Bethel Primitive Baptist Church

Bethel Primitive Baptist Church.  As we search the minds of the aged and the interested, we find that the Bethel Primitive Baptist Church was no doubt founded before the Pilgrim Rest Primitive Baptist Association. Reason being, its first two pastors, Elder Wash Daniel and his brother, Elder Green Daniel, was among the founders of Pilgrim Rest. We must assume that they came from Bethel Primitive Baptist Church (reference Pilgrim Rest Primitive Baptist Association’s History). We have noted Shiloh Primitive Baptist Church as being the “Mother Church” of Pilgrim Rest; thereby, it is reasonable to assume that there must have been a “Father Church,” which Bethel can rightfully claim this position.

To the best of our abilities, we find that the following information is as accurate as possible concerning the formation and foundation of the Bethel Primitive Baptist Church. Bethel’s nearest and earliest records indicate its origin to be older than the association. Bethel’s first home started in a settlement near the Alabama River called “The Bends,” where it was located in an abandoned gin house. Under the pastoral leadership of Elder Green Daniel, it was later moved to the location in Burkville, Alabama in Lowndes County on the road to Lowndesboro around the turn of the century.

Because of structural failure, Bethel was rebuilt in 1969 under the administration of Elder J. S. Johnson, who pastored from 1962 to 1987. Prior to the church’s rebuilt, Bethel shared grounds with a neighborhood school and once set in the midst of a large black community. These individuals were dislocated mainly by a General Electric Plant, which purchased the properties surrounding the church. A black organization known as the Band of Truly Workers owned ½ acres of land adjacent to the church’s property and was later donated to Bethel when the organization was dissolved.

Many dedicated men of God have served Bethel as deacons and officers. Among them to be noted but are no longer with us are:  Deacons William Hall, Todd Daniel, Alford Tubner, Allen Brown, William Dixon, and Robert Mitchell.

Special recognition should be given to former chairman, Deacon Sellers Williams, who married the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Willie Harris. Deacon Williams confessed Christ and baptized in 1932 in Burkville, Alabama, and joined the Bethel Primitive Baptist Church, where he worked as a faithful member. Later, Deacon Williams was ordained as a deacon and served as chairman of the Deacons’ Board, teacher of the Adult Sunday School Class, and vice superintendent of Sunday School Convention.

Also, Bethel recognizes Deacon Lenzy Bennett, Sr., who was converted and baptized in 1932 and united with the Bethel Primitive Baptist Church under the leadership of the late Elder Henry Bracy. In 1934, Deacon Bennett was ordained as a deacon. Deacon Bennett married Sister Julia Bennett on November 27, 1932.

Members serving and/or served as deacons are Deacon Lenzy Bennett, Sr., Deacon Willie E. DeJarnette, Deacon Edwin Moss, Deacon Harrison L. DeJournette.

In 1987, Elder James A. O’Ree was elected to pastor the Bethel Primitive Baptist Church, and the membership continued to grow. Elder O’Ree organized the Board of Trustees with the following members:  Brother John Williams, Chair; Sister Dorothy Dixon, Secretary; Brother William Mitchell, Sister Shirley Brooks, Brother Willie Groomster, Brother Hutch Thorns, and Deacon Edmond Moss, Treasurer.

Bethel feels proud to recognize the Mitchell Family noting that they are descendants of Elders Wash Daniels, Lewis Daniels, and Green Daniels, which the records reflect as the primary founders of the Bethel, Mt. Ramah, and Mt. Zion Primitive Baptist Churches.

Also, Elder James O’Ree was a member of the Ways and Means Committee, Pilgrim Rest Primitive Baptist Association.

Currently, Bethel Primitive Baptist Church has not elected a pastor but actively being led by God’s Spirit.

Church Website