A LOOK AT SOME OF THE 175 YEARS OF HISTORY OF
“What is the significance of anniversaries? You have only to think a moment for the answer.
He who does not look to the past to see the way we have come, cannot with clarity interpret
the present nor with courage chart the future.”
Dr. Louie D. Newton’s
September 23, 1982 column in the Christian Index
1707-----The first Baptist Association founded in
1733-----General James Edward Oglethorpe and 116 people arrived at Yamacraw Bluff on the
Ann, to begin the colonization of
Baptists on board the ship.
1771-----Rev. Daniel Marshall moved to
Rev. Daniel Marshall.
1784-----The first Baptist association in the state was organized.
Association had 5 churches.
1801-----First of three conferences was held at
1813-----A Baptist Foreign Mission Society was founded in
present day counties of Early, Calhoun, Clay, Dougherty, Baker, Miller, Colquitt,
Mitchell, Thomas, Seminole, Decatur and Grady. There were no towns in the area
small village on the banks of the Chattahoochee was chartered as
1822-----The General Baptist Association of the State of
1822, and was the beginning of the formation of the Georgia Baptist Convention.
1828-----The Columbus Association was organized becoming one of the 17 Baptist
1833-----The Christian Index moved to
Mercer was the owner. Due to ill health in 1840 Mercer offered the Index to the
Georgia Baptist Convention and they accepted the offer. Mercer passed away in
One hundred seventy five years later the Index is still giving Georgia Baptists the
news of Baptist work at home, across the nation and around the world.
1833-----Mercer Institute was organized in
GA. Fifteen churches withdrew from the Columbus Association and on November
Association. The geographical
area reached from
east from the
Counties. Articles of Faith and a Constitution and By -Laws were adopted. These
have remained in place being amended or up-dated when necessary.
1839-----The question of being a Missionary versus an Anti-Missionary organization had been
an issue for Baptist churches for over a decade. The Association voted at the annual
meeting in 1839 to become a Missionary organization.
1840-----The Bethel Association gave its first offering for Domestic Missions --- $44.12 ˝ .
The slavery question was a hot topic in both the North and the South.
The Association sent out its first missionary. Peter Ethridge was to labor in the
region” on our border in
130 sermons, baptized 34 and constituted 2 churches. He was on the field 128 days
at $1.50 a day and he had to furnish his own horse.
1841-----All churches were urged to start Sabbath Schools though most small churches had
preaching only once a month. It was a struggle for many years to really get the schools
going on a regular basis. At every annual meeting of the Association the churches were
urged to start Sunday Schools and in this year of 2007 all the churches, including the
1842-----The Bethel Association voted to become a part of the Georgia Baptist Convention.
There were now 38 churches in the association with a membership of 2,429 made up
of both white and black people. Over the first years of the association, as new counties
being chartered in the state, many drawing land from the original
new associations were being organized and churches were received and dismissed from
the Association. This was noted in the minutes of the Association every year till 1915
1845-----The Southern Baptist Convention was organized, in
with 2 boards--Domestic Missions and Foreign Missions. The
Association voted to associate with and support this convention.
1846-----The first offering taken in the Bethel Association for Foreign Missions was $36.33.
1851-----The question of establishing a
the purpose of educating young ladies was discussed and approved. For the next 73
business and operation of the
minutes of the Association in great detail. The events of secular history, the Civil War
and the following Reconstruction period, WW I, economic conditions of the nation,
crop failures, even epidemics and illnesses affected the college. Conditions caused it to
change hands several times and it was finally closed and the property sold in 1924.
The money from the sale of the property was placed with the Baptist Holding
Commission and the interest of this money was used to pay the tuition and board
worthy boys and girls from the Association to attend
The importance of education has continued throughout the years and an annual
report is made to the Association of support of the Georgia Baptist Colleges and
The Southern Baptist Seminaries.
1852-----The Association voted to raise $500 by the next session to support a missionary
There were now 56 churches in the Association.
1853-----The Methodists started
offering educational advantages to young people of all faiths and walks of life. This
college has been a great blessing to its denomination through the years, as was the
The question of temperance had been an important issue in the Association since its
organization. Temperance Committee Reports were made at each annual session.
For many years church members were excommunicated for the sale or use of alcohol.
After confession and repentance they could be reinstated to the church.
