A “Brief” History of 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). Reverend Robert Gills was the supply pastor, with forty members and the following Deacon Board: Alfred B. Benjamin, Thomas Benjamin, Lee A. Kilgore and Lewis W. White. Services were held in the Masonic Lodge on Carver Street for six to eight months. Reverend Gills later became the first pastor, leading the congregation to acquire property and building the original Bethel “A” Baptist Church on the corner of Carver and Oakdale.
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. A large “pot-bellied” coal burning heater, located between the pulpit and the first pew, provided heat during the winter. Deacon Lee Kilgore, for as long as he was able, built the fire and started church service on Sunday mornings.
The women washed and ironed clothes to earn money that was applied toward the building fund. Deacons Tom and Alf Benjamin, who were carpenters by trade, used their connections with the lumberyard to acquire lumber at bargain prices. Deacon White, a cook by trade, also helped to raise money as did many others. The building of the church was a group effort as everybody pitched in as much time and money as they could.
- Reverend Gills served as pastor for two years (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).
First Significant Changes:
The first significant changes to the church building occurred in the early thirties, when the individual chairs in the congregation area were replaced with pews. Reverend M. L. Stewart, a preacher who lived in Brevard, assembled and installed the pews. Though he was never pastor of Bethel “A”, Reverend Stewart was instrumental in helping to keep the church going during some of the tough times.
When the original church bell developed a cracked and had to be replaced, a used bell was acquired from Brevard Baptist Church. The new bell was larger than the original, so that when it was installed, it caused the roof to lean. The supports had to be re-enforced. Also, about this time an indoor baptismal pool was installed in the basement of the church. Prior to the construction of the pool, baptism services were held in the lake at Transylvania Camp (now known as the Music Center), Bethel Baptist Church and an area near Keystone Camp.
Church activities during this era included Sunday services, auxiliary meetings such as the Missionary Circle, Young People’s Baptist Union, Prayer meetings and Revivals.
Etta Kilgore formed a youth choir called the Sunbeam Choir. At one point, Mable Sharp was the pianist. The Bethel “A” congregation also participated in the annual May Day meeting that rotated between French Broad, Davidson River and Glade Creek Baptist Churches of Pisgah Forest, North Carolina. Members from Bethel Baptist Church and Mills Chapel Baptist Church also participated in the day of worship and fellowship. When weather permitted, food prepared by the women of the various churches was served outside. It was spread out on benches, and everybody ate as much as they wanted, because there was always plenty. Both adults and children looked forward to this annual event with anticipation.
The Annual Easter Egg Hunt was another much anticipated activity for the children. The main site for the hunt was on Mount Surprise, a hill with steep sides. The children would remain below while the adults climbed the hill and hid the eggs. When signaled, the children would scurry up the hill, and the hunt was on. Sometimes the hunt would be held at an area near Keystone Camp and at an area near Siniard Lake.
Reverend L.C. Ivey’s tenure (1933 to 1953):
During Reverend L.C. Ivey’s tenure, the church experienced modest growth in several ways. A fellowship hall was constructed adjacent to the sanctuary, the church pulpit was refurbished, new seats for the deacons and the choir were purchased In 1952 the Second Sunday in each month was set aside for Junior Church.
Other changes included the selection of Deacon Arthur Hefner, Jr. as Treasurer and Deacon Quillie Glaze as assistant Chairman of the Deacon Board. Cornelius Hunt and V. B. Betsill were added to the Board of Trustees with Deacon Avery Benjamin, who was the only survivor of the original board. The church purchased its first mimeograph machine and a pulpit Bible. Baptist Training Union was implemented and evening service was established. The church also sponsored local Boy Scout Troop 10 during Reverend Ivey’s pastorate.
At a business meeting on December 5, 1941, John Norman and Cornelius Hunt were approved as Trial Deacons. In 1951, Deacon Arthur Hefner Sr. preached a trial sermon. In 1952, Deacon Jim Ferguson received approval, during a church meeting, to preach a trial sermon, and later received approval from the church to be licensed as a preacher. Reverend Ivey’s sixteenth anniversary was an interdenominational service with music provided by St. Luke’s Methodist Choir. Service was conducted by the Fire Baptized Holiness Church of Brevard, whose pastor Reverend Freeman
Dougherty preached the sermon.
