The late Rev. G.L. Lillard organized the Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church in August 1922. Shortly after the church was organized, plans were made to come into a building of a storefront type located at 934 South Illinois Street. The Church was named by Sis. Emma
Lillard, wife of Pastor Lillard.
In 1927, the Church was remodeled under the pastorate of the organizer Rev. Lillard. While the church was under reconstruction, Bethesda worshipped in a tent on Maple Street, which later changed to Kenwood Ave. Rev. Lillard served the Bethesda Church for eight years.
During the early thirties, Bethesda called two Pastors to serve as our undershepherds. Rev. R.F. Gregory and Rev. Lumpkins both were a blessing to our church.
In the fall of 1935 Rev. G.M. Mimms, Associate Minister of the Mt. Paran Baptist Church was officially called to Pastoralship. Pastor Mimms served Bethesda faithfully for fifty-seven years. Under Pastor Mimms leadership, the church’s indebtedness was paid off, and a new worship center was built in 1970. Auxiliaries were added, we grew spiritually, numerically, and financially. Pastor Mimms was a Pastor who was loved by all and departed this life at the age of ninety-seven and was still active in Pastoralship until his death in 1992.
In the summer of 1993, Rev. L.A. Manuel III was called to Pastor our church. He is the fifth Pastor in our 93-year history. Under Pastor Manuel’s leadership, our church has seen significant growth and development spiritually, numerically and financially.
Under Pastor Manuel’s leadership, the church remodeled the sanctuary and purchased property. Bethesda has become a focused ministry as we try to minister holistically to men, women, and the community. Unfortunately, due to health challenges, the Lord called Rev. Manuel home in May, 2016.
After a tedious period of pastoral search, the church selected Rev. Timothy D. Ramsey, Sr. as their 6th Pastor. Rev. Ramsey hails from Detroit, Mi. but he and his family had been living in Nashville, TN eight years prior, where he served as Assistant Pastor to Rev. Darin Freeman, Sr., at the Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church.