Bethlehem St. James United Methodist Church  

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Rev. Pattie E. Gordon, Pastor
Johns Island Parish
Building Disciples of Christ for the Transformation of Johns Island, South Carolina

About

Building Disciples of Christ for the transformation of Johns Island, South Carolina.  We are a church of and with the larger community.


Information regarding the birth of St. James is very sketchy. What is known is prior to 1883, St. James members met in bush tent on what was then called Long Hill, also known as Yates Plantation which was part of Jeremiah Yates Plantation dating back to 1831.  This structure was said to be a Bush Tent and similar to the old African way of life.  The setup of the church was then basicaly missionary camp meetings.

Funeral services were held at the gravesite with the eulogy being preached one year to the day of the death.  Wake services and the body of the deceased lay-in-state at the home of the deceased until the burial, if not at the Community Society Halls where coffins and caskets were stored.

Former Bethlehem UMC
A few dedicated members who saw it fit to extend God's love, joy, and word to the people of the area founded Bethlehem Methodist Church in the year 1901.  The wooden structure was constructed on Bohicket Road on an acre and half of land in an area of which wouldf be of easy access by the people of who did not have transportion.  This structure held up to 150  people.

The Former Bethlehem UMC
The Former St. James UMC
Located on iconic Main Road.   
Located on scenic Bohicket Road, nestled among a grove of pecan and live oak trees. 

Ministering to the needs of these people was the Reverend T.L. Hardy, the first minister of the church from the year in which it was organized until 1919.
Under Reverend Hardy's supervision and direction, certain classes were formed.  The Leaders of these classes were to assist in spreading God's word to the sick and shut-ins and to help those who were planning on becoming members of the church by assisting them in learning certain rules and laws of the Methodist Church.  The leaders would give instruction in the use of he Bible and the meanings of scriptures and spirituals.

The scriptures, fo example, reflected the way in which Bible stories and the gospel messages could be invested with intense meaning.  They were songs of faith and hope, not coded protest songs, nor celebrations of specific events.
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Ministering to the Needs of the People

Ministers following the God-sent Reverend Hardy were:   Reverend Norman, who ministered from 1912-1920; the Reverend Wright, who ministered from 1920-1928; the Reverend Mouzon, who ministered from 1928-1929, and the Reverend J.S. Richards, who ministered from 1928-1935.  

The sixth minister of the church was Reverend G. C. Brown, who ministered from 1935-1967.  During his years of ministering, the wooden structure had become in need of some major and minor repairs.  In the year of 1941, under the supervision of Dr. Bartley, the labor to better the church was donated by the churches male members.  These repairs lasted until 1964.
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The eighth minister, Rev. Alonzo Clark Jenkins, ministered to the church and the community from 1982 - 1989.  The ninth minister, Rev. John Wesley Evens, ministered to the church and the community from 1989 - 1990.

The tenth minister of the church was the Rev. Talmadge Stanton, Sr., who ministered to the church and the community fom June 1990 - June 2002.  Under the leadership of Rev. Stanton, some accomplishments of the church were: the climate control system, the speaker system, the remodeling of the pastor's study, the Sunday school classrooms, fellowship hall, kitchen, and bathrooms. 

Some other accomplishments of the church under the leadership of Rev. Stanton, were the clearing of the church's property in 1997 and the installation of stained glass windows in 2000.  The stained glass windows in the choir loft were donated in memoy of Bro. Harold Brown. Sr. and Sis. Rosa Mary Smith Buncum by Sis. Ernestine B.  Brown.

In 2001, the members of the church remodeled the fellowship hall, the bathrooms, and added a pantry to the kitchen.

Earlier in 2001, Rev. Stanton had an unfortunate accident, and underwent surgery.  During his time out and of recovery, the retired Rev Nathan A. McClennon was asked to serve as the interim minister of Bethlehem,  (and the John's Island Parish), until June 2002. 
A New Home

In February 1967 the church was completed, and the members moved in on February 5th.
The seventh .minister of Bethlehem was Rev. Dr. Willis T. Goodwin, who ministered fom 1967 through June of 1982.  During his years at Bethlehem, the members of the church, along with his help, added on the east and west wings to the church

The west wing once housed the Sea Island Comprehensive Health Care Center.  The health center relocated in years that followed.  In 1977 the west wing was then occupied by another health care organization, which was known as the Phoebe Taylor Memorial Health Center.  Dr. Harold Elliot was the primary physician who serviced the community diligently until 1998.

The east wing housed the Rural Mission offices, which now has a new location.  Rural Mission was directed by Mrs. Linda Gadsden then, and she still holds that office today.

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Appointed by the SC Annual Conference in June 2002 to Pastor Bethlehem and the Johns Island Parish was Reverend Angeline Jones Simmons.  Under the leadership of Rev. Simmons, during the months of January-March of 2004, the sanctuary and educational wing of the chuch were renovated.  This project was entrusted to Sea Island Builders, under the direction of Mr. Marion Lee.

In January of 2011 due to Rev. Simmons health, an associate pastor, Rev. Tony L. Richardson, Sr. was appointed to the John's Island Parish. Reverend Angeline Jones Simmons later retired in June of 2013.
We, the members of Bethlehem St. James United Methodist Church, are blessed to have as our present Pastor, The Reverend Leonard Huggins, Jr.  May God bless him and his family mightily.

Rev. Angelin Jones Simmons
God's Grace