as follows: Kimbal Johnson, Chuck Langston, and Wiley Woodward.
Rev. Hollis Hammond was reelected in 1980 and was pastor until he resigned in 1984. The church clerks were Kimbal Johnson, Johnny Sherriff, Scott Nix, and Billy Erwin. Bethlehem did not elect another pastor until January 1986 when Rev. James Justice was elected. Rev. Justice was pastor until 1994. Stephen Miller served as church clerk from 1985 to 1996.
Rev. Bo Carnes was pastor from January 1995 until September 1996. In September 1996 we purchased 6.395 acres of land at the price of $3700.00 per acre for a total of $23,661.50 Hopefully the church will continue to grow and this will be the site for the future church.
The church was again without a pastor until july 1997, when Rev. Bobby Causby was elected and served until August 1998. The church clerk was Rayford Parker.
In February of 1999 Mark Talley was elected pastor and served until January 2000.The church clerk was Billy Kay from 1999 until 2004.Rev. Jacky Waits was elected pastor in March 2000 and was until he resigned June 2008.
Rev. James Cobb filled in for the interim until April 2009 when he was elected Pastor and remained until April 2010.
Rev. Jason Parker was elected pastor in November 2010 as Pastor until his resignation in 2015. Rev. Ronnie Wells was elected Pastor in December 2015.
Rev. Ronnie Wells was elected Pastor in December 2015.
There have been several pianists and organists throughout the years but we have no record of those until recently. Opal Holcomb is currently serving as pianist and has since 1967 with Jackie Miller serving as organist from 1978 to present.
Historically, Bethlehem Baptist Church has continued to be one of the strongest churches of Gordon County throughout the years.
2017 Bethlehem Baptist Church.us