About Bethel “A” Baptist Church
… and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
On July 14, 1919, more than nine decades ago, the Bethel “A” Baptist Church was established as an offspring of Bethel Baptist Church (the first black church in Brevard).
The first structure was a frame building constructed at a cost of $5,000.00 with money raised from donations, rallies and other fund raisers. The building of the church was a group effort as everybody pitched in as much time and money as they could.
In the early thirties, the individual chairs in the congregation area were replaced with pews. Also, about this time an indoor baptismal pool was installed in the basement of the church. Prior to that baptism services were held in the lake at Transylvania Camp (now known as the Music Center).
During Reverend L.C. Ivey’s tenure (1933 to 1953), the church experienced modest growth in several ways. Later in the 1940s’ to 1950s’ a fellowship hall was constructed adjacent to the sanctuary, the church pulpit was refurbished, new seats for the deacons and the choir were purchased.
Under Reverend Samuel A. Raper’s tenure (1953 – 1968) the congregation approved and established a fund to replace the aging building with a new church. In August 1957, the church furniture was moved to the Mary C. Jenkins Community Center where services were held while the new building was being constructed.
On June 1, 1958, the first service was held in the new church building, a brick structure with an auditorium capacity of 300 people and a balcony capacity of 100. It was equipped with 9 Sunday school rooms, a pastor’s study, a ladies lounge, a church office, a kitchen, a fellowship hall, ladies and men restrooms and a baptismal pool.
In the early 1960’s under Reverend Raper’s leadership Bethel “A” was instrumental in the successful lawsuit against the Transylvania County School Board calling for integration of the local public schools and ending the busing of high school students to Hendersonville.
In 1966 the members decided that the church needed and could afford to build a parsonage. The parsonage was built at 37 Carver Street.
In 1968, the church decided to replace the clear glass windows with stained glass.
Mrs. Dorothy Bjurg had donated a gift of $4800 to the Bethel “A” Baptist Church for a playground it was named Silversteen Memorial Playground, in memory of her late father, Joseph Silversteen.
In 1971 the church sponsored a low-income housing project. Land was acquired on which 27 houses were built and sold to low income families. This new housing development was named Mickey Park in memory Milton “Mickey” Goldsmith, Pastor Goldsmith’s son who was killed in the Vietnam War.
Also in the 1970s’ the church set up a business office and acquired a church secretary.
In 1976 the decision was made to build a new sanctuary.
In 1978 the property behind the church was purchased and ground was broken on February 26.
In 1979, on March 4, the first service was held in the new sanctuary. The A-Frame style building that joined to the old building by a breeze way. The old building was maintained as an education and fellowship hall.
In 1992, with Reverend Frederick L. Gordon Serving as pastor of Bethel “A” Baptist Church the church became involved in the Jamaican Mission which supports the ministry of Reverend George Coors of Jamaica. Bethel “A” and several other churches provide an annual shipment of educational supplies to support the building and maintenance of a school facility. This program continues today as part of Reverend Gordon’s legacy.
Reverend Gordon also led the church to create an organization of an outreach ministry named Neighbors In Ministries. This ministry presently operates the Rise & Shine After-school Program, for children of minority families; a nine-week full day Summer Camp, which enrolls 50 low-income children; and an anti-racism program named Damascus Road.
When the Brevard High School Black students protested the firing of Marion Crite as Home-School Coordinator and the campus’s social and race relations advisor, Bethel “A” became the primary meeting place for a Community Task Force on Education. The task force, led by the Transylvania Citizens Improvement Organization’s President Rodney Locks worked with the students to clarify and coordinate their demands and presented them to the local school board on their behalf.
Reverend Gills (1919 to 1921).
Reverend A.B. Roberts (1921 to 1924)
Reverend M.C. Rice
Reverend W.H. Miller
Reverend W. Cross
Reverend A.B. Burke
Reverend D.C. Hall, (1932 to 1933)
Reverend L.C. Ivey (1933 to 1953)
Reverend S. A. Raper (1953 -1968)
Reverend F.H. Goldsmith (1968 – 1992)
Reverend F.L. Gordon (1992-2014)
Reverend L. Davis (2014 – 2020)
Reverend Dr. Pamela C. Holder (2021 – Present).