Our Church History
Bethlehem Baptist Church began in the year 1885 with nineteen (19) members who met in the home of Mr. and Mrs. James Fillman of Sumneytown Pike, near Spring House, Pennsylvania. These members were Brothers James Fillman, Philip Woods, Benjamin Knox, John Gordon, Franklin Smith, Joseph Cooper, Alex Thomas, Robert Wingfield, Samuel Dean, Henry Askins, Cornelius Hopson, James Fillman, Jr., and Sidney Campbell as well as Sisters Mary Fillman, Jane Gordon, Mattie Cooper, Anita Jones, Lucinda Jones, and Sister Rosie Knox as treasurer.
The History of BBC from 1905 thru 1908
The church and the community continued to prosper and grow. On February 5, 1905, a special meeting was held and the church voted unanimously to start the new church. Construction began in the spring, and on the third Sunday of October 1906, dedication services were held and continued until Wednesday evening. On Friday night, October 22, 1906, a disaster occurred; the church burned down. The origin of the fire was never determined.
In November of 1907 the old building was torn down and the stone was readied for removal to the new site. The new church was started in March 1908. Work progressed well on the new building and the cornerstone was laid in September of 1908, less than two years since the fiery loss. The church continued to grow over the years and became a vital part of the community.
The History of BBC from 1934 thru 1962
In January 1934, after forty-three (43) years of service, the first pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Reverend Dr. Caesar A. Edwards, passed away. In September 1935, the Reverend Guy Goodwin McGee of Tappahannock, Virginia was called to the Pastorate; bringing with him his wife, Grace, and four children: Guy, Jr., Portia, Hubert, and Grace. Reverend McGee’s service included organizing various outreach clubs and supporting those members who had family in the World War. It also included installing a four speaker audio system as well as having the roof raised and the support beams encased in wood as seen today in the sanctuary. In November 1955, Reverend Guy Goodwin McGee passed away.
In May 1958, Reverend Leonard Leland Smalls became the third pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church. He brought with him his wife Edna and son Timothy. Later, a daughter Linda was born. With the same spirit as the previous pastors, Reverend Smalls was greatly involved in the church and the community.