Mt. Bethel Church Celebrates 100 Years

The Mt. Bethel Free Will Baptist Church, located on Highway 36 about five miles east of Rose Bud, celebrated its 100th anniversary with a homecoming August 12, 2001. A printed history prepared for the century celebration by pastor Robert W. "Bob" Brown indicates that Mt. Bethel Church was organized "the second Sunday in August" 1901 with seven charter members – Z.T. Helms, R.B. Fergeson, C. Ballender, L.L. Helms, T. McClure, M.B. Fergeson and S.L. Mason. The church was founded by Rev. G.W. Williams in the home of a Missionary Baptist, Bro. "Billie" Gresham.

Other notes from the Minutes of Mt. Bethel Church:

March 4, 1903 – "Samuel Duncan named church clerk."

June 24, 1903 – "S. Duncan, R.B. Fergeson, Z.H.Helms appointed trustees."

July 1905 – "W.R. Flecher licensed to preach."

The Minutes opened in the following fashion: "The Freewill Baptist worshippers at Mt. Bethel met the Saturday before the 4th Sunday."

June 27, 1908 – "called Jim Moore as pastor."

November 22, 1909 – "Sacrament and footwashing."

December 24, 1909 – "Elected Will Moore pastor but never said he'd serve yet."

May 28, 1910 – "Sunday preaching rained out."

[Undated] – "Mr. Moore died while preaching Mrs. Chandler’s funeral. Vernon Cooper was song leader standing nearby and Bro. Moore fell into his arms. The funeral was at Mr. and Mrs. Warren Chandler’s home."

August 1910 – "From the Mt. Bethel Church to New Hope quarterly meeting. Here comes the greeting from Mt. Bethel. Our church is in good standing so far as I know. State of religion is good. Interest in the church good. We have prayer meeting every Saturday night. Names of delegates are Bro. Lee Holleman and wife, Bro. Will Cooper and Bro. Vernon Cooper. We have 72 resident members and 8 non-resident members. We would welcome the Quarterly to our church. May God bless us all." - Bro. Jim Moore mod., Mary Cooper, church clerk

1915 Membership

Mt. Bethel Free Will Baptist Church October 1, 1915

Alim, Bro. Albert

Alim, Sister Emia

Bass, Bular

Bass, Lenard

Bates, Bro. Frank

Bates, Sister Ida

Bradford, Bro. D.

Bradford, Bro. F.

Bradford, Bro. G.W.

Bradford, Sister M.A.

Carter, Bro. Andy

Carter, Sister Minie

Chandler, Bro. Warren

Chandler, Sister

Chandler, Sister Jessie

Chandler, Sister M.A.

Cooper, Bro. Vinan

Cooper, Bro. Will

Cooper, Sister Mary

Cooper, Sister Ruby

Cooper, Sister Seria

Cooper, Vernon

Cooper, Will

Covington, Jessie

Covington, Lizzie

Crocket, Bro. Ben

Crocket, Bro. J.D.

Crocket, Bro. Lenard

Crocket, Sister Jamie

Crocket, Sister Nanie

Duncan, Bro. Sam

Duncan, Nora

Duncan, Roy

Duncan, Sister Bertha

Fergerson, Bro. Ran

Fergeson, Bro. Andy

Fergeson, Sister M.B.

Fergeson, Sister Viola

Fletcher, Sister Elizebeth

Flether, Sister B. Cooper

Furgison, Pinkey

Furgison, Wiley

Good, Sister Amy

Hartsell, Bro. Humphrey

Hartsell, Sister Mertle

Hiffington, Dourie

Holleman, Ava

Holleman, Bro. Henry

Holleman, Bro. Jack

Holleman, Bro. Lee

Holleman, Jim

Holleman, Sister Mint

Holleman, Sister Paselee

Johnson, Bro. Isic

Johnson, Bro. Posey

Johnson, Louis

Johnson, Posey

Johnson, Sister America

Johnson, Sister Isebell

Johnson, Sister S.F.

King, J.

Lamb, Bro. Arker

Lamb, Sister Stela

Mason, Clint

Mason, Luisia

Mason, Sister M.C.

