About Us: Staff Biographies and Church History
Mt. Bethel was constituted on Saturday, February 13, 1836 with 15 members. The church met for worship on the second Sunday of the month. Services were held for some time under a brush arbor. In 1837, a small log house was built for a place of worship. Because the only flooring which it boasted was wheat straw over the bare ground, it was given the name "Straw Pen". Some years later a larger and more substantial building was erected at a total cost of $40.00. This building was used until 1873. By 1838 the total membership had grown to 35. The first burial in the cemetery was a fifteen year old young man in 1838. Later in 1839, the church baptized 24 and had a total membership of 58.
By the year of 1848, the mailing address was shown as the Craytonville Post Office. The membership had risen to 63. The church continued to progess over the next years. Sunday School was organized in 1870 with 30 members. In 1873, the third building was erected to seat 400 people. This building was made of wood with clapboard siding. The church progressed the next couple of years to 173 members. As hard as it is to believe, the pastor's salary was $50.00 per year in 1877. The membership was 242, and a gift of $2.65 was given to foreign missions. In 1880, they gave $10.00 to foreign missions, 85 cents to home missions, and $44.00 to Association. By 1882, the pastor's salary had risen to $100.00 per year. In 1883, Mt. Bethel reported having 2 Sunday Schools in 2 locations with one school reporting 61 enrolled and the other school reporting 88 enrolled. In 1885, a new school house was built on church grounds. During 1888, the church obtained 2 services a month on the 2nd and 4th Sundays. In 1891, the church raised $25.00 for the purpose of assisting in the building of an orphanage as well as $5.00 for the purchase of a Bible.
From those first formative years, God put everything together for Mt. Bethel. As they gave to missions and took care of those around them, God blessed and the church grew in spirit and number. In April of 1912, a baptismal pool was constructed on church grounds. 1924 brought a new brick building that would seat 1000 at a cost of $12,850.00. It was dedicated in May of 1925 and was debt-free. Membership had climbed to 626. The church was being blessed and continued on. In 1946, the church added a parsonage and the first full time pastor was added. A new educational building was built in 1962, and the cost of this building was $57,944.00.
God's hand was upon the church. They had built the buildings and continued to grow. The 70's, 80's, and 90's brought growth, and yes, some hard times. Then the years of 2000 came. God had a Family Life Center and a new bus. We have watched as the church continues to progress forward. God is adding to the church daily. We are an old organized church that was, and is even now, reaching people for Christ.
Loving, Laboring and Looking for our Lord.
Mt. Bethel Baptist Church
I have served as a Ministry Assistant at Mt. Bethel since September 1997. In my spare time I enjoy reading, writing, spending time with my family, and snow-hunting in Highlands, NC. Currently, I serve as secretary for the Upstate Chapter of American Christian Writers.
I have one daughter, Heather, and son-in-law, Nick. God has blessed me with three extraordinary gifts: Ethan, Claire, and Cameron (my grandchildren).
My favorite verse of scripture is Jeremiah 33:3: “Call unto me and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not.”
With excitement, I look forward to traveling on an incredible adventure with Mt. Bethel, and discovering the ‘great and mighty’ things God has designed for them.
In Christian Service,
It is a great honor to serve the Lord at Mt. Bethel Baptist Church. God has blessed Mt. Bethel with much talent and it is my prayer that we continue to discover and use our talents for His glory. I believe our greatest days are still ahead of us. I am looking forward with great anticipation to see just what God is going to do through the music department.
My prayer is that the Lord will speak encouragement, healing and blessings to our congregation and those that worship with us through the words of the songs that we sing; and also that we sing to praise, honor, and worship the King of kings and the Lord of lords. His word says, "If I be lifted up I will draw all men unto me" and that is my goal to lift him up and see the lost are saved.
In HIS service,
Joshua Hawkins, Assistant Music Director
Ricky and Elizabeth Rice met in high school and married December 28, 1968. They have two daughters Stacy Lowe and Melanie Rice. Melanie went home to be with the Lord on November 2, 1990 at seventeen years old. They have three grandchildren Justin, Blake and Briana which are the joy of their life. They contribute their love for each other as a gift from God.
At age 40, Christ took control of Ricky's life on February 26, 1990. Since then he has been living for Christ to the best of his ability and desiring God's will for his life. On that day he committed to serving GOD with all his heart no matter what it took. He served as deacon at Second Baptist Church for 3 terms.
Ricky worked at Owens Corning Fiberglass for 40 years as a Mechanical Technical Leader. In 1993 he became a part time youth director at Second Baptist Church and served in that position for 15 years. GOD gave him a heart for the youth and children, which led him to Mt. Bethel.
GOD called Ricky and Elizabeth to Mt. Bethel on September 1, 2008. Ricky’s desire was to be completely obedient to God and what he is calling him to do. Seeing youth come to Christ and to be more like Jesus is his upmost target. Ricky’s desire is to see children and youth in church and dedicates his life in trying to come up with new ways to reach them.