“A Fellowship Of Believers”
History is the “branch of knowledge that records and explains past events.”
Bethlehem Baptist Church is located two and a half miles North of Locust Grove, Georgia. The Church was organized by a band of Christian Workers in 1875. The first Church building was a “Brush Harbor”, it was called Lizard Loap. After a few years, the members secured the present site of the church. The land was given by Mr. William Amis, with these words “for church and school”. Under the leadership of Rev. W.H. G. Bivens, a new church was erected. At that time the Board of Deacons were Deacons John Amis, A. J. Bivins, and Lee Moore. They selected the name “Bethlehem”. This name was sent to Mrs. Parthemia Weems, a teacher, requesting that she make the final decision. She agreed with the board on their suggested name. The building of a new church was done during the years when the economic life of the people was quite different from life in the space age years. During all these difficulties, these Christian people remained faithful. In 1938 the church was destroyed by fire. This was a test for the members, but they had a mind to work, more land was bought and a new church was constructed. The church has progressed under the following Pastors: Reverends Floyd, Ned Edwards, Hilliard Elliot, Joe McCary, Kary Strickland, Hawkins, W. Harrall, H.T.L. Alexander, Jack Williams, Emmitt Johnson, H.L. Robins, N.T. Walker (under which the first church was burned and erected). R.H. Milner, G.W. Jordan, W.M. Maynard, J.T. Woods, J.A. Couch, F.E. Fuller, Jr., B. Blount, E.B. Walker, Michael Price, B.T. Moore, Carl Z. Liggins, Sr. and Darryl Gause served ten months as Interim Pastor until Reverend L.D. Wilson was called on July 31, 2009 to be our Pastor.
The second Board of Deacons were: G.W. Bradley, A.J. Bivins, Andrew Solomon, John Amis, T.S. Watkins, A.J. Higgins, and O.R. Barnes. The bodies of these faithful Deacons have long been laid to rest.
Deacon Roscoe Simmons was added to the Ministry. In 1995, Brother L.C. Goodman was ordained. In May 1998, Brothers Calvin Sims, Sr., Adolphus Maddox and Eddie Solomon were ordained. In 2005, Deacon Austin Jinks was added to the Ministry; later Deacon James Dulaney was also added to the Ministry
Our present Board of Deacon’s are: Deacons, Will Foster, L.C. Goodman, Austin Jinks, Roger Laster, Walter Lawrence, Adolphus Maddox, Calvin Sims, Eddie Solomon, Thomas Solomon, Jr. August 2022 Brothers Jerome Johnson, Thomas Spencer and Pete White was added to the Deacon’s Ministry.
Among the accomplishments of Bethlehem: Reverends Semond Maddox, Theodore Glover, Frank Usher, S.J. Clark, Curtis Phelps, and M.M. Solomon. Others ordained were Reverends Donald Watkins, John Dewberry, Johnny L. White, Bridgette Davis, Curtis Barber, Rodney West, Keith Goodman, Yulander Davis Williams and Larry Solomon. Harriett Jones was licensed under the leadership of Reverend Carl Liggins, Sr.; Reverend Al Laster and Reverend James Allen were added to the Ministerial Ministry under the leadership of Pastor Wilson.
Sister Lena Amis (deceased) served as Church Clerk for 33 years, Sis. Doris Watkins (deceased) served until 1972, and Sister Alberta Sims served from 1973-2004. The following also served as Church Secretaries, Sisters Jackie Maddox, Tracey Allen, Joyce Dulaney, Brianna Stalls, Sister Sharron Henry, our current secretary is Sister Kelli Degraffenreid.
The first church was constituted in 1875 under the leadership of these Pastors, Deacons, and faithful members. Progress has gone forward materially, spiritually, and financially toward the up building of the church. The frame is now a beautiful brick building. Across the street is a modern dining area and Sunday school rooms.
Our present Ministries are: Deacons, Mother’s, Mass Choir, Male Chorus, Youth Choir, Nurse’s Guild, Senior, Youth, and Male Ushers, Finance Committee, Hospitality, Women, Van, Dance, Media, Youth and Layman Ministries.
Prayer service and Bible Study are held every Tuesday night. Under the leadership of Pastor L. D. Wilson, the following Ministries were implemented: Advisory Board, Single, Marriage, Family, Drama and Evangelism Ministries.