A Brief Historical Overview of Bethesda Christian Fellowship
In 1937, a small prayer band was organized under the leadership of the late Reverend Joseph S. Heyward. On October 27, 1937, Saint Joseph Baptist Church was born. The Old Ashley Baptist Association provided ministers to serve that day on its Recognition Council. To this council’s inquiry concerning “the grounds on which the church was organized,” the Clerk read: “This church is being organized for the sake of peace and harmony toward all mankind.”
This young fellowship worked hard spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ and building a house of worship. With the favor of God among men, much was accomplished in the first few years. Several auxiliary ministries were organized. The first Pastor, Board of Deacons and Congregation set an impressive benchmark of excellence and hard work. The names and length of service of our Pastors are:
- The Reverend Joseph S. Heyward – October 1937 through 1942
The Reverend R.H. McDonald – September 1942 through April 1959
The Reverend Mark E. Sharpe – 1960 to 1963
The Reverend Blanton Black – 1963 to 1965
The Reverend Nathaniel Smalls – 1967 to 1974
- Pastor Kenneth C. Doe – August 1975 to present
After noticing that our current physical plant was seriously challenged because of numerical growth, in 1995 we embraced, in concept, a multi-phased master building plan. In October 1999, the Lord caused us to dedicate and occupy Phase 1, a worship center and administrative offices.
At this time, we began transitioning to the new name given to us by our Lord – Bethesda. So, the new building was called Bethesda Temple of Saint Joseph Baptist Church. In December 2006, this church family obeyed the voice of the Lord and formally embraced the name – Bethesda Christian Fellowship.
- BETHESDA – that name which embodied and describes our Lord’s plan to move mightily among us;
CHRISTIAN – that it shall be crystal clear that we are Christian only, having no measure of mixture of any other beliefs / faiths / religions;
FELLOWSHIP – the nature of Christian community; a branch of God’s Kingdom which agrees to consolidate for mutual edification and accountability.
Currently, our facilities remain the same. Our means of governance remains the same. Our association with local churches remains the same. We are open to fellowship with others. We are open to learn from others and to have others learn from us. Our reliance on the Holy Bible as the Authority in all matters of faith and conduct remains the same. Our History remains the same, having been organized in October 1937.
From time through eternity, we remain grateful to our one true God, Yahweh, who offers salvation through the blood and in the name of Jesus Christ only, and empowerment through the Holy Spirit. We constantly seek to know, understand, and make known our Lord’s VISION for this house, and participate in His plan, while Pursuing Holiness and Walking in Excellence.