1854-----The Association employed Isaac B. Deavors as an instructor to the black members of
1856-----Just what did it take to attend an associational meeting in 1856? A messenger to the
in that year writes in the Index of his trip from
hospitable brother in
dozen other brothers and sisters bound for the Association. Next morning I soon found
myself a member of a caravan of a dozen vehicles headed for Blakely, which was
reached Friday afternoon. Services began Friday evening, embraced Sunday, and
continued through Tuesday afternoon. We left Wednesday morning, spent the night
with our generous host in Randolph Country, and arrived back home late Thursday
afternoon.” A round trip had required eight days and seven nights.
In this year of 2007 a trip from Morgan to Blakely takes about 30 to 40 minutes.
1857-----25th ANNUAL SESSION OF THE
The Association now covered 11 counties, with a total of 59 churches in the
Association, 37 ordained ministers and 11 licensed ministers. There was a total
membership of 4,498 ( 3,228 whites and 1,267 blacks). The minutes listed the name of
each church, the year of its constitution and its pastor.
Dwight Hayes was appointed “missionary to the colored people of the association”.
Financial report: $59.90 for Minutes; $236.22 for Associational Funds; Home
Missions, $48.20; Domestic Missions, $58.17; Foreign Missions, $15.00; Central
African Missions, $586.87; Colporteur, $120.00; Total $1,152.36.
1858-----Missionaries of the association: William H. Clark and wife,
Hogue, Choctaw Nation; James Perryman, Creek Nation and Dwight Hayes.
1861-----The Civil War began and affected the people and the churches of the Association in
every possible way.
The churches were urged to contribute to the support of the work of the Bible
Colportage among the soldiers of the Confederate Army. In 1862, $1100 was collected
for the continued Army Mission and Colportage among the soldiers. The purpose
of the Georgia Bible and
Colportage Society located at
distribution of religious tracts and materials. This Society sent out men all across the
South with materials for the southern soldiers and could not keep up with demands for
more Christian reading materials. They contacted the American Bible Society, which
was located in the northern states, with a request for Bibles. This Society sent a
large number of Bibles through the military lines of the northern army to help its
sister society. One of the most requested pieces of material the southern soldiers asked
for was the Christian Index.
1863---- The churches of the Bethel Association were urged to increase the salaries of their
pastors so that they could visit the families of the soldiers and help obtain relief for the
more destitute families.
The Indian work was being continued by Bro. Hogue
Choctaw Nation. The war had not reached that part of the country. The
Board continued to pay the salaries of the native preachers.
1865-----The collections for
Classes at the
building was being used as a military hospital.
At the annual meeting, for the first time, separate services were held for the white
black people. The white group met at the
1866-----No foreign missionaries were on the field, due to the poverty caused by the Civil War.
For the first time there were more black members than white members in the
Association; this too was caused by the Civil War.
In the years following the war the South was in a terrible condition. Loss of lives,
poverty and rules issued to the southern states by the federal government caused
problems for the states to be readmitted into
states to sign the necessary papers for reinstatement in 1870.
1869-----During Reconstruction days the blacks were withdrawing from the white churches
and being urged to constitute churches of their own. As a result, our black brethren
desired to organize an association in Southwestern Ga. Delegates were sent from the
churches to the
organizational meeting. As their mother association they asked the Bethel Association
to set up a committee to aid, advise and instruct them in their organization.
1871-----The only mission work supported by the Association at this time was the Indian work.
Construction was begun on a home for orphan children
women of the 2nd Baptist Church of Atlanta recognized the need for a home for the
destitute and helpless children who were orphaned by the Civil War. In 1888 a charter
was received by the GBC, to establish the Georgia Baptist Asylum for Orphaned
The first campus was opened in 1899 in
Georgia Baptist Children’s Home and a campus
was added at
Pine Mountian Campus was added and in 1968 the original campus was relocated to
the needs of the children of
Baptist Children’s Home and Family Ministries. Today there are a number of homes,
for both children and adults with many different types of needs, in several locations
across the state. The Association has supported this work since its beginning, both
financially and for nearly 40 years (1920 until 1960) in the loading of 6 or more
railroad cars of produce every Fall. In this year of 2007, and for a number of preceding
years, the churches of the Association brought both food and non-food items to the
Annual meeting for loading trailers or trucks that were then driven to the proper
year of 2007 to offer educational advantages to people of all races and cultures.
1874-----The Sunday School department was authorized by the State Convention.
1875-----A resolution was adopted by the Association asking each church to appoint a
committee to urge all members to contribute to the General Mission Work.
Support was still being given to Brother Hogue and the Indian Work.