From the church meeting minutes, it appears that the church roll grew to about 140, but the net growth among active members remained at about 45 – 55 over the twenty year period. The church was subdivided into the East Wing and the West Wing. Reverend D. C. Hall was put in charge of one wing, and Reverend J. H. Norman was placed in charge of the other. This move seemed to be beneficial during the few months after Reverend Ivey resigned when the church was without a pastor.
After many years, the church building started to deteriorate. A committee was established to raise the funds in an effort to tidy it up. Those selected to the committee were Sisters Hattie White, Lucendia Betsill, S. G. Benjamin, Mable E. Sharp, Beaulina Whiteside and Winona Whiteside.
Reverend Samuel A. Raper’s tenure (1953 – 1968):
A few months after Reverend Ivey left, Reverend Samuel A. Raper of Shelby, North Carolina was elected the ninth pastor at Bethel “A” Baptist Church by a vote of 27 for and 6 against. He took the job in April of 1953, at a salary of $45 per Sunday. His installation service was held in May 1953. Reverend Raper commuted from Shelby. He was an effective leader and a good preacher but is most notably mentioned as a teacher, social reformer and an activist against injustice. These characteristics became invaluable to the church and the community as his tenure extended through the turbulent sixties.
Reverend Raper inherited a congregation that had become slowful except for a faithful few and a church that had begun to deteriorate with age. But it did not take him long to make an impact. His early success can be summed up by this excerpt from a 1953 year-end missionary report: “This year our pastor came and began his ministry, giving new life to our church, opening new fields of service and reviving new interest among our members….(house to house visits) encouraged our slack members, and little by little everyone was given a job to do”. In his first church conference used Genesis 11:1-6 to emphasize his message, “Don’t get scattered, be sure of an understanding, speak one at a time and be on one accord.”
During Reverend Raper’s first year the choirs were re-organized. The senior choir would sing on first and second Sundays, and the junior choir would sing third and fourth Sunday. A committee was elected to collect money from each member for union and association dues. Candlelight communion service was instituted. Locks for doors and closets were installed to protect the communion set and other church property. Fifteen benches were installed in the balcony. A piano and wash basin were purchased for the annex. The pastor’s study was relocated and refurbished to make room for a choir stand. Robes were purchased for the Junior Choir. An oil burning stove was installed and the church bell was removed. The church hosted the State Sunday School Convention.
Reverend Raper encouraged fellowship among Christians. He visited the people of the community regardless of where they went to church. He established joint service each fifth Sunday with Saint Paul Baptist Church of Asheville, North Carolina and Rock Hill Baptist of Shiloh, North Carolina. He started pulpit exchanges where two pastors would preach at each other’s church on a given day of service. The church supported Pastor Raper’s attendance at various association, state and national meetings. In August of 1962, he preached about tithing at the Lott Carrie Convention in Washington. The sermon brought widespread recognition to him and to Bethel “A” for fine work that the church was doing.
During Reverend Raper’s tenure, the Y.M.A. was organized and drew an inspiring interest of the young people. He encouraged parents to guide their children and train them to be leaders for tomorrow. Throughout his pastorate, he emphasized citizenship, integration and education. He challenged young people to be somebody by demanding that they achieve academically. Many responded by pursuing post high school education. In 1963, the church sent financial support to the Baptist Training Union at North Carolina A&T College where some of the local students were attending. On occasion the church sent contributions of $50 to $100 to the Oxford Orphanage in Oxford, North Carolina. Vacation Bible School was started and young adults were trained for field missionary work. Alice Glaze was one of the first superintendents. Reverend Raper was openly committed to helping young people.
Under Reverend Raper’s leadership sellings and rallies, as a method to fund church activities, were discouraged. Instead, he recommended, encouraged and preached that the church should be funded with tithes and offerings. Once the congregation caught on and started tithing, the church became more prosperous. In less than a year after he arrived, the congregation, led by Deacon Board Chairman, Avery Benjamin, approved and established a fund to replace the aging building with a new church. Each member was asked to pay $25 a year.
The congregation responded and some outside donations were received. On March 8, 1954, a savings account was opened at the Brevard Federal Loan Association with a deposit of $1000.
At a church meeting on February 27, 1957, trustees Ulysses Wynn, Eddie T. Moss and Cornelius Hunt were permitted to apply to the Brevard Federal Savings and Loan Association for enough money to complete the project. 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. With $13,000 in the bank the construction of the new church began. Pastor Raper stayed in Brevard during the time the church was being constructed. In July of 1957, when Deacon Avery Benjamin passed away, his wife Synetha, was named treasurer of the church.
