Bethel Baptist Church Purpose
The purpose of the Bethel Baptist Church, Aberdeen, Mississippi shall be to carry out the Great Commission of the Lord Jesus Christ as recorded n the books of Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 16:15, and Acts 1:8, and to develop Christian Fellowship among saints and their growth in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.
We are a member of the Monroe County Baptist Association
1. To develop music and worship that pleased God and reveals His glory. (Worship)
2. To develop ministries to touch the physical, emotional, and spiritual realms of all kinds
of people. (Ministries)
3. To develop a church and a people who are constantly sharing the message that Jesus
Christ died and rose again to provide forgiveness and abundant life. (Evangelism)
4. To develop mature Christians who are in turn reproducing fully devoted followers of
5. To develop a church family whose focus is to live in unity with the Heavenly Father,
who enjoy being in harmony together, and who lovingly share in all things as each
has need. (Fellowship)
History of Bethel Baptist Church
History of Bethel Baptist Church
A History of Bethel Baptist Church
In November of 1876, the respective bodies of Pilgrim’s Rest and Trinity Churches met in the house of Pilgrim’s Rest to worship and discuss the union of the two churches. A joint committee recommended that for the best interest of the cause of Christ and to further benefit these two small churches, a merger should be considered that would unite Pilgrim’s Rest and Trinity under the following conditions:
- A lot could be secured to divide the distance as close as possible for the members.
- The house of Pilgrim’s Rest would be moved to said lot.
3. A new name is selected for the church.
4. The new Church adopts the articles of faith of Pilgrim’s Rest and Decorum of Trinity.
The report of the joint committee was approved and the name Bethel was chosen for the new church.
In December of 1876 the new church elected Bro. J. W. Bozeman as its first pastor. The new pastor and his congregation concerned themselves with the decision of where the best location for the church should be for the next four months. At the April meeting of 1877, Mr. J. W. Andrews offered the church two acres that was occupied by a schoolhouse in an effort to unite the membership. Andrew’s offer was accepted and Bethel Baptist Church had its new location. Consequently, the building committee decided that the entire male membership of Bethel would meet the first day after the next rain at Pilgrim’s Rest to tear down and haul away the sanctuary.
The next year of 1877 proved to be both busy and costly. In the July meeting the church agreed to change from candlelight to oil lamps, and to dig a well to better serve the membership. To show their dedication, an offering of fifteen dollars was immediately received and both the lamps and the well was ready by the next monthly meeting; however, because of lack of funds the church waited until 1878 to purchase the rope, bucket, and pulley for the well.
In August of 1877, Bethel had its first protracted meeting. Bro. Bozeman was assisted by W.H. Robinson and T. G. Sellers in a meeting that lasted for twelve days and nights. As a result of the meeting, nine souls were added to the church.
Bethel Baptist Church welcomes Bro. J. T. Christian as their newly elected pastor in December of 1870 after Bro. Bozeman resigned that same year. It was during this time the first Sunday school was organized in February of 1880; therefore, more officers were needed placing W. E. Bradley as the first Sunday School Superintendent and William Duke as the first secretary.
The church once again elected a new pastor in September of 1880. The reverend H. J. Vanlandingham replaced J.L. Christian and served the church from 1881 until October of 1883.
As time went on, it became more evident that the old church building was beyond repair and plans were made to build a new one. In July of 1899, a committee of three was appointed to receive plans and bids to build the new church house. On the fifth Sunday of July 1901, Bro. B. R. Hughey preached the dedication service of the newly built church building. This building is the present sanctuary of Bethel Baptist Church.
From the year of 1901 until 1913, the men who served Bethel as its pastors include Bro. Paden, Bro. A. T. Camp, Bro. W. H. Thompson, and Bro. On. N. Sullivan. Then in 1923, the small church felt growing pains once again as Bro. H. L. Tully held a revival meeting that saw tens souls saved. The next few years would see even more people coming to the Lord at Bethel Baptist Church. Since eighteen more were saved in 1925 also under the preaching of Bro. H.L. Tully.