1876-----No missionary labored in the bounds of the Association. Bro. L.R. Sims, however;
labored as a volunteer missionary traveling 1,149 miles, preaching 54 sermons,
baptizing 4 persons and assisted in ordaining one deacon.
Total gifts given that year was $409.80. Only 5 Sunday Schools were reported.
1877-----The State Mission Board was constituted. This board along with the now North
American Mission Board and the International Mission Board have continued
for all the years of the Bethel Association to give Baptist people ways to serve God
by both giving and going. We give through the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering
for North American Missions, the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International
Missions and the State Mission Offering each year.
1878-----Brother Thomas Muse was requested to prepare, at
his leisure, a history of the
Association from its organization to the present.
1882-----50th ANNUAL SESSION OF THE
There were 40 churches in the association with 22 reporting Sunday Schools.
Total gifts to all causes were $1,180. Total membership was 3,573.
1883-----The Association pledged $3,000 to aid in the
In 1884 the Association gave $1,560 to Mercer.
1885-----The Baptist Young Peoples Union (BYPU) was organized. Its purpose was for the
teaching and training of young people to serve God in and through the local
church and out into the whole world. After two name changes: Baptist Training
Union, then Church Training Union, the present term now in 2007 is Discipleship
Training. Sixteen of our 34 churches have Discipleship Training.
1886-----The minutes reported that a newspaper, The Bethel News, was being printed.
Brother Thomas Muse was reappointed as the Colporteur for the Association.
1887-----The Association was divided into 4 districts: 1. Early and
1888-----The Woman’s Missionary Union was organized as an Auxiliary to the Southern Baptist
1889-----The Association resolved to build a cottage on the Mercer campus named for J.T. Clark,
a well respected lawyer, preacher and judge in the Association.
There had been a student at Mercer for the last 4 years from the Association.
1890-----The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary opened promoting Christian Education.
1891-----Brother Thomas Muse turned over to the Executive Committee of the Association the
minutes he had kept of the Association for over 50 years. Bro. Muse was responsible
for starting several of the churches of the Association, starting the Executive
Committee and serving on it for many years, starting The Bethel Female College
and serving as a trustee for the college for many years. He and his wife had a boarding
house where the college students lived. He traveled the Association on horse back to
preach at nearly all of the churches, baptized about 3,000 persons, served as the
Colporteur across the Association several different times and served as moderator of
the Association for 25 years.
1895-----Bro. Thomas Muse passed away April 19, 1895 having lived in the Association for 59
Muse was born in April 1810, in
store. He started a prayer meeting at the store that resulted in the formation of the
Macedonia Baptist church, presently the First Baptist Church of Blakely.
He is buried in the Cuthbert,
1900-----Woman’s Missionary Union was organized in the association.and the minutes printed
in the minute book for the first time. This was a fast growing organization. More
societies were started in the churches each year, gifts to mission causes increased
and Sunbeam Bands, Girls Auxilaries, and Royal Ambassador groups, for the
children, were organized in most of the churches.
1901-----In a rented 5 room house the Tabernacle Infirmary opened to offer medical assistance
to the people of
over 100 years it continued to care for the medical needs of all races, classes and
creeds. A training school for nurses opened in 1902 and was closed in 1992 giving
way for the opening of the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing in 1989. The hospital
grew and changed with the changing times. By the 1990’s the hospital had placed
medical facilities in 9 different locations in the state. It also had the first Life Flight
Helicopter Emergency Service in the state of
The people and churches of
Hospital Day Offering.
ANNUAL SESSION OF THE
Twenty nine of the 38 churches in the Association reported having Sunday Schools.
Total gifts: $3,681.22.
1908-----The Associational Woman’s Missionary Union was divided into 2 districts, with
20 of the churches reporting having organizations.
1909-----A Layman’s Movement was organized, the forerunner of the Brotherhood
1913-----In a survey taken by the Georgia Baptist Convention, excluding towns and cities,
1917-----During World War I mission work was being done among the soldiers.
1919-----The Association was participating in the $75,000,000 Campaign of the Southern Baptist
Convention. For several years special offerings were taken for this project.
1921-----The Association was divided into 7 districts.
2. Blakely, Beulah, Colomokee, Hilton,
7. Coleman, Vilulah,
1922-----The Bethel Association Encampment was held at Bluffton for the religious training of
people from all over the state. This Encampment was held every summer for 10 years
and was attended by large numbers of people; 229 in 1931 with over 200 visitors each
day. Classes were conducted by preachers and lay people, and missionaries, home on
furlough, gave great inspirational messages. Churches in the Association supplied
food and workers in the kitchen. This was the forerunner of the present day camping
1923-----A new Associational Constitution and By-Laws was voted on and adopted.