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 Reverend Raper’s leadership 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. Some students even went out of state to live with relative to attend high school. Reverend Raper encouraged continued support of the Transylvania Citizens Improvement Organization which was the plaintiff in the lawsuit. He continued to teach about citizenship and the responsibility that comes with it.
In January of 1962 at the monthly church conference, Reverend Raper announced his resignation. He agreed to stay through March to give the congregation time enough to conduct a search for a new pastor. In the March conference he offered to withdraw his resignation and vowed that if the church would support him he would continue to work as hard as or better than in the past.
The church had not found a new pastor at this time so it was agreed by majority vote to support Reverend Raper and his pastorate continued. His salary was increased to $75 per Sunday.
Also in early 1960 the Bible Training Institute was established. It was a teaching ministry that usually ran about two weeks each summer. When pastor Raper was in Brevard he stayed with sister Hattie A. White. In 1964 when Sister White became ill, Sister Rose Wilkes volunteered her home. In 1966, the members decided that the church needed and could afford to build a parsonage. So another successful venture initiated. The parsonage was built at 37 Carver Street at a cost of $25,000. Reverend Raper never lived in it.
When Reverend Raper resigned in March of 1968, the congregation could look back and be inspired by the sixteen years of blessings under his leadership. Under his leadership the active membership had significantly increased, a new building and parsonage had been built, the annual budget was $17,000, bills were paid up, and there were $6000 in savings.
Reverend Florence H. Goldsmith’s tenure (1968 – 1992):
On September 4, 1968, Reverend Florence H. Goldsmith of Simpsonville, South Carolina, became the tenth pastor of Bethel “A.” He, his wife, Minnie and their family were the first to inhabit the new parsonage. Reverend Goldsmith, a good leader and a very good teacher, broadened the outreach of the ministry. He recognized the need for the church to be more than a Sunday meeting place. He realized that the church had influence that could be used to make the community better which would help the people make a better church. Reverend Goldsmith’s strong interest in helping people became apparent as he encouraged self-improvement among the congregation and throughout the community. He even returned to school himself and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Shaw Divinity School.
- In 1968, the church decided to replace the clear glass windows with stained glass.
- The Pastors Aid Club was established,
- A phone was installed in the pastor’s study.
- The church library was opened and run by Vicky and Nicholas Johnston.
- Deacon Roy Robinson was added to the Board of Trustees.
- Ulysses Wynn was appointed chairman the Board of Trustees.
In early 1969, the Benevolent Fund was established to help the sick and needy.
- Sister Rose Wilkes contacted Mrs. Dorothy Bjurg about renting some property for recreational activities for the young people of the community.
- Mrs. Bjurg had donated a gift of $4800 to the Bethel “A” Baptist Church for a playground. Her request was that it be named Silversteen Memorial Playground, in memory of her late father, Joseph Silversteen.
In 1970 the church decided to provide a life insurance policy for the pastor.
- A College Scholarship Loan Fund was established to assist young men and women who were working toward college degrees.
- The church agreed to sponsor a low-income housing project.
In 1971 the housing project got underway with the acquisition of some land 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.
- The church approved a plan to set up a business office in the church and to acquire a secretary to run the office.
- The youth choir, accompanied by Joan Mills Scott (Organist) and Curtis Gardin (Pianist) was featured in a concert held in Mount Holly, North Carolina.
- The Sunday School picnic was held in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
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 was built at a cost of $204,000. The old building was maintained as an education and fellowship hall.
- Ethnic Awareness programs were held commemorating the contribution of Black Americans to the development of the nation.
- The Ethel K. Mills Award was established to recognize individuals who had exhibited outstanding community service.
- A mission program was set up to routinely collect and send clothing, tools, salt and money to Uganda.
- A Christian Education Committee was established with the following directors:
- Camilla Moore – Vacation Bible School and children;
- Justine Conley – Youths;
- Tommy Kilgore – Young Adults;
- Connie Nash – Missions;
- Selena Robinson – Ushers;
- Ruth Johnstone, Beaulina Whiteside and Cornelius Hunt – Public Relations.
- The Helping Hand ministry was established to help people in need
- The Summer Day Camp was established to provide a fun and nurturing environment for children of working parents, so that they were not left unattended during summer vacations away from school.