Other interesting facts about Bethel are, in November of 1928 the church changed its affiliation from The Columbus Association to the Monroe Baptist Association. In 1936 the church was once again repaired. The installation of electric lights was discussed in 1941. Bro. M. V. Owings, who certainly served Bethel longer than any pastor in the church’s history, served Bethel for twenty-two years.
After Bro. Owings resigned in 1941, some of Bethel’s other pastors include Bro. J. M. Walker, Rev. G. L. Ford, Rev. C. W. Thompson and others. It seemed as though Bethel was going through a time of trial, which eventually saw the church at an all time low in Bethel in 1958; nevertheless, as all people who are serious about serving Jesus Christ, the people of Bethel Baptist Church got their second wind started. To move on and be a vital witness as they had throughout their history as a part of the body of Christ.
Carl Burk resigned as pastor in 1961 and Bro. Ellis duke replaced him in June of 1962. In October 1962, Bro. Terry Miller was called to Bethel as pastor. Four years later, Burl Bassinger, Bill Britkreitz, and Walter West suggested that Bethel have full time services under the leadership of Bro. James Garner. From 1967 until 1969 Bro. A. R. Kirkly served the church as pastor. During bro. Kirly’s term as pastor, the first new addition was added to the building. Bro. John S. Sherrill was called to serve in October of 1969. From December 1971 until January 1978 Bro. James Mixon served as Pastor.
Bro. John Gainer came to Bethel in 1978. Bro. Bobby Burks was called in 1982. Then in May of 1985 Bro. S.C. Earwood was called as pastor and served until 1987. During 1987 and 1988 Bro. L. R. Majors was called to serve as interim pastor. On October 1988 Bro. Eugene Sparks began his pastorate at Bethel and served there until May of 1997.
Bethel Baptist Church once again began to search for a pastor. On June 08, 1997, Bro. Lewis Coker was invited to preach a trail sermon at Bethel and was called as pastor after finishing his message. During Bro. Coker’s Pastorate at Bethel there were several wonderful improvements to the church. Due to age and wear of the draperies in the sanctuary they were replaced and sound system was purchased. On the first Sunday in May of 1998, Bro. Lewis Coker announced his resignation at the end of service.
In the mist of change, the spirit of Bethel Baptist church remained steadfast as they once again began the search for a pastor. On August 05, 1998, during the regular business meeting the church called Bro. Chris Colburn as pastor and he accepted the call. Bro. Chris Colburn preached his first sermon as pastor on August 23, 1998.
The blessings that the church received from November 01, 1998 to November 2001 have been phenomenal. During this time period, the church received thirty-three new members, fifteen of which came upon profession of faith. These numbers did not reflect all the souls who have been saved, for there have been souls saved here that did not join the church.
Bethel Baptist Church has also realized many other blessings as well, including but not limited to the following: copier, new sound system, new keyboard, security system, the addition of a wheel chair ramp, new carpet through-out the church –excluding the sanctuary, a complete interior paint job, and brand new hymnals. Even though the blessings have been abundant, that does not mean that the blessings of late have not come without trails. On January 01, 1999, Bethel Baptist Church was robbed. The church had finished its annual Watch Night Service on New Year’s Eve, when sometime in the early morning hours, vandals broke into the church and stole may items; however, the resolve of the people of Bethel remained strong in adversity. Some of the memebers met in the church to survey the damage of the robbery, those present joined together in prayer for the people who had harmed us and for strength in a time of trouble. The Lord heard our prayer and blessed abundantly. It was not long after the time of robbery that donations came pouring in. The church was blessed with replacements for all items, some of which were of better quality than the items that had been stolen. Bethel also received a special donation in an amount sufficient to pay for a state of the art security system to protect what God had provided.
Bro. Chris Colburn resigned as Pastor and preached his final sermon in April 2004. We, once again, as time repeats, found ourselves in search for another pastor. A pulpit committee was formed and the process began. August 2004, Deacon Robert Duke, presented Jimmy Mathis for vote, and feelings of church congregation was heard. Bro. Jimmy Mathis began his ministry with us at the end of August 2004.