1925-----The Cooperative Program was a plan of giving adopted by the Southern Baptist
Convention. The plan was adopted by most of the churches in the Association and
continues to the present time.
1926-----Miss Eva Guillebeau was now at work in the Association as an Associational
Worker, visiting the various churches, teaching classes and organizing the work.
1931-----Plans were made for the Centennial meeting the next year.
1932-----THE 100th ANNUAL SESSION OF THE
was held at the
Louie D. Newton of
M. L. Lawson; Dr. Carl L. Devane of
Framer; Dr. J.E. Sammons, President of the
Barnum Hawkes and Rev. W. D. (Uncle Billy)
in his ninetieth year. The 3 day session was well attended by Association members
and many visitors. There were 42 churches in the association with a membership of
5,507. Cooperative Program gifts were $5,716.83.
1933-----The SBC organized the Hundred Thousand Club. The churches in the Association
participated in this endeavor as they had done with other projects over several years.
God’s Acre, Butter, Egg, Pig and Calf projects were offered to help the farmer and his
family find money for mission projects in the Depression Days of the 1920’s and
1930’s. Later programs such as The Every Member Canvass (1936), Debt Free by ’43,
and A Million More in’54 showed people the advantage of working together to meet
It was the 25th Anniversary of the R. A.’s and the 100th Anniversary of both the
1934-----The Association gave Miss Annie Sandlin, of
The book entitled “History of Bethel Association Including Centennial Meeting” by
A. L. Miller of
1937-----It was recommended that a Workers Council be formed to meet and plan work for the
The Head of the State Brotherhood Department visited the Association urging the
Organization of Brotherhood programs in all of the local churches.
An appeal was made at the annual meeting for the continued support of the
Annuity Board program, which was begun in 1916.
1940-----World War II, which began in
Mission work, and by the time the
of the missionaries had returned home,
1942-----Only 1 missionary was left in Europe, in
refused to leave when the other missionaries left and it was reported that he was in a
1943-----Because of the gas rationing the Association met for only one day.
1944-----The Executive Committee asked for the authority to investigate and be empowered
to employ an Associational Field Worker and to find ways to secure the funds to pay
The State WMU revealed plans for a Camp to be located in
1945-----REV. W.R.CALLOWAY began serving as the first Associational Field Worker August
15, 1945. He served through June 1946, a total of 10 months. This position later
became known as the “Associational Missionary”.
1946-----The second Associational Field Worker REV. LAMAR BROOKS began serving
September 1946 and served for 1 year, until September 1947.
The Sunbeam Bands had been in operation for 60 years and the Children’s Home
for 75 years.
The first mention of the Training Union event of “M”(Mobilization) Night was
made. This has been a continuous event. The highest ever attendance for one meeting
was in 1953 when two groups met in two different towns with 1,377 people present.
The name “M” Night was changed to Associational Discipleship Rally in 1995.
WMU Camp at
camping for the children, youth and women of the state. This camp has been in
REV.G. A. COOPER began serving as the Associational Field Worker in
December, and he served for 2 years and 3 months, until March 1950.
The State Brotherhood Department was organized.
1948-----The war in
The WMU observed its 60th Anniversary
The annual report of the Field Worker was included in the minutes for the first
time. Some of his service and activities included: days on the field, 266; miles
traveled, 14,515; churches visited, 134; Sunday Schools visited, 31; mission points
visited, 8; other services visited, 65; visits in homes, 252; soul-winning
conferences, 25; letters and cards written, 678; tracts given out, 2,955; sermons
preached, 65; addresses, 22; committee meetings, 16; group and Associational
conferences, 25; individual conferences on church work, 78; and community visits,
168, plus 18 conferences of various groups both in and outside of the Association. He
edited and distributed 3 issues of “The Bethel News” (2,300 copies) and he purchased
a 16mm RCA projector and equipment and showed films on evangelism and soul-
winning to 50 different groups.
1949-----The churches in Cuthbert and Edison now had Brotherhoods.
The Executive committee asked that a separate treasurer for the Associational
Field Worker’s Fund be elected at the next meeting and that all funds for the
Associational Field Worker be kept separate from the regular funds of the
1950-----REV. J. R. BOWEN became the fourth Associational Field Worker in September and
served for 9 years and 6 months until March 1960.
The Georgia Baptist Convention established a Brotherhood Department offering
missionary education and service programs for the men and boys of the church.