- The men of the church established an annual retreat in a camp-like setting where they met to fellowship and study the Bible together. Reverend Frederick Gordon was the teacher.
- In the latter part of his tenure, Reverend Goldsmith led the movement to dissolve the Deacon Board. This was not a popular decision with everyone. Although very few people disagreed with the concept, the change was difficult for many to accept. However, with earnest prayer from both sides of the issue, the church continued to move.
In 1992, Reverend Goldsmith resigned and moved back to Simpsonville after leading the church through significant efforts that helped shape the community.
For several months after the resignation of Reverend Goldsmith, the church operated without a pastor.
During this time, a variety of ministers were utilized to bring the Sunday message.
Reverend Frederick L. Gordon’s tenure (1992-2014):
In the fall of 1992, Reverend Frederick L. Gordon became the eleventh pastor.
Reverend Gordon was born in Brevard, North Carolina, where he ultimately spent most of his life. He became a Christian at the age of fourteen. At sixteen he worked as a volunteer for the Southern Baptist State Convention of North Carolina in their Summer Missionary program. After graduating from Brevard High School, he majored in psychology at Western Carolina University. He accepted the call to preach the gospel at the age of nineteen, while a freshman in college and spent his summers conducting Vacation Bible Schools in Black Baptist Churches throughout Western North Carolina. He attended Shaw Divinity School while serving in his first pastorate. He graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Theology degree. The young pastor preached his trial sermon and was ordained to preach in November 1970 during the pastorate of Reverend
Reverend Gordon served part-time as Associate Pastor of Bethel “A” Baptist Church in Brevard, North Carolina, for nine years (1965-1974). He was responsible for the Music and Education Ministry. A gifted preacher and teacher, Reverend Gordon was conscious of the social and political environment and the impact it had on his congregation. He brought a “contagiously” enthusiastic approach to the ministry. He was noted for his love for young people and his emphasis on unity within the church and the community.
In those early years of service, he married the former Frankie L. Lewis of Waynesboro, GA on December 24, 1972. During this marriage, they parented five children, one biological child (Franklin Gordon) and four adopted children (Renee Badger, Shawn Gordon, Lindsey Gordon, and Lewis Gordon), as well as four foster children. He, his wife Frankie and their five children quickly settled into the Brevard community.
Under Reverend Gordon, most of the existing outreach ministries of Reverend Goldsmith continued, though some were restructured. During his first year, 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. The supplies are delivered by a delegation of members from the participating churches, who then spend the better part of a week helping with the school and witnessing to the people.
Our church experienced spiritual growth due to Reverend Gordon’s teaching and preaching, and it became a ministry-driven church with an ever-increasing Children’s Ministry. The church became involved in the development of a youth billiards center called “Our Place.” The mission of the facility, which was directed by Marion “Mal” Crite, was to provide an alternative to hanging out on the corner. It offered activities for spiritual development. The building across the street from the Fellowship Hall was leased from Sister Winona Whiteside, and donations were gathered for building improvements.
Serving as pastor of Bethel “A” Baptist Church, Reverend Gordon led the church in the organization of an outreach ministry named Neighbors In Ministries. This ministry is a non-profit organization, which 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.
The church, whose reputation reached far beyond Brevard, provided a base for social activism. In 1993, the church hosted a community workshop on “Racism: Everybody’s Problem,” which was sponsored by the Peace Fellowship of Transylvania County. The Sojourner’s study guide on white racism, “American’s Original Sin,” was used as the text. Pastor Gordon and Reverend Lynn Blankenship, a minister from First United Methodist Church of Brevard, served as host and hostess. Different speakers were brought in to present segments of the text, and then the interracial congregation broke out into groups for further processing and discussion of the lesson. At the end of the workshop, many of the participants made commitments to refrain from practicing racism and to help others recognize the pain it causes.
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.
For the first time under Reverend Gordon’s leadership, Bethel “A” was blessed to have preachers other than the pastor helping to spread the Word and serve the church. Victor Foster, Sr. and Marion Crite were called to preach. Also, Reverend Larry Davis joined the congregation. Shawntez Burroughs, a student at Schenck Job Corp Center, was called to preach and served until he left for Alabama to pursue a degree in Forestry.
Jonalyn Crite, Frankie Gordon, Lamar Gordon, Tami Forte Moss (Tami Forte Logan), Gwendolyn Jones, Spencer Jones, Ruth Peters, and Sharad Creasman were all called to preach. Eleven persons accepted the call to preach under Reverend Gordon’s Pastorate.
