Bethlehem Baptist Church
One fine spring day in May of 1879, a small band of twenty-eight people decided to organize a church, a place of worship, which would be called Bethlehem. They purchased a parcel of land on the corner of Fraser Street in a beloved community called Summerhill. They began to grow and by May of 1910, additional land in the area was purchased to allow for expansion. Two ministers, Rev. Hall and Rev. Smith served the congregation from 1879 to 1911.
Rev. Paul Scruggs began to serve as Pastor in 1912 and remained the leader until 1921. During his tenure, a Senior Choir was organized and they began to hold two services, Sunday School in the morning and church service at night. In 1922, Rev. Thompson was chosen as Pastor and they began to hold two worship services each Sunday. One in the morning and another at night. He also organized the Junior Choir to sing in the morning and his daughter, Roberta Smith would be come the organist for the choir, while the Senior Choir sang the the evening service.
Rev. William Jackson was elected Pastor in 1935 and served for thirty-five years. Bethlehem was very progressive under his leadership. The Jackson Chorus, the Baptist Young People’s Union, Deaconess Board, Mother’s Board, Courtesy Guild, Ward System, Matrons, Rosebud Club, Missionary Society and additional usher boards were formed. Most of these ministries are still in place today. More property was purchased in 1942 and 1949 as well as securing funds for the church to be remodeled. Rev. Jackson served until his death in 1970, and his son, Rev. Roswell Jackson led the congregation until Rev. William Boyd became Pastor in 1971. In 1972, Bethlehem relocated to our present location on Hogan Road and held the first service in November of that year. Six months later, on May 28, 1973, a tornado struck the church causing great damage to the building. Deacon Frank Powell, the church custodian was asleep in the basement but survived the storm. The congregation returned to the Fraser Street edifice until the repairs were completed in early 1974.
Rev. Carl Moncrieff, Sr., from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was installed as the Pastor on October 17, 1977. His dynamic preaching inspired the congregation and he readily became engaged in developing and implementing administrative processes and strategies that would support the continued growth of the ministry as well as meet the needs of the congregants. The Stewardship, Scholarship, Orientation, Nominating and Budget Planning Committee were derived from those plans. The mortgage was retired, the edifice beautified, an elevator was installed, a mini-bus purchased and many other goals have been reached under his leadership of 38 years. He has also accomplished many personal goals including earning a Doctorate in Theology.
All praise to God for His faithfulness, grace, mercy and love throughout the years.