Description: Photograph of the Texas Historical Commission marker for Bethel Baptist Church in Whitewright, Texas. Text: This congregation grew from an early prayer group established in the Bethel community in 1875. A small group met in the schoolhouse, which also served as a community center, for weekly prayer and bible study. On April 16, 1884, nine men and women met to organize the Bethel Baptist Church. These charter members were Mr. and Mrs. J. P. Autrey, Mr. and Mrs. E. F. Jones, and Mrs. Sarah Miller. The Rev. Bob Thomas served as first pastor. The small congregation grew rapidly and soon had more than 150 members. In 1897, this property was deeded to Bethel Baptist Church by Mr. and Mrs. J. P. Autrey, in the same year. During the pastorate of J. M. Harder, a one-room sanctuary was constructed. A 1918 storm damaged the building, but it was repaired and the congregation continued to worship there until another was constructed in 1937. Throughout its history, Bethel Baptist Church has served as a focal point for the small community. The congregation continues to maintain the ideals and traditions of its pioneer founders.
Creator: West, Carolyn Effie
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