During this period, repairs were made to the Fellowship Hall, office equipment was upgraded with a new printer and access to a personal computer, and the sound system was upgraded. A joint Wednesday night Prayer and Worship service with Bethel and Glade Creek Baptist Churches was instituted. Each church took turns as the monthly host of the service. A Radio Ministry carried by the local radio station WPNF broadcasted the Sunday morning services to the sick and shut-ins.
Reverend Gordon was very resourceful in attaining funds to extend the Summer Day Camp Program to include after school hours during the school terms. He also promoted a sense of community among the churches. He supported and participated in other important personal development and community building efforts. He served on the planning team for the TranSTAR (Students Teach and Reach) program, as well as many other boards and committees.
The aforementioned Rise & Shine After School Program was an impactful project that continues today. Pastor Gordon’s vision grew into a far-reaching effort that included volunteers from many Brevard churches as well as two community teams, all of which committed to on-going tutoring, mentoring, and just generally encouraging scholars from the Bethel “A” area and beyond. Few programs have awakened the citizens of this town to the importance of fighting racism and inequality more than Rise & Shine. Pastor Gordon inspired Fay Walker to devote much of her retirement time to developing financial and organizational support for this endeavor.
The devoted and hardworking staff has widened the world of hundreds of children over the years, and the dedication of Tami Forte Logan (formerly Moss) and Lamar Gordon led to a program with a statewide reputation for innovation and achievement. Scholars traveled to Atlanta, Charlotte, and Washington, DC, to learn more about African-American achievements, and they also have had their hometown horizons broadened through theater attendance, ballet performances, art exhibits and dozens of guest speakers and performances. To this day, Bethel “A” Baptist Church and Rise & Shine are often cited by area citizens and groups as an example of the power of investing in our children. The current staff, board, and volunteers carry on the effort to broaden the world of Rise & Shine scholars and to help them reach ever higher academically, socially, and personally.
Reverend Gordon led the church into an intense community outreach ministry which included a church-wide emphasis to evangelize our children through the development of the following ministries:
- Bus Stop: An early morning program for school age children to gather.
- Study Hall: An after-school program for Middle School and High School students.
- Fish and Loaves: A ministry that fed any and all people four days a week.
- “Take It To The Street”: A ministry of street and park evangelism.
- Golden Circle: A ministry to those of 55 years and older.
He also led the church in adopting and supporting mission work in Jamaica, and he led the church in sending and sponsoring a husband and wife missionary team to Jamaica for one year.
The church was looking toward the future with emphasis on outreach ministry, Bible study, and personal commitment, all geared toward helping people and lifting up the name of the Lord so that the opportunity for Salvation could be shared with all who would listen. These were the continuing goals for the innovative and devoted pastor. The once fourteen year old Christian boy had become an ever-growing and ever-learning man of God.
That man left those goals for us to carry on. Reverend Fredrick L. Gordon made his transition from this world into the Eternal on Sunday, May 4, 2014, at his home in Brevard.
Reverend George Larry Davis’s tenure (2016 – 2020):
Reverend George Larry Davis is the son of Mrs. Audrey S. Davis and the late Mr. Marion Davis. He is one of five children. Reverend Davis is married to Mrs. Loretta Young Davis, and they are the proud parents of four children and the proud grandparents of nine grandchildren.
Reverend Davis was saved at the age of 19. After answering the call of God at the age of 20, Reverend Davis was licensed to preach the Gospel by Reverend Clark Wynn and the Mud Creek Missionary Baptist Church.
From 1978 to 1990, Reverend Davis followed God’s calling and served as the Pastor of St. John Baptist Church in Fletcher, NC. After leaving St. John, Reverend Davis became a member and Associate Pastor of Bethel “A” Baptist Church. He served in this position until the death of Pastor Frederick Gordon in May of 2014.
Bethel “A” then called on Reverend Davis to become Interim Pastor while the church went through the process of looking for and interviewing candidates for the office of Pastor. Reverend Davis called on Reverend T. Richard Pea, former Moderator of the Mud Creek Missionary Baptist Association, to advise the church on the direction it should take in filling this office. A pulpit search committee was formed.