During this time, Bethel finds itself facing tribulation. The church struggles with hard times and personal heartaches among the congregation. As our church membership has fallen, the church still stands and strives to fulfill God’s calling to be a lighthouse to the community. The church accepts Bro. Jimmy Mathis’ resignation in May 2008.
It is decided by the members that the church needs to do some healing on the inside. The church decides not to elect a pulpit committee and ask the Deacon, Charles Kornagay, to keep the pulpit filled with supply pastors, until the church feels lead to call upon a Pastor. We will continue with full services, in which began in 1967, with supply pastors on Sunday mornings and the men of the congregation holding bible study and devotions on Sunday night and Wednesday night. Also, it is decided that a much needed task is be taken on by the men of the church and with the guidance of Bro. Charles Bennett, the original windows in the sanctuary, since 1901, will be repaired.
Each window, keeping the original size and style, is to be repaired one at a time until all are completed. Also, the old well house is no longer needed at the church and time has deteriorated its appearance and for the beautification of the church, the well house is torn down.
The church renovations are started, the church begins healing and feeling stronger, the congregation is coming together in unity, and agrees that in the four months of different supply pastors, Bro. R.D. Cline needed to be presented for a vote. A 100% in favor of calling Bro. R. D. Cline was voiced and Bro. R. D. Cline accepts and begins his ministry October 01, 2008.
As the many projects to renovate the church have been continued, the windows have been completely reworked; the floors to both the ladies and men’s rest rooms have been replaced.
There was also new floor covering in each of the rest rooms. New steps to the pulpit and a step down to the fellowship hall were also installed. New light fixtures were installed in the choir loft. The outside of the church has a new and fresher look with the painting of the shutter, with new floor covering on the landing of the porch. New light fixtures were added to the front porch. New landscaping with new crosses erected and also a much-needed new sign is in place.
Bro. Cline and Mrs. Hilda continued to lead Bethel. It was decided that we would start a steeple fund. After having singings and donations from other sources, Bro Cline suggested that we use some of the savings money to finish out the cost of the steeple. It was agreed upon and the steeple was erected in February 2011.
Bro. Cline resigned as pastor of Bethel Baptist Church on March 4, 2012, to enter into the Revive America Ministry. This was something the Lord led him to do and we wish him the best. His last sermon was preached at Bethel on March 24, 2012.
Once again Bethel is without a pastor. The men of the church took turns bringing the message at night, with different preachers filling in on Sunday mornings. We had: Bro Bill Monaghan, Bro. Al Griffin, Bro. Scott Johnson, Bro. Paul Patrick, Bro. John Ray Hamilton and Bro. Mike Tucker.
After several months of supply pastors, the church members voted to have Bro. John Ray Hamilton to serve as interim pastor. Bro. John Ray’s first sermon as interim pastor was August 12, 2012.
It was a glorious day, September 19, 2012, when Bro. John Ray Hamilton accepted the position of Pastor of Bethel Baptist Church. The Lord continues to bless Bethel as Bro. John Ray leads in the teachings and fellowship here. The members of Bethel Baptist Church are a group committed to the Lord and to each other.
The renovation of the sanctuary is almost complete with the painting of the walls, new curtains, new cornice boards, new cushions for all the pews, and the painting of all the pews. The replacement of the carpet is the next project the church will be working on. The carpet fund is growing and that project will be complete soon.
We have had a wonderful past at Bethel Baptist Church. We rejoice in the blessings of the past and we looked forward to what the future holds. God has seen fit to allow Bethel Baptist Church to stand for 135 years and for that we rejoice; nevertheless, we must continue to move ever forward in the name of Jesus Christ, endeavoring to be a lighthouse to the community, and to win lost souls to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
The local church is God’s plan to evangelize the word: therefore, we must do as the scripture says in Matthew, Chapter 28; Verses 19-20, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the of the world. Amen.”
This history was updated February, 2013