1951-----Thirty of the Association Churches cooperated with the state wide Simultaneous
Nineteen boys and 5 counselors attended R.A. Camp and 26 girls and 7 counselors
attended G.A. Camp. This was the first camp to be held since the 1930’s. No location
for the camps was given. The camping experience for the children and youth has
continued for nearly every year meeting at different locations over the years. These
included neighboring associations,
1953-----Fifty-four boys and girls attended 2 weeks of camp in a neighboring association.
Starting in July the Association sponsored a Saturday morning Radio Program
called “The Bethel Hour” which
was aired over the WDWD Radio Station in
continued until December 1954.
1954-----The question of securing a home for the Associational Field Worker and how to fund
it was brought up at the Annual Fall meeting of the Association. A committee was
appointed to research the question and report to the Executive Committee.
A Business Woman’s Federation (for the women working away from the home)
has been organized as part of the Associational WMU. Seven churches reported having
organized a group.
The summer camp under the direction of Bro. Bowen, the Associational Field
Worker, was held at
in attendance. Pastors and dedicated lay people from across the Association made up
The first Associational School of Church Music
was held at the
and was conducted by Dr. Edmond D. Keith, State Associate Secretary of Church
1955-----The Association bought the Stewart house in
and office for the Associational Missionary for $5,000.
This was the year the name was changed from Associational Field Worker to
A committee was appointed to place
a marker in
1956-----The Georgia Baptist Convention opened
(Mary) Singleton of
several other locations being opened across the state for the caring of elderly people.
The R. A. work in the local churches was moved from the WMU Department to the
1957-----125 th SESSION OF THE
the Association with a total membership of 7,072, with 4,718 resident members and
2,354 non-resident members. Twenty-four of the churches have less than 100
members. Total Cooperative Program gifts was $21,823. Total gifts to all local
causes was $238,202.
1958-----The marker for the college site arrived and was ready for placement. A short history
of the college was included in the annual minute book of the Association on page 29.
1960-----REV. G. L. (Gordon) BROOKS became the fifth Associational Missionary, serving 2
years and 8 months from April 1960 through December 1962.
1963-----REV. J. V. PITTMAN became the sixth Associational Missionary. He served for 5
years until sometime in early 1968.
Georgia Baptist Assembly, located at
meetings and has continued to offer programs and events.
Association. This was the first new church organized and admitted in the Association
1968-----REV. CARL CULPEPPER became the seventh Associational Missionary, serving for
16 years until June of 1984.
1969-----Miss India Everson of the
in the Forward Steps program in the G.A. Organization. The next year, 1970, after one
college, she served as a counselor at
1971-----Rev. Wallace DuVall, Foreign Missionary to
Fall session of the Association.
association held its first R.A. Congress meeting at the
Buttermere for foreign mission service to
1976-----In the interest of time a motion was made at the annual meeting that all reports, which
had been being given during the meeting, be compiled into one book and handed out at
the beginning of the annual session. The motion was adopted.
1977-----The Home Mission Board, of the SBC, established a Sister State Partnership program
which promoted the opportunity for
greater mission work within the nation.
was the first Ga. Baptist state partnership in 1977 and it was renewed in 1985. Others
Baptist Association in 1995 and Utah-Idaho in 2000. These partnerships were usually
for a three year duration.
Donna Blackburn, of the Vilulah Community, served as a State BSU Summer
Missionary. This marked the beginning of a long career in Student Work. At the age
Donna accepted the call into full time
Association youth camp at
During her formative years her home church Vilulah Baptist, and the consistent
Christian life style of its members, provided the firm foundation of her faith.
The summer camp program also played a very important part in her faith development,
both as a camper and later as a camp staffer.
In college she was very involved in the Baptist Student Union. After college, at
Wesleyan and Tift, she served as the Summer youth worker at the
a State Missionary with the GBC. For twelve and one half years she served as Missions
Coordinator of the Department of Student Work. During those years she continued her
education at Columbia Presbyterian Seminary and
her Master’s of Education Degree in Adult Education.
In 1991, she began her ministry as the
Associate Campus Minister at the
Southern University Baptist
Student Union in
Minister of the East
She has taken
students on mission trips to
Projects Coordinator and President of the
Association and was in charge of the Reunion Celebration to commemorate the 75th
anniversary of the BSU in
1980-----All of the Associational Missionaries, since 1955, have lived in the house which was
bought in 1955 and also doubled as the Association Office building. A study
committee was appointed by the Executive Committee to look into the buying of a new
house or the building of a new house as the residence for the Associational Missionary.