Those who served on this committee were Mrs. Ella Jones, Minister B. Ruth Peters, Mr. Tommy Williamson, and Mr. Fred Bahnson. Later on Mrs. Angie Whiteside and Mrs. Altha Gordon were added to the committee. There were several candidates interviewed for this position. After much prayer, the church voted to offer the position to Reverend Davis, and on August 16, 2016, he was installed as the Pastor of Bethel “A” Baptist Church.
Pastor Davis came to us with a Bachelor of Religion Degree from Mid-Atlantic Bible College and an Associate’s Degree from Fruitland Bible Institute. He also has several Certificates of Completion of different studies from Dallas Theological Seminary and South Eastern Theological Seminary.
A congregation member raised the issue of having deacons in the church. Reverend Davis began a series of trainings for the church on the office of deacons on Sunday evenings. He had Deacon Amanda Eddings come in and do a two-day training on the office and expectations of what a deacon is to the church. Reverend T. Richard Pea also taught several sessions on the expectations and duties of a deacon.
In 2017 the church voted to have three deacons. Those selected were Mrs. Ella Jones, Mrs. Altha Gordon, and Mr. Lewis Whiteside, Jr. They were installed by Pastor Davis in 2017. Later, with the recommendation of Pastor Davis, a fourth deacon was voted on, and in 2018 Mr. Tyrone Gordon was installed into the office of Deacon.
Over the course of Pastor Davis’s ministry, he has had the opportunity to minister to people of different ages, backgrounds, and races. He addresses each situation with Biblical principles. Pastor Davis encourages members that no matter what the situation looks like, our God is more than able to sustain us, and we should trust and believe that the Lord will keep us moving forward.
To ensure that the saints are equipped for life’s challenges and piggybacking on what Pastor Gordon began, Biblical instruction is available seven days a week through daily scriptures, Sunday School.
Wednesday Night Bible Study, and Sunday Morning and Evening Worship Services. Also, there is Thursday evening teacher training and monthly deacon training. If a member is unable to attend church, the weekly scriptures and Sunday morning sermons are available on Bethel “A” Baptist’s website and Facebook page.
Seeing the need, Pastor Davis began teaching a new Wednesday Night Beginners’ Bible Study Class for adults. He also began a new convert class on Mondays that was taught by Deacon Tyrone Gordon. He has since taken over teaching that class.
Pastor Davis serves as a member of the Executive Board and Ordination Council of the Mud Creek Missionary Baptist Association. He is the head of the Nomination Committee and serves on the Christian Education Committee.
During his tenure, the church voted to put a new roof on the sanctuary as it was leaking down the walls and the parsonage was damaged during a hail storm. A loan was taken out to repair damages that were not covered by insurance using the parsonage as collateral. In 2016 the church voted to sell the parsonage. At the completion of the sale in 2018, the loan was paid off. The Fellowship Hall was renovated. New windows were installed, the ceiling was lowered, air conditioning was installed throughout the building as well as new lighting. The walls throughout the building and the breezeway were painted.
As improvement continued, new wood tile flooring was installed. New handrails were installed for the classrooms upstairs as well as the back hallways. The tutors from NIM/Rise & Shine After School Program raised money, and new carpet was installed in the upstairs classrooms and in the hallway leading into the Fellowship Hall. The choir loft was renovated and extended because of concerns for the safety of those who used it. New carpet and hand rails were installed and new chairs were purchased. New carpet was installed in the sanctuary, as well as a new sound system.
In 2019 Pastor Davis shut down and reorganized the Hospitality Ministry. Those who serve in this ministry will choose a month they wish to serve. That person will then prepare food for all occasions within that month. This includes Wednesday nights, Fifth Sunday fellowship meals, Funerals, and other events. There is no one person in charge of this ministry except for that person whose month it is. That person chooses their team to assist them. Everyone reports to the Pastor. They are to turn in a monthly report as to how
many persons are served within their month. Also, in 2015 Pastor Davis started the Bethel “A” Family Christmas Dinner.
Pastor Davis believes wholeheartedly in Romans 8:28 that says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” He finds the greatest joy in seeing souls saved and lives transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. New souls added to the church through baptism are Travon Whitmire, Avonta Jones, Jordan and Nichelle Stanton, Diamond Sharp Sanders. He also baptized his two grandsons, Isiah and Gabriel O’Hannon, all because of God’s Grace.
We thank God for Pastor Davis’s humble, committed, and faithful leadership for these last five years that he has led the members of Bethel “A” Baptist Church. To God Be the Glory.