Our History – 2nd Era


History - Second Era


In 1949, Reverend Dr. Havard M. Chapman became the third pastor of Bethlehem. With "improvement" being Dr. Chapman's watchword, the following occurred under his administration:

  • renovation and expansion of the physical plant including a Sunday School annex with offices and a choir room;
  • a large choir loft was constructed behind the pulpit including new seats and a large stained glass window;
  • stained glass windows were installed throughout the church;
  • new pews, pulpit furniture, a piano, an air conditioning unit, and an acoustic tile ceiling were installed;
  • a church steeple was erected;
  • the recreation building (the second church) was renovated;
  • the Flower Club was established;
  • the EverReady Chorus and The Rosebuds (currently the VIP's) were organized;
  • the New Members Club (presently the Welcoming Lights), and the Helping Hand Club (presently the Willing Workers) were created.

Due to illness, Pastor Chapman was granted a leave of absence in 1973. When he could no longer fulfill his pastoral duties, Reverend Henry Chase and other associate ministers of Bethlehem stepped in and served us diligently fulfilling the duties of Pastor Chapman in his stead. During this time:

  • the Sunday School increased;
  • four deacons were ordained and added to the Deacon Board;
  • and in April 1973, a Sunday School singing group, The Stars of Bethlehem was organized.

In 1974 Pastor Chapman retired after having served the congregation for 25 years.


In January 1975, Bethlehem extended the call to Reverend James A. Kearse to
become our fourth pastor. Under Reverend Kearse's leadership:

  • A new parsonage was built
  • an 8:00 a.m. worship service was implemented;
  • a Bible Study and Witnessing Class were organized;
  • three new deacons were ordained and added to the Deacon Board; and
  • Several new auxiliaries were established:
      • The Deaconess Board
      • The Pastoral Choir
      • Baptist Training Union (BTU)
      • Nurses Unit

In 1984, Pastor Kearse resigned to go and assist his brother, Pastor Logan Kearse at the Cornerstone Church of God in Christ located in Baltimore, Maryland.

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