History of the Greater Beallwood Baptist Church, Inc.
1876 Initial Organization
The Beallwood Baptist Church was organized under the leadership of the Reverend (Rev.) Boston Miles and Deacon (Dea.) Albert Harper, former members of the Shady Grove Baptist Church. The church’s first Board of Deacons was comprised of three men: Deacons Hiram Hellem, Henry Jones and William Lockhart.
Later, Rev. Thomas became pastor and served until his death. He was succeeded by Rev. Joe Flowers who had a vision to build a new church. However, death claimed Rev. Flowers before the church was rebuilt.
1900 New Church
The new church was completed under the leadership of Rev. J. B. Borders, successor to Rev. Flowers. By 1902, the church was again without a shepherd. Clearly a body in transition, between 1902 and 1920 the church called as pastor the following men: Reverends E.L. Gore, A.J. Riley, G. Carwell Armstrong, Troutman Johnson, W.P. King, J.B. Miller, and J.H. Smith.
It was not until 1920 that the church found a pastor who remained for an extended period of time in the pastorate of Rev. I.S.H. Allen. Rev. Allen distinguished himself as one of God’s outstanding preachers and pastors as many confessed Christ during his years as pastor. Rev. Allen fostered the work of establishing a much more stable congregation at Beallwood. In 1936, after sixteen fruitful years of service, Rev. Allen passed away and in that same year, Rev. James Carter Cook was called to shepherd this flock. Gigantic strides in kingdom building and noteworthy accomplishments characterized Rev. Cook’s tenure at Beallwood, a career that covered four decades. He was a natural leader and was well known on state and national levels, guiding countless young ministers of the gospel.
1949 New Sanctuary
A new sanctuary was completed with thoughts of expansion to include an educational building and fellowship hall. Additional property was purchased in 1964 and dual air conditioning units were added.
Beallwood Baptist Church became incorporated and the name was changed to Greater Beallwood Baptist Church, Incorporated. The name change also facilitated the ability to distinguish between another Beallwood Baptist Church with a predominantly white membership that was located only a few blocks away.
Many laymen have made significant contributions to the life of the church. In 1905, Dea. Eddie Borders became chairman of the Board of Deacons and served until 1957. He also served several years as church treasurer. Dea. Sherman Walker succeeded him as chairman. In March 1985, Dea. Walker passed and Dea. Willie Jackson was named chairman. Dea. Jackson served faithfully until his death on December 1, 2004. Early 2005, Dea. Willard Culpepper, Jr., was elected chairman of the Deacons and faithfully served until 2018 at which time he was succeeded by the current chairman, Dea. Alphonso Willis. Dea. George Burts succeeded Dea. Borders as church treasurer followed in 1964 by Dea. John T. Williams. Many years later, in order of succession, Deacons Benjamin Coles, Willard Culpepper, Johnny Martin, and Douglas Mullins served in that office. Deacon Robert Hill was named Treasurer in 2012 following the death of Deacon Mullins. The summer of 2015, Deacon Hill’s family relocated prompting the church to name Sister (Sis.) Wanda Banks-Rookard as treasurer.
Sis. Ida Borders served as church clerk until 1951 when Dea. Robert Reese assumed this position followed by Dea. David Pitts in 1968 and Dea.Theodis Bass in 1969, who served until his health failed. In 2013, Sis. Precious A. Rome was appointed clerk. Dea. George Burts distinguished himself as a teacher and lay leader. Ordained in 1930, he succeeded Rev. Justice Pace as Sunday School Superintendent and served until his health failed in 1965. Dea.Burts instituted a program of Youth Superintendents, which fed young men into the hierarchy of Sunday School leadership. Dea. David Pitts succeeded him in 1965, serving until his death in 1969. Bro. Andrew Henderson, a youthful understudy to Dea. Burts, became superintendent and held this position until a higher calling as pastor and duties associated therewith took him away. In 1971, Dea.Theodis Bass succeeded Bro. Henderson as superintendent and served until his health failed. Dea. Preston Mitchell was elected Sunday School superintendent in January 2013. In recognition of 44 years of dedicated service, Dea. Theodis Bass was named Clerk and Sunday School Superintendent Emeritus.
In 1970, Greater Beallwood elected Sis. Louise Tatum as its first church secretary. She served until 1986 when Sister Kathleen Williams was hired as our first onsite secretary with designated office hours. Following Sis. Williams’ tenure, the position reverted to one of service as-needed with primarily Sunday morning office hours. Sister Evelyn Byrd was elected secretary followed by Sisters Louise Tatum (2nd appointment) and Ann Martin. It was not until 2010 that the church hired its second on-site secretary with designated office hours. General Mission presidents in order of succession were Sisters Lucile Reid, Stella Sistrunk, Geneva Ashe, Johnnie Grubbs, Virginia Reese Livingston, Bessie Burnette, Louise Tatum, Emma Brown, Rachel Harvey, and Roeaster Coles, who continues to serve in that capacity. The church mothers were Sisters Clifford Hixon, Lillie Morris, Mattie Williams, Alma Howard, and Emma Brown, who currently serves in this revered position.
Weekly Sunday Services
Greater Beallwood began weekly Sunday Morning Worship services. Prior to this time, services were only held on two Sundays in each month.
Tithing replaces the “ward” system
That same year, the church also initiated the envelope system for payment of tithes and offerings, bringing to a close the previous system of ward leaders.
First Assistant Pastor
On July 1, 1975, Rev. Billy J. Carter became the first assistant pastor. Rev. Carter served until January 4, 1976 when his tenure ended due to his military obligations. Greater Beallwood was without an associate pastor until April 18, 1976 when Rev. Tommy L. Holston was chosen. Rev. Holston was called as pastor in January 1978 and served until December 1978. January 2014, Greater Beallwood was blessed with her first youth pastor, Rev. Adrian J. Chester.
1977 Education and Fellowship Hall completed
The Educational Building, which included a fellowship hall and fully equipped kitchen, was contracted and completed in 1977. Rev. Holston was of great support throughout, utilizing his expertise during the actual construction of the building.
1978 Fellowship Hall renamed
On October 1, 1978, Rev. J.C. Cook, formerly Pastor Emeritus, was given a special tribute when the fellowship hall was named in his honor.
Rev. Charlie R. Parham was called as pastor on March 11, 1979. Rev. Parham came to us with great enthusiasm and determination to do the will of God. His evangelical talents knew no boundaries as he carried God’s word from storefronts to the very finest of sanctuaries. During Rev. Parham’s tenure, the membership grew greatly. The church also purchased a bus and acquired additional land. On October 5, 1980, the cornerstone for the Educational Building was laid by Rising Star Lodge Number 5. Our beloved Pastor Parham was called from labor to reward on August 14, 1986.
We found ourselves once again without a shepherd. As God would have it, the church went into prayer and sought direction from the Master. In January 1987, we were blessed when the Lord placed Rev. Willie L. Hill over this flock. Rev. Hill came as a mighty rushing wind, making tremendous strides toward the advancement of God’s kingdom. Much was accomplished during Rev. Hill’s 28 years as pastor. He encouraged participation in the learning programs of the church, especially Sunday School and Bible Study.
2010 Children’s Church Initiated
With Pastor Hill’s guidance and direction and under the instruction and supervision of the Youth Department, 2010 marked the inauguration of Children’s Church for ages 5 years through 12 years. Members grew tremendously in their faith, knowledge, and understanding of God’s plan for His church and His people.
The Greater Beallwood Baptist Church supports itself solely on tithes and offerings as evidence of our faith. God has honored her faithfulness and made provision for many improvements and ministry enhancements. Beginning in 1989, a series of land purchases bordering the existing structure was initiated, continuing in 1990 with the improvement of grounds by paving the parking lot and landscaping. The Bus Ministry was upgraded in 1995 with the purchase of two scenic buses. Renovation of the old sanctuary was completed in 1998 and additional land was purchased in 2001.
2005 New Sanctuary Completed
Pastor Hill had a vision to build a new sanctuary, complete with new offices and state-of-the art equipment and furnishings. His vision was realized in 2000 when plans for construction of the new sanctuary were initiated and later finalized in 2002. A ground breaking worship service was held in 2003. Construction included renovation of the existing structure and connection to the new edifice to create one enhanced church complex. January 23, 2005, the members processed from the existing sanctuary into the new, dedicating it to the Lord upon entrance. A formal dedicatory worship service was held on February 20, 2005. March 2005, renovation and conversion of the old sanctuary into a new Fellowship/Banquet Hall was completed.
April 5, 2015, Rev. Hill retired from his pastoral service at Greater Beallwood. Through the divine and infinite wisdom of God, Rev. Adrian J. Chester became the seventeenth pastor of Greater Beallwood Baptist Church, Inc. The planting of this young man of God, by God, using Rev. Willie Hill as the visionary, has blessed us in more ways than we could imagine.
There are numerous ministry, learning, and fellowship opportunities available to all members and friends of Greater Beallwood. They include, but are not limited to, Sunday School, Bible Study, Boy and Girl Scouts, Adult and Teen Book Clubs, Bowling League, Brotherhood, Deacons and Deacon Wives, Education Committee, Finance Committee, Bereavement Committee, General Mission, Junior and Senior Usher Boards, Culinary Committee, Mission-In-Action, Vacation Bible School, Men’s Choir, Pastor’s Aide Committee, Production and Publicity Committee, Program Committee, Quiltmaking and Crafts, Willie Hill Mass Choir, Sunbeam Choir, Vessels of Virtue Ministry (previously known as Matrons), Wedding Ministry, and Youth Department.
Truly our history is a long and illustrious one spanning 139 years. Our worship and fellowship is one of love, rich in relationship with God and family. Growing together, we worship, we serve, we learn, and we reach out to our world with life-transforming truth of the gospel. God willing, our heritage will continue to grow and flourish.
1876 – 1902
Rev. Boston Miles
Rev. Joe. Flowers
Rev. J. B. Borders
1902 – 1920
Rev. E. L. Gore
Rev. A. J. Riley
Rev. G. Carwell Armstrong
Rev. Troutman Johnson
Rev. W. P. King
Rev. J. B. Miller
Rev. J. H. Smith
Rev. I. S. H. Allen 1920 – 1936
Rev. James C. Cook 1936 – 1978
Rev. T. L. Holston 1978 – 1978
Rev. Charlie R. Parham 1979 – 1986
Rev. Willie Hill 1987 – 2015
Rev. Adrian J. Chester 2015 – Present