McCary, Sister Emir

McCourt, Sister Bertha

Moore, J.S.

Moore, Sister

Moten, Sister Horton

Norman, Bro. Boone

Norman, Sister Minie

Norton, Bro. Claud

Nunn, Bro. Balinder

Oliver, Bro. Grover

Oliver, Sister May

Raney, Bro. Frank

Rhyma, Bro. Will

Selvege, Sister Elez

Smith, Bro. John

Smith, Sister H.B.

Sparord, Bro. John

Sparrow, Bro. Jeff

Sparrow, Sister Ethel

Sparrow, Sister Judia

Sparrow, Sister May

Spurlin, Bro. Loyce

Spurlin, Sister Lurl

Thacker, Ima

Thacker, Lases

Troxell, Bro. Carl

Troxell, Bro. Curg

Troxell, Bro. Frank

Troxell, Sister Burl

Troxell, Sister Lindy

Troxell, Sister Nelie

Varner, Bro. W.L.

Varner, Edner

Varner, Maudie

Varner, Sister L.A.

Varner, Sister Pearl

Varnie, Sister Maudie

Walker, Carmel

Walker, Roy

Wallace, Bro. Chris

Wallace, Sister E.A.

Wallace, Sister M.V.

Weeks, Jim

Weeks, Lilion

Weeks, Lular

Williams, Bettie

Wortham, Sister Cecil


August 27, 1910 – "Elected Will Moore for pastor but never said he would serve yet."

July 22, 1911 – Up until this point people were appointed to each Quarterly Meeting. At this meeting the minutes read, "called for volunteers as Delegates to Quarterly Meeting…"

September 1919 – "elected Bro. John Lybarger as pastor."

November 1912 – "Donating to the pastor $7.25 in cash. Received .25 for stove."

November 3, 1912 – "Elected Jim Moore as pastor."

November 24, 1912 – "H.B. Troxell, Frank Bates, Dave Crockett ordained as deacons for church."

March 2, 1913 – "The pastor appointed the Officers of the church to go and talk to some of the members that wasn’t living up to duty."

August 3, 1913 – "Turned Bro. SD loose as trustee and put Bro. Will Cooper in his place. Jim Moore elected pastor."

December 20, 1913 – "Will Moore elected pastor."

August 29, 1914 – "…had a good quarterly. Full delegation every church in the quarterly was represented by letter or visible reporters. One minister licensed to preach. After quarterly was over carried on a 10-day revival which was quite a success. Several conversions and quite a few backsliders reclaimed. 37 additions in this church. Meeting was held by Bro. Will and Bro. Jim Moore."

November 8, 1914 – "Bro. Eligh Spurlin and Bro. Henry Holleman appointed as deacons. They were ordained December 6, 1914."

December 6, 1914 – "… after service ordained to deacons Bro. Eligh Spurlin and Bro. Henry Holleman."

October 2, 1915 - "Jim Moore elected pastor then made up $5.25 for Bro. Moore."

October 1916 – "Elected J.S. Moore pastor."

February 17, 1917 – "Deacons to be ordained Sunday night Bro. Waren Chandler and Grover Oliver."

October 1917 – "Bro. Moore and Bro. Nowell nominated for pastor … Bro. Zeb Nowel elected pastor."

December 1917 – "Bro. J.S. Moore elected pastor for the year."

July 1918 – "The Free Will Baptist at Mt. Bethel did not have a meeting Reason: Pastor did not come."
September 1918 – "Elected delegates to Quarterly … then instructed delegates to vote against assessing the AR members $1 to pay for a home mission man."

November 1918 – "Bro. Moore and Bro. Cooper nominated for pastor for next year. Bro. Moore got 7 votes, Bro. Moore 4 votes."