The Association responded with Disaster Relief to the
20 tons of ice and hiring the semi-truck to deliver the ice.
The Cuthbert and Shellman churches participated in the Rev. E. J. Daniels
Evangelistic Crusade, Tell
1981-----A World Mission Conference was held with 20 churches participating.
1982-----150th ANNUAL SESSION OF THE
held at the
Guest speaker was Rev. Ches W. Smith III, President of the
Baptist Convention. Dr. Louie D. Newton had addressed the 100th Anniversary
meeting in 1932 and was expected back for this session. Due to illness he was not
able to attend but sent his greetings.
There were 38 churches in the Association with a total membership of 7,410,
with 5,170 resident members and 2,240 non-resident members. A number of
Missionary Unions 27 and Brotherhoods 14. Cooperative Program gifts totaled
$119,375; gifts to Associational Missions $19,466; gifts to other mission causes
$216,733. Total gifts to Missions $236,199 and total money given by all the
churches for all causes $1,530,635.
1984-----REV. MARCUS HICKS became the eighth Associational Missionary serving 14 years
and 4 months, from July 1984 until October 1998. During his tenure the name was
changed from Associational Missionary to Director of Missions (DOM) .
The Executive Committee accepted a motion from the Board of Trustees to convert
the missionary residence into an office and conference space. The motion
was seconded and passed. A DOM housing allowance was added to the Association
budget. Later in the year the Board of Trustees reported to the Executive Committee
that the property that was purchased in 1955 was L shaped and that the bottom part of
the L had been sold to the neighbors next door for $1,200. This money would be
applied to the renovation of the office.
The Georgia Baptist Convention entered into an international partnership with
Dr. James O. Dorriety, pastor of First Baptist Church of Blakely, Ga., went on a
1985-----The WMU contributed new drapes and other decorations for the newly renovated
Miss Beth McAllister, of the Faith Baptist Church of Cuthbert, Ga., went as a
The youth group of the First Baptist Church of Blakely, Ga. went on a summer
1986-----Rev. and Mrs. W. C. Ruchti, retired missionaries
Associational meeting. Mrs. Ruchti is the sister of Mrs. Wallace DuVall, missionary
Open house was held at the newly renovated office building February 9th.
Twenty-seven churches were enrolled in the Simultaneous Revivals in March.
Several churches reported participating in the “Good News
Rev. and Mrs. Ray Shelton, retired missionaries, served as the Summer Camp
1987-----A decision was made to have two meetings of the Association during the year. The
election of officers was moved from the Fall meeting to the Spring meeting, so that
new leaders could attend training conferences offered in the Spring and Summer.
1988-----Twenty-four churches participated in the World Mission Conference. There were
14 missionaries in attendance.
Joy and Art Redding, of the First Baptist Church of Blakely, Ga., went on an 18 day
Volunteer Medical Mission Trip to
pharmacist, joined 14 other volunteers on this trip sponsored by the Foreign Mission
of the SBC and the
A group, called Baptist Builders, has been organized to go from place to place
across the state helping churches and organizations with building projects.
1990-----Hurricane Hugo created wide spread disaster across
of supplies to the neighboring states. Three people went as workers. The people of
the Association gave $12, 080.70 to be used for Disaster Relief.
Central heat and air conditioning was installed at the Associational Office.
Twenty-four churches participated in the Simultaneous Revivals.
Missions Fair was held at the
Twelve different departments of the Georgia Baptist Convention were represented
with displays and booths. More than 325 people attended the event.
1992------At the fall meeting of the Association a motion was made, seconded and passed that
the Association adopt a resolution urging members of our churches to take a stand and
vote NO against the Georgia Lottery.
1993------A World Mission Conference was held in March with 15 missionaries present. It was
reported to be one of the best conferences ever, even though one missionary had to be
replaced the day before the meetings started and a substitute had to be found quickly.
Another missionary had to leave in the middle of the week because of a family crisis.
Everyone said they would never forget the “blizzard of ‘93” that caused the Saturday
night service to be cancelled.
Ruel Everson, from
serving in this capacity for twenty-one years. The Association expressed its appreci-
ation for her many years of service to the Association.
The Associational Missionary, Rev. Marcus Hicks, made a proposal that the jobs
of the clerk and the office secretary be combined into one job, and that a set salary be
included in the budget. This was approved.
Fourteen men from the Association went on a work detail to
repair work on the cabin that is assigned to our Association.
1994-----The flood of ’94, which caused so much destruction in the southwest part of the state,
became an opportunity for ministry for the people and the churches of the Association.
Many volunteers went to
clothing, household items and cleaning supplies. Money was also collected and sent
through the proper channels.
Calhoun Correctional Institution (CCI), located in
1994. Mr. Mitten Crenshaw, the prison chaplain, spoke at the Annual Associational
meeting telling of the opportunities for volunteers at the prison. A number of men,
from several of the churches in the association, took the necessary training to be able
to go into the prison. They have started a Sunday School class and a Bible Study
group. The Association spent $502.50 for new Bibles for the prison. This work
1995-----In January, Articles of Incorporation were placed with the office of the Secretary
of State, in
1996-----The WMU ladies filled 1,200 hospitality bags that would be given out to the many
visitors who came to
500 personal hygiene items and contributed $500 that was sent to missionary Karen
Two of the pastors of the Association, Rev. Ken Blackwood, Cuthbert First
Baptist and Rev. Robert Bracewell, of the Georgetown Baptist church, went on a
mission trip to
The churches of the Association donated 2,700 pounds of food and other
supplies for the Children’s Home.
1997-----The Bethel Association Advisory Council recommended the establishing of an
annual Associational offering. This would be taken during the annual Associational
Mission Emphasis Week and the money used for Capital Improvements. Adopted by
1999-----REV, JAMES HOLLOWAY became the ninth Associational Missionary in April
1999 and is still serving the Association at the present time, 2007. Note that once
again the name has been changed, from Director of Missions back to Associational
The International Mission Board, of the SBC, sent out a request to all the churches
help with a project entitled “Love Gifts to
a famine situation and we were asked to send rice, corn, soybeans and peanuts.
Rev. Bruce Pafford, Minister of Music at the
on a 10 day Mission Trip to
consisting of full time Ministers of Music from the state of
The Colomokee Youth Ministries Group went on two mission trips.
2000-----New By-Laws were adopted. Then a motion was made to amend the new By-Laws
to replace the 1963 Baptist Faith and Message and to incorporate the new 2000 Baptist
Faith and Message as our Statement of Faith. This motion was to be discussed in the
local churches during the up-coming year and voted on at the 2001 annual meeting.
Association began participating in the “Sister State Partnership” with
drawn up between our Association and the Eastern Idaho Southern Baptist
response to the 1999 IMB request for grains to be sent to
our Association collected 20 bags of rice and corn. These had to be bagged in special
bags, which when filled weighed 110 pounds each. Many tons of peanuts were
Preparations were underway to begin a Hispanic Ministry in the Association.
2001-----The Association began its first English as a Second Language (ESL) Ministry at the
Ministry. Several ministers from the Association took part in the group devotion
time and there were 20 students enrolled in the program.
A patriotic musical presentation, “With
choir of people from the churches of the Bethel Association, drew around 900 people
to the Mangham Auditorium in Blakely,
Eight men from our area trained for, and participated in, the “Operation Starting
Line” outreach at the CCI in Morgan.
In March eight preachers from the Eastern Idaho Southern Baptist Association
came to our Association and preached in simultaneous revivals. Over the 3 year
partnership a number of people from our
Association made a total of 8 trips to
working in several different programs and events.
The youth group from the
Hendersonville, N. C.
The Association sponsored its first ministry at local Fall Festivals at
At the annual Fall meeting, the Association voted to accept the 2000 Baptist Faith
and Message as our Statement of Faith.
Bethel Association created its first website: www.bethelassociation.com
2002-----As a continuing part of the ESL program, to help people be better able to minister to
our Hispanic neighbors, a six week course in “Conversational Spanish” was taught
by Dr. Terrell Ruis, our
were enrolled in the course.
Several people from the Association took part in Phase1 Disaster Relief training
to be permitted on disaster sites.
Our R. A. boys enjoyed the First Associational Racer Derby that had been held
in many years.
On April 21st, the First Baptist Church of Blakely hosted a joint worship
service with several of the churches in our Association and the Mt. Pilgrim Baptist
Association and they and the
summer mission VBS outreach to Baptist Branch Homes, in Blakely,
There were 42 children and youth enrolled in the Bible school.
There was an ongoing effort to start a Southern Baptist African-American
Church in the Blakely area. A prospective Pastor was found and began the evaluation
process of the Georgia Baptist Convention.
2003-----In November 2003 Jimmie Terrell from the GBC led a training session for church
leaders, especially for Church Finance Committees on how to set-up a ministry-
based budget. Then in March of 2003 there was a Church Treasurer’s Workshop with
emphasis on pastor’s compensation issues and IRS compliance.
The ESL ministry continued to grow with a
second location started at the
participated in the training.
A target date of January, 2004 was set for starting worship services for the new
The Idaho Partnership agreement “officially” expired but we continued to offer
help to the Eastern Idaho Southern Baptist Association. Two of our young people
served on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation in the summer and 2 pastors preached
revivals in September.
The Association began studying the possibility of an International Partnership with
2004-----At the fall meeting of the Bethel Association, Ewell Jarrett presented recommendations
from the Building Committee that a new office building be constructed on the same
the existing building in
There was $25,133.78 in the building fund and no construction would begin until the
fund reached $50,000. At this time local financing could be arranged for the balance of
the construction costs.
Holloway, Associational Missionary, each made
fact finding trips to
preparation for future mission trips.
men from the
dormitory for Salvadoran pastors at Santa Anna.
Another group of eight people, from several of the churches in the Association,
in Summer Vacation Bible Schools in
Erin House, a young lady from the
Rev. Bruce Pafford, Minister of Music of
First Baptist Blakely, went on a
Convention’s partnership with
nine months the
Branch Homes in Blakely,
store building in the
several weeks. A Dedication and Open House was held on November 14. Several
groups and ministry opportunities had been participated in with good attendance.
In October 2004, six people from our association went to Playa del Carmen, on
the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, for the purpose of building pews for the Fila-
handed out tracts in the afternoon, and showed the movie “The Passion of the Christ”
on two nights.
2005-----Hurricane Katrina left behind many, many, opportunities for mission service.
The Association partnered with the
Escataupa, Ms. Several groups made trips helping to rebuild the church.
Fifteen people from the Association, who had had the Disaster Relief training,
and were on call with the GBC Disaster Relief food program, made two trips to
who were working in the clean-up operation. On the first trip, 2 weeks after the
hurricane hit in late August, they served 10,000 meals a day!!! The second trip
was in October. The churches also responded by collecting and sending food,
water, clothing and money. The youth group from First Baptist Blakely made two
Nine of the Association churches participated in the Wave Revivals.
an effort to restart.
Tom McClendon, pastor of the
invited by the CEE (Central and
in a Virtual Strategy Planning and Training session so that his church might become
involved as a partner in church planting. He
target. Bro. McClendon, and his son Tommy,
spent 10 days in
finding trip to identify specific ministries and partnerships that might be developed.
Rev. Howard Scott,
Rev. Tommy Mullis, from the
opportunities in that area. The Association began planning two trips to N.C.; one for
youth and the other for adults.
2006-----Relief work continued along the
went on mission trips to the region.
Contributions for the new
and a ground breaking was held on February 12. It was a freezing cold day!
In April 2006, four people from our Association joined with another group for an
8 day mission trip to Bay St. Louis, Ms.
The Cuthbert 1st Church sent a mission team to
Eight men from the Association went back to Playa del Carmen,
September to help build more
rooms on to the
The Association had 22 people trained in Disaster Relief. Fourteen more went for
training, bringing our number to 36 trained people.
Totals for 34 of the 35 churches listed in the Associational Minutes for the year
Ministry, 21; gifts to the Cooperative Program, $298,894; Associational Missions,
$113,290; State Missions, $25,000; Annie Armstrong, $41,907; Lottie Moon, $84,053;
Other gifts, $112,375. Total of all receipts, $4,097,236.
The minutes of the 2006-2007 year are yet to be written. We have a long, fruitful history.
From early in the 19th century, men on foot and on horse back and families in covered wagons moved into a wilderness territory that had, just prior to their coming, been in the possession of the Native American Indian. It was a land of no roads, no bridges over the streams or rivers and no towns. Yet they came, carving out homesteads, establishing towns, building churches and schools, growing with the changing times until we have reached this fast paced, technological, space age of the 21st century.
As we stand on the threshold of the 175th
Anniversary Year of 2007-2008 we cannot rest on our laurels. During World War
II, at the height of the blitz in
the light of the world. For many of us the torch must be passed to the younger generation, to keep the work moving ever forward. Twenty-five years from now they will be looking at the up-coming 200th Anniversary of the Association. What will the minutes books of the Association reveal of them as keepers of the faith and the flame?
Mrs. Ruel Everson
Mrs. Henry Herndon
Mrs. J. T. Manry