This has been her nature and her mission -- to be a House of God. Bethel Baptist Church has stood as a beacon leading souls to Christ since 1867. Our spiritual walk has allowed many exciting and wonderful things to take place during these years. We are pleased to share a few with you through this site.
Sixteen pastors, including current pastor Michael W. Jackson, have led the congregation at Bethel.
Once know as the Old Sassafras Stage Church, Bethel is the oldest independent African American congregation in Sassafras and one of the oldest in Gloucester County. Bethel dates from the 19th century. One prayer meeting community know for large gatherings under bush arbors on the Lord’s Day was known as “Sassafras Stage.” Following the abolition of slavery in 1865, a former slave owner, Dr. J. Catlett Stubbs, donated an acre of land in Sassafras for the Black worshipers to have a place of their own to hold their services. On July 16, 1887 the first building was erected not too far from where our present church stands. It was built with an altar railing, pulpit and gallery.
James F. Lemon
The congregation grew rapidly with the consolidation of five previous prayer meeting communities swelling the membership to 950 in 1886 during the pastorate of our second pastor, John W. Booth. There was need for a larger building. In 1889, our present sanctuary was built. Most of the work was free and voluntary with many materials being donated. The cornerstone having been laid June 12, 1889; November 26th was a day of great rejoicing as the congregation marched from the old church to the new church singing "Amazing Grace."
Bethel represents one of the oldest independent black congregations in Gloucester
The Virginia State Department of Historic Resources recognized Bethel as a historical site in 2001. This designation included its listing on the state’s list of historic places and an unveiling and dedication of a state highway marker.
\Beth'el\ n.\Hebrew meaning
House of God
“Pastor Mike” has been licensed to preach since 2001 and was ordained in 2003. He is certified in Religious Studies, Proclamation, Church Administration, Music and Pastoral Care. He was installed as the pastor of Bethel Baptist on November 15, 2008.