Through November 1919 the minutes opened "The Free Will Worshippers met at Mt. Bethel…" The new clerk, America Johnson, opened them, "We the Church of God known as Free Will Baptist met at Mt. Bethel Church on Saturday…"

September 1919 – "Motion was made for this church to withdraw from the Quarterly and organize a new one. Motion carried."
October 24-27, 1919 – "The twenty-second Annual Session convened with the Mt. Bethel Baptist Church in White County, Arkansas. L.C. Doyle of Grubbs was moderator and J.S. Moore of Quitman was the assistant. J.N. Johnson o Blaine was the clerk, and George W. Burris of Russellville was the corresponding clerk. Associations represented were: Antioch, Arkansas, Old Mt. Zion, New Hope, Polk Bayou, Tyronza, Zion Hope #1, Zion Hope #2, Union, Little Missouri River and New Mt. Zion. The Post Oak Grove General Baptist Association represented by corresponding delegate C.F. Wood. Sermons were by G.C. Bland, J.H.P. Jones, A.J. Rowlett, J.M. Patrick, O.C. Hunt, H.W. Wood, R.A. Johnson, S.A. Morgan, L.C. Doyle, C.F. Wood, J.S. Moore and R.B. Venable."

Singer and well-known music composer Luther G. Presley conducted many of the song services during this session. Clerk J.N. Doyle recorded, "The song service was conducted by Luther G. Presley with such force that it touched the hearts and lives of all present. Preaching by Elders S.A. Morgan and L.C. Doyle. Text: 1 Timothy 4:16. These brothers held the congregation spellbound for three hours.

"Petitioner letters were called for, and a letter from Union Association was received and referred to the following committee: J.W. Blackwell, J.M. Patrick and L.C. Doyle."

Other interesting resolutions were:

1. "Whereas we find that the first Freewill Baptist Church in America was organized at New Durham, N.H., June 30, 1780; Therefore, be it resolved by the Freewill Baptist Association of Arkansas, held with the Mt. Bethel Church near Rose Bud, White County, Arkansas, October 24-27, 1919: That we hereafter hold said day in commemoration of the birthday of said church. And, we urge each local church throughout the great state of Arkansas to hold said day as a holiday be devoting same to said church, by congregating at the several churches, and spending the day together in social and sacred worship."

2. "We find many weak churches, and destitute places in Arkansas, that have no Freewill Baptist churches or ministers. Be it resolved: (A) that we use our means and prayers to supply said destitute places with our doctrine. Therefore, we request each minister of this Association to devote at least one Sunday in each month to Home Mission work by keeping up a regular appointment in some destitute place, (B) Resolve further: That the Executive Committee be enlarged to one member from each subordinate association. Said committee shall have oversight of the mission work in destitute places, but have no power to contract any debt on the Association without being given authority by the Association while in session."

The newly organized Executive Committee was composed of: H.A. Colbert, chairman, Hoxie; W.F. McGee, Atkins; H.P. Maxfield, Waldron; J.P. Doyle, Grubbs; George Been, Spring Valley; W.R. Burnett, Hill Top; Henry Holleman, Rose Bud; J.H. Meek, Rye; Q.A. Bullard, Whitten; P.M. Voss, Appleton; O.D. Dugan, Midland; and J.D. Holt, Marble.

The Committee on Literature submitted the following report: "For Sabbath school literature, we recommend the Bible to all adults and lesson cards to children. We also recommend our church papers, ‘The Free Will Baptist’ of Ayden, North Carolina, and ‘The Gospel Searchlight’ f Shawnee, Oklahoma. We suggest that one of these papers be in every Freewill Baptist home in Arkansas. We also find with our Association, a noted singer and writer, Luther G. Presley of Pangburn, Arkansas, whom we deem worthy of our consideration, as being competent of composing and compiling sacred songs, suitable for Sunday school and church worship. Our hearts and our prayers are with Brother Presley in the spread of the Gospel through songs. (W.F. McGee, chairman)." History of Arkansas Free Will Baptist, pgs. 65-66, David A. Joslin, editor.

November 1919 – "Brother S.A. Morgan elected pastor."

May 16, 1920 – "$2.00 collection."

September 19, 1920 – "America Johnson was elected clerk and treasurer. Bro. J.S. Moore was elected pastor for the coming year."

October 16, 1920 – Bro. Morgan preached a fine discourse which finished his year of pastoral work at this place and he credited the church for $60.40."

November 13, 1920 – "…took up collection to pay for the church Book and pen. Received $2.07. Donations for our pastor: Jessie Chandler 50 cuts, Mrs. Chandler 50, S.F. Johnson 75, H.T. Holleman, 55 – 60, G.C. Oliver 50, L.D. Crockett 50, S. Duncan 50, Lula Weeks 25, America Johnson 25, E.A. Wallace 50, S.P. Johnson 50, Warrior Chandler 50, Lee Holleman 1.00."

October 8, 1921 – "S.A. Morgan elected pastor."

November 26, 1921 – "Collection $8.50."

February 11, 1922 – "Collection $10.00."

April 9, 1922 – "Collection $2.75."

May 13, 1922 – "Collection $4.75."

June 6, 1922 – "Collection $2.10."

July 9, 1922 – "Collection $4.60."

August 13, 1922 – "Collection $1.75."

September 21, 1922 – "Collection $2.00."

November 12, 1922 – "Collection $10.50."

November 12, 1922 – "Collection for one year to S.A. Morgan $45.20."

October 7, 1922 – "J.S. Moore elected pastor."

March 25, 1923 – "…had preaching by our pastor Bro. Moore – failed to give his scripture lesson or text but preached a good sermon."

September 1, 1923 – "Motion and second for the delegate to vote against Land $50.00 that the state association ask for – motion carried."

27th Annual Session, 1914, Arkansas Free Will Baptist – "The Resolutions Committee submitted the following resolutions: 1. That we put on a campaign for one thousand dollars to be raised by the next session of this body, and that the Financial Agent be empowered to visit all the district associations, and appoint financial agents, who in turn, shall be empowered to help to select a board in each church for the purpose of raising this one thousand dollars to be used as a Home Missionary Fund. Said money shall be deposited in banks on time deposits until needed." Arkansas Free Will Baptist History, D. Joslin, pg. 71.

November 24, 1923 – "Nominations for pastor: J.S. Moore (18) and S.A. Morgan (8). Bro. S.A. Moore elected. Collections for the past year for Bro. Moore $42.95."

November 8, 1924 – "Church cotton patch brought $196.24, paid out $121.60 for store lamps and lumber and other accessories, money in treasury $74.64."

January 10, 1925 – "Motion made to give pastor $25.00 out of treasury. Carried.
February 8, 1925 – "Motion and second to elect a janitor. Motion carried. Then motion and second to put this off until night services… Then brought up the janitor business after a few talks was made in regard to this motion and second was made to put it off until some more convenient time."

April 12, 1925 – "Motion and second for the church to plant a cotton patch. Motion carried. Gave Bro. Moore $20.00 out of treasury."

May 10, 1925 – "Two deacons selected to be sent to Quarterly for exam –Bro. Hue Carter and Dude Crockett."

July 12, 1925 – "Motion and second for the Board of Deacons to control the lending of the lights. Motion carried."
August 8, 1925 – "Paid Bro. Moore $45.00 out of the treasury for this year’s work. Total in treasury $13.63."

September 13, 1923 – "Bro. Warren Chandler and Chris Wallace [selected] to take care of the lights for the next 12 months."

January 9, 1926 – "Motion carried for the committee to sell the cotton for the treasury to send Bro. Moore $20.00."
September 12, 1926 – "Bro. Adkins was nominated for pastor. There being no other nominations, Bro. Adkins was elected. Bro. Moore paid $36.00 for this year’s work."

October 10, 1926 – "Donate Bro. Moore $10.00 out of treasury. Voted to buy 1 doz. songbooks to leave at church for all church serviced. Total paid Bro. Moore for the year was $46.00 cash."

January 9, 1927 – "Motion and second made not to loan out our church benches. Motion carried. Motion carried to plant a cotton patch."

March 13, 1927 – "Bro. Lentan made a statement in regard to the cotton patch and wanted the church to say how much to plant. Motion carried to plant 5 acres. Bro. Humphrey Hartsell elected to oversee it."

September 10, 1927 – "Elected Bro. E.C. Adkins pastor."

October 8, 1927 – "Pay Bro. Adkins $20.00."

November 12, 1927 – "Motion carried to cover the church with galvanized roofing. Motion carried to hold Bro. Dude Crockett and Bro. Humphrey Hartsell as our standing committee to buy the roofing for church. Then had a report on the financial condition of the church cotton patch…"

August 11, 1928 – "Bro. J.W. Bruton ordained for a minister."

September 8, 1928 – "Motion carried to elect a pastor for the coming year. Bro. Morgan and Bro. John Moore nominated, and Bro. Morgan was elected by a large majority. Motion carried to pay Bro. Adkins $15.00 out of the treasury."

October 13, 1928 – "Donation for our pastor $41.60 – total for year $80.60."

September 7, 1929 – "Motion carried not to accept a member from another FWB church without letter."

October 12, 1929 – "Motion carried to license Bro. Humphrey Hartsell to preach and to buy new lumber for the church building."

November 9, 1929 – "Motion carried to draw a warrant on treasury for $4.50 to pay for Bro. Adkins’ Bible."

November 10, 1929 – "Paid on Bro. E.C. Adkins’ Bible … a warrant for $4.50, makes a total of $6.70. Officers for 1930 and 1931: Pastor E.C. Adkins, clerk Herbert Holleman, treasurer J.H. Hartsell, deacons H.T. Holleman, G.C. Oliver, Marner Chandler, L.D. Crockett, H.L. Carter, Dave Crockett, Will Inton; trustees Lee Holleman, Herbert Holleman, L.V. Cooper.

June 7, 1930 – "Motion carried to see about having the church insured. Motion carried to draw a check for $6.00 to pay for having the church deed and Mr. Claud Morton’s deed recorded."

June 12, 1930 – "Motion and second to insure church in Judsonia company."

August 9, 1930 – "Elected E.C. Adkins pastor.

September 13, 1930 – "Motion and second to hold to old article of faith at the state association."

December 13, 1930 – "Paid pastor $10.00 … we have paid the pastor $56.36 this year."

September 12, 1931 – "We paid Bro. E.C. Adkins this year 1931 $48.64."

September 1931 - "The State Association for Arkansas Free Will Baptist was held at Mt. Bethel Church with J.D. Doyle as moderator, W.F. McGee clerk, and A.K. Best doing the introductory message."

November 7, 1931 – "Motion carried for cotton patch committee to sell church cotton. 3 bales weighed 1,743 lbs. at compress, sold it for 630, kept 194 lbs. of seed to plant; 1 ton of seed left after rent payment out, sold to Mrs. S.F. Johnson for 8.00; rent to Claud Morton 18.35; out of lint cotton 99.45; note at Robbins Sanford for feed and seed 16.95; ginning 3.00; hauling 1.50; L.V. Cooper, manager."

Church Officers for 1931-32: Pastor Walter Maddox, clerk L.V. Cooper, treasurer J.H. Hartsell. (Other officers same as previous year.)

March 12-13, 1932 – "Motion carried to draw a warrant on the treasury for $2.57 to buy Sunday School literature."

September 11, 1932 – "Bro. J.H. Hartsell elected pastor."

Revival 1st Sunday & 2d Sunday August 1932 – "16 conversions and reclaimed, 1 baptized, 6 joined Mt. Bethel."

November 12, 1932 – "Motion carried to keep the piano and to pay the remaining cotton money on the piano, which was $3.95. Motion carried for Bro. Warren Chandler to sell the organ to Joe Moness for $10.00 and pay the money in on the piano. Record of cotton crop for church: 2 bales picked and ginned at W.E. Plouts Gin $2.00; weight 1 bale 4.85 lbs. and 1 bale 4.25; expense hauling to gin 50 cents a bale and hauling to Searcy 50 cents a bale; was sold to Olives at Searcy for 6 cents per pound total amount cash - $54.60; sold seed to Mrs. S.F. Johnson 1,365 lbs. at $8.00 per ton – amount $5.46; total amount of bales and seed after rent and all expenses - $46.46. L.V. Cooper, manager."

February 12, 1933 – "Motion carried to drop the insurance on the church for a while because of the extra assessment. We didn’t feel safe in paying it just now. Motion carried to see about insuring the church with some other company. Then the subject was about another cotton patch. Then was taken to a vote whether to have one or two cotton patches for the benefit of the church and to pay on the piano and the one got it…"

August 22, 1933 – "Re-elected J.H. Hartsell pastor."

November 11, 1933 – "Sunday at eleven opened service by singing by Sis. Marie Turner."

February 11, 1934 – "Motion and second to pay Bro. H.T. Holleman for 3 gallons of gas which he bought for the church. Amount 58 cents."
April 7, 1934 – "Sister Jessie Chandler and Sister Marie Turner appointed to collect 10 cents for each member to be sent to the State Treasury to help bear the expense of the old ministers. They have collected $5.85 and turned it over to Bro. J.H. Hartsell which he has sent to the correspondent clerk Bro. E.R. Wright, Atkins, Ark."

April 7, 1934 – The following minutes were marked over with the word "Withdrawn" written in: "Then there was some talk on selling tickets on the church organ and applying the proceeds on the piano… The majority voted to sell the tickets for 10 cents each and have a drawing on them in the future to see who got the organ."

May 12, 1934 – "The sisters agreed to give the Sunday Egg for 1 month for the preacher."

July 7, 1934 – "Bro. Hartsell received $2.49 Sunday Egg money."

November 10, 1934 – "H.E. Hartsell elected janitor, H.C. Holleman assistant."

January 17, 1935 – "Balance due on piano note $29.80."
March 29, 1935 – "Motion and second to ask to license Jessie E. Pratt to preach."

April 10, 1935 – "This record is to show that the balance has been paid on our piano note. The ladies of this vicinity organized a quilting club. Each block in this quilt was filled with nine names and every person whose name was in the quilt gave a dime and the lady that pieced the block gave a dime and then the quilt was quilted at the church by the ladies of this community, then each name in this quilt was printed on a ticket and sealed up and placed in a box. Then on March 29, 1935, at the New Hope quarterly meeting, which convened at this church at that time, we had a drawing contest with this understanding that the name, which was drawn, got the quilt. So Elder L.C. Doyle of Newport, Ark., held the box and little miss Mildred Oliver did the drawing and Bro. Ben Dickson of Friendship Church was the lucky one. The quilt was delivered to him by Bro. J.H. Hartsell and the proceeds of the quilt paid to Mr. J.D. Pope. This amounted to $29.80. This paid the balance of the piano note. Mr. Pope was well pleased with the settlement and was glad to give the old note up. So by this act of the good ladies of this vicinity, our piano is paid for. L.V. Cooper C.C."

August 10, 1935 – "Re-elected J.H. Hartsell pastor for another year."

January 11, 1936 – "A vote was taken to see how many members still wanted to buy and keep the bell for the church. Only two voted to keep it. Then Bro. Humphrey Hartsell said he would buy the bell and give it to the church."

March 7, 1936 – "Motion carried to pay Bro. J.H. Hartsell $5.00 and to authorize the treasury to pay him $5.00 each month during the rest of the year."

May 9, 1936 – "Present Bro. Monroe Holleman for ordination as minister."

September 12, 1936 – "Elected Walter Maddox pastor."

May 22, 1937 – "To present Bro. R.E. Lee for ordination as minister."

September 10, 1938 – "J.H. Hartsell elected pastor."

April 8, 1939 – "Bro. Jesse E. Pratt made a statement in regard to organizing a Free Will Baptist Church at Liberty Hill and asked that his church grant him and his wife Lular Pratt a letter in full fellowship, so they could place their membership with the new church. Motion carried to grant Bro. Pratt his request. Also Bro. H.L. Carter asked the church to give him and his wife Bell Carter a letter in full fellowship that they also may unite with the new church."

May 13, 1939 – "Bro. Oscar Carter and wife, Bro. Orville Bostic and wