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The History of Beulah Baptist Church 1896- Present
 
 

"All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again." Ecclesiastes. 1:7

A river starts as a tiny trickle on a slope. Rainfall, snowfall, a spring, or the melting of glacier ice may be its source. As it flows downhill, it is joined by other trickles to make a brook. Other brooks add their waters to form a stream which broadens into a creek. As the water continues its downward journey, it gains in volume and becomes a river (in Compton’s Britannica, 2016).

The Beulah River began as a small trickle in June of 1896, when Reverend W. F. Paschall, Elbert Lofton, Sandy Thomas, Easter Williams, Eliza Gaither, Will Rucker, Lou Reese, and Lizzie Goldsmith gathered in Deacon Charlie Oliver’s grocery store on Mayson Avenue in the Edgewood Community, located in the northeast section of Atlanta, Georgia. Prayers were prayed and regular prayer meetings started. Out of the fellowship, seeds of faith sprouted, initiating the organization of a church and Beulah became a Brook. In November 1896, Reverend W. F Paschall formerly proposed the organization of the Beulah Baptist Church (Isaiah 62:4). The following ministers were present: Reverend T. A Seals, Reverend Dorsey Gordon, Reverend Sam Barnes, Reverend Henry White and Reverend Paul Scruggs, and Beulah became a Stream. Sister Lizzie Allen became the first baptized member and Sister Lizzie Goldsmith was the first mother of the church. The Women’s Home Mission Society, headed by Sister Lula Paschall, and the Sunday school, were the earliest auxiliaries formed at the church.

New ideas, goals and challenges were accepted by the congregation. Land was purchased for $100.00 at the corner of Wesley Avenue and Hardee Street. During the construction of the wooden structure, believers were added and the congregation grew as they worshipped under a Brush Arbor. As the membership continued to increase, the need for a larger and more stable edifice arose. At this time, the wooden structure was enlarged and encased in bricks and the Beulah Stream became a River. Reverend Paschall continued his powerful preaching and faithful leadership for 33 years and the Beulah River kept rolling. Reverend E. M. Johnson, a dynamic leader and eloquent speaker, was called as the Pastor from 1929 to 1935. He was succeeded by Reverend R. J. Hawk from 1935 to 1936. Reverend C. A. Moore served as Pastor from 1937 to 1942 and Reverend B. R. Watts was the Pastor from 1942 to 1948.

After the death of Reverend Watts, Reverend Edward David Thomas was called as Pastor in 1948. He was a powerful and dynamic leader. The church continued to grow and prosper. His progressive thinking was instilled in the minds of the congregation. A building fund was established as the church took on the task of constructing a seventy-six thousand dollar educational annex. Under his leadership, the first organ was purchased, new pews and carpet were installed, the first scholarships were given to college freshmen, and additional property was acquired. Beulah became the MIGHTY Beulah River.

We thank God for Reverend E. D. Thomas and his 26 years of leadership as an humble and beloved Pastor. In January of 1975, the church was able to retire him with a pension so he could enjoy his later years until his death in January of 1978. The hearts of many cherish the memory of this mighty man of God.

At various points, a river changes its course as it flows to its final destination. In 1975, the Beulah River changed its course when on the first Sunday in June, the congregation moved from 1536 Hardee Street to a beautiful edifice located at 2046 Sage Lane, in the southeast section of Atlanta, Georgia. It was a glorious occasion, long to be remembered by many.

After Reverend E.D. Thomas retired, Reverend Littleton Price was called as the Pastor from 1976-1977. Reverend Jennie Jones followed him as Interim Pastor. She was the first female to serve in this capacity.

In 1978, Reverend Jimmie L. Smith, a youthful and dynamic preacher, was called. During his 12-year pastorate, he was a modern and progressive leader. He reinstated prayer service, bible study, tutoring for students, classes, new member classes and counseling. Four vans and two buses were also purchased. Two additional worship services, 7:45 a.m. and 9:15a.m., were added under Rev. Smith’s leadership. In order not to conflict with Sunday School, the 9:15a.m. service was later discontinued.

The creation of Boy and Girl Scout troops and various sports programs further evidenced Beulah's commitment to community outreach. Several auxiliaries and departments were formed and the expansion of the church parking lot was completed. One of the great highlights of Reverend Smith’s pastorate was the burning of the church mortgage on January 27, 1985.

With another change in the River’s flow in 1990, Reverend Zeddie Scott served as Interim Pastor from 1990 until 1991.

On August 29, 1991, the church confirmed Reverend Jerry D. Black, Sr. as God’s divine appointment for this generation. In November 1991, this anointed man of God arrived with an earnest commitment to God and an humble spirit to serve. “Sleeves rolled up,” Pastor Black accepted the call to lead God’s people as a true servant-leader.

The charismatic leadership of Pastor Black has led to the forming of many Christ-centered ministries, the organization of the Department of Christian Education, the growth of the Missions Department and the missionary work of the church, prompting the addition of “Missionary” to the church’s name. Mission-minded, the church became Beulah Missionary Baptist Church.

As the church membership and attendance increased at the church’s location on Sage Lane, which later became Beulah Lane, Pastor Black shared with the congregation, his vision to construct a new edifice. The congregation wholeheartedly embraced his vision and the work began to make the vision a reality. Blessings were showered on the Beulah family. Upon purchasing a former golf course, the land for its next home, the Beulah Lane location was sold quicker than expected, and Pastor Black led the church to its interim location, a storefront on Memorial Drive on the first Sunday in December 1996. In its interim location, reconstructed to house a 1200-seat sanctuary, the visionary leader was preparing his people for their home on Clifton Springs Road. In its temporary home, the church family grew spiritually, numerically, and financially.

The tiny trickle that began in 1896, the Mighty Beulah River, once again changed its course as it moved to its third location in 103 years, 2340 Clifton Springs Road, on October 31, 1999. A few years later, the vision continued and the Ground-Breaking Ceremony for the Beulah Community Family Life Center was held in February of 2005. The state-of-the-art facility was completed and opened in September of 2006, with a gymnasium, swimming pool, exercise rooms, youth lounge, game room, library, computer room and other amenities to serve the community and Beulah families.

Under the spiritual focus and dynamic leadership of Pastor Black, the Winston Manor Children’s Church was restructured and strengthened to continue to train and grow children. The R.O.C.K. (Relying On Christ The King) Youth Ministry was established to minister to Beulah's teens. Beulah became known as the church— "Helping You Get Where God Wants You to Be", as the birth of the television ministry allowed Beulah to reach the homes of thousands. With the introduction of LIVE streaming, Beulah is, now, a worldwide ministry.

The 114th Church Anniversary Sunday in November 2010 was also Try God Sunday. Pastor Black challenged the Body of Christ to stand on the Word of God. He led the church in becoming a church according to the Word of God. Thus, all assessments were ended and the church became a 100% tithing church. In 2011, Pastor Black further charged the people of God to move from trying to trusting and from believing to knowing. He envisioned the church at the next level. Pastor Black’s preaching and teaching have encouraged, empowered, and equipped the church, as it has been manifested in changes in the order of worship services, the ministries, and the Annual Days. With no financial obligation, the spirit of worship and praise became the sole purpose for celebrating Annual Days. Pastor Black yielded to the divine order of God and the people of God followed. In 201, Pastor Black, again, in obedience to the will of God and with the sanction of the church body, eliminated celebrating Annual Day with the exception of Church Anniversary, Youth Day and Family and Friends Day. God has favored His people with blessings, individually and collectively, as the church membership and stewardship continue to increase.

A visionary leader, Pastor Jerry D. Black passionately desires each member and every ministry to define and fulfill their divine purpose. In 2014, a milestone was created as Beulah hosted it’s first Day of Service. In 2016, The Year of Purpose, Pastor Black set a goal to have each member actively engaging in ministry and each ministry serving according to the Will of God. God commands us to serve the “least of these” and that is what Beulah Missionary Baptist Church is committed to do.

Beulah continues to make kingdom-living its primary focus and engages in steadfast progress while simultaneously celebrating what God has done, is doing, and will do. We praise God for the progress of our church. We remain dedicated to the cause of Christ and to our destiny - the Mighty Beulah River flowing to the throne of God.