Alexander Bethel Church-Alexander, Georgia
Abstracted from the Augusta Chronicle, July 1955.
Founded in 1877, The church had its beginning in a brush arbor located at the edge of Drew's Branch around 2 1/2 miles southeast of Alexander.
The Rev. C. E. Barefield came into this section at the age of 50, and with the help of the nearby citizens he lived to see his dreams of a church materialize. Rev. Barefield was from Habersham which at that time was considered Burke County but now is Jenkins County.
Rev. Barefield's great grandchildren was active and held offices in the church in 1955.
The first church was located on the old Herschel Lester land which is still used as the church cemetery. When the Rev. Barefield died he was buried in the cemetery.
Bethel Baptist actually came into being when the Rev. Barefield met with a group of citizens in 1877 with G. L. Jackson as moderator, and M. B. Thorn acting as clerk. James W. Barefield and George Skinner were ordained as deacons and George W. Blanchard as clerk for the first year. The Rev. Barefield was elected as pastor. Listed as some of the first members who helped organize the church were:
W. G. Chance
I. P. Jenkins
James W. Barefield
Rev. C. C. Barefield
Later, a school was built on the church property and Mrs. J. B. Burton of Waynesboro, Georgia served as the first school teacher. This was the first real school at Alexander and , down through the years, the church cooperated with the teachers. Because of the lack of space in the school a stage was erected in the church for the children's plays and recitations. The stage was later moved following a vote by the church. Proceeds from the sale of the school building when it sold in later years was placed in the church treasury.
Over the years the church has grown.
The Rev. Julian Lively of Burke County, now of Augusta served as pastor for 18 years during which much progress was recorded. He served the latter part if 1924 until 1927. He resigned to attend the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. For three years the church did not have a pastor but when Rev. Lively came back he offered his services temporarily to get the church back on its feet again. It was around 18 year later that the church found a successor to him
The Rev. Lively is credited with organizing the first B. Y. P. Y. and in reorganizing the W. M. S. service.
In 1948 the Rev. Grady Wheeler, son of the Baptist pastor in Waynesboro at that time, became pastor. He served through 1951 when the Rev. Grady Hargrove of Millen took over. A present member said to the Rev. Mr. Hargrove that he was a direct descendant of the founder C. C. Barefield.
It was during Lively's term that he suggested to the member that the church be rebuilt in the village of Alexander. Land was donated by Roy Barefield. Mrs. Kate McElmurray and Mrs. Sarah McElmurray for the church, the playground and the pastorium. The old church was torn down and the wood used to help build the present building which went up in 1941. The pastorium was built in 1953 and is now occupied by the present pastor James A. Baggett and his wife.
Organized in the last few years are the G. A. 's and R. A. 's. The pastor and his wife are the leaders of these groups. The B. T. U. is under the leadership of Mrs. Katie McElmurray, while the Brotherhood is headed by Joe Ellison. The W. M. U. is headed by Mrs. Ellison.
Present Deacon's are Eugene Ross, Angus Godbee, Author Jackson, Roy Barefield and Joe Ellison.
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