After over 100 years in the same facility, historic Beulah Baptist Church is getting a new building.
On Sunday, March 11, the members of Beulah Baptist Church celebrated a ground breaking ceremony for its new sanctuary. Construction is scheduled to begin in June.
For 126 years, Beulah Baptist Church has provided a place for local citizens to gather and worship.
The little church standing back among the pines at the end of a dirt road has survived hard times and bad weather. It has sent its young people off to two World Wars, to Vietnam, Korea and Iraq. It stood through the Great Depression and it is older than the automobile or Coca-cola. Its members prayed for a President assassinated on a Dallas street and marveled as a man walked on the moon. It was the place of celebration during good times and stood while a nation watched, in horror, as twin towers fell in New York on a sunny September morning. It has stood witness to countless marriages and welcomed many new family additions. It has gently held loved ones as they grieved the passing of another.
That little country church welcomes members and visitors through its open doors and more and more new faces can be seen there as time goes on. In recent years, the congregation has grown to a point where it has become necessary to enlarge.
For the past several months, members have worked to prepare the foundation for the arrival of individuals that travel from their home church in other areas to volunteer their time and energy to help build other churches. These volunteers give up their vacations and summers to help others.
The first group of volunteers will travel from Moultrie, Ga. in early June to begin the construction and will leave the church in "dried-in" condition before they return home.
They will sleep in campers, tents and on cots and battle the south Georgia heat and ask for little in return. Just a meal and something to drink is usually the small price required. As soon as the first group leaves, another will arrive to continue on another phase of construction. These selfless people give completely of themselves and ask for so little in return.
Even though future church services will be held in the new sanctuary upon its completion, the much-loved little country church will still be used for special occasions and events.
Its service to the community will continue well into the future and upcoming generations will come to call it home as many before them have done.
When the city of Pembroke was becoming an incorporated city, Beulah Baptist Church had already been serving the community for 25 years. In 1778, a circuit preacher would make his rounds to this area and a small brush arbor was constructed near the modern day site of the current church location. Nearby residents would gather for service under the arbor and continued to do so for about 1 ½ to 2 years.
One of those residents, James Speir, began a drive to build a new church so that residents could worship in comfort. Landowner, W.W. Driggers donated the parcel of land on which the new church was constructed. John Wesley Gay provided the sawmill and the trees that were cleared from the land parcel were milled into planks. Those same planks were planed by the men of the local community and used to construct the same building that stands today.
Construction was completed on July 25, 1880 and the church was constituted that same day. Brother J.W. Geiger was elected clerk and a motion was made that Minister H.L. Hamilton, from Hopeful Baptist Church, would be asked to provide ministry to this new little church. Minister Hamilton accepted the invitation and the church was named for his daughter Beulah.
Local families that made up the original 11 charter members included - the Osteen Family, the Patrick Family, the Hall family, the Benton family, the Thompson family, the Geiger Family and the Canady Family. Descendents of some of these same families are current members of Beulah Baptist Church.
Current Reverend, Dan Bryant and his family, wife Marjorie and daughter Lori, were asked to provide ministry to the church and, on the second Sunday of March 1981, he stood before the Beulah congregation for the first time. He was ordained on July 26, 1981 by Reverend Guy Kelly at the First Baptist Church of Pembroke.
Reverend Bryant and his family, now including a son-in-law Rudy and a granddaughter Victoria, are still ministering to the members of Beulah Baptist Church and are a much loved and respected part of a church whose history is still being made today.