Our Story

It all started June 9, 1821, when 13 members withdrew from Buckeye Baptist Church to establish a new church. July 14, 1821 was the first meeting for Bethlehem Baptist Church. It is the second oldest baptist church in Laurens County with a continuous ministry.

Bethlehem Baptist church also has a complete and detailed history. After using the offering for August 1821 to purchase a book to record the church's finances, another book was purchased for the church minutes. Geroge W. Daniel was the first church clerk. He began a legacy of facts and information geneologists have referred to many times to trace their roots.

The church was deeded three acres of land at Holmes Crossroads for a new church building. Solomon Williams gave this land on July 21, 1832, so the church would be in a central location for the community. The church structure was made of round logs hewn down inside and a ceiling of boards. THe timber cost $69. Williams said as long as the structure was used as a place of worship, the timber could be cut from his land to repair it.

The little church at the crossroads as it came to be called, grew slowly; but ministered consitently. In fact, in 1836, the Rev. David Daniel organized the first Sunday School in the area. It only included children initially, but soon the adults also had classes.

On March 12, 1892, the church held its first prayer meeting. The first Women's Missionary Society was organized on November 20, 1887 with seven members. This was the first in the state! A new church building was dedicated May 20, 1920. Since this time, the church has been remodeled and expanded several times. In 1960, another wing was constructed to provide four additional classrooms, two nursery rooms, a restroom, and a social hall with two restrooms. A dedication for this new additon was held on July 4, 1976.

In 1986, a gym was built to be used as an activity center for our youth and other members of Bethlehem in a growing and working church. We are laborers together with God.

In 2001, the church voted to build a new sanctuary building with additional classrooms and baths. Early in the year of 2002, construction actually began on this new facility. The Sunday before Thanksgiving, 2002 the church held its first worship service in the new facility with a Baptism of four new believers in the new Baptistry under the background of a beautiful Muriel of the Jordan River Scene, painted by our own Bro. Tollie Smith.

In October 2003, the church renovated the Children's Church area to be more like a church Sanctuary. On October 10, of that same year the old church building was torn down to make way for additional parking.

December 18, 2003 the church paid off the note of $159,000 on the new building. This new building was paid off in eleven months, which was almost unbelievable! The church held a note burning ceremony on January 18, 2004 at 3:00 P.M., with a fellowship following. This was one year from the Building Dedication, which was held on January 17, 2003 at 3:00 P.M. Both of these occasions were a time of celebrating and giving our Great God the glory.

The Spirit of God continues to be present and working at Bethlehem Baptist today. Come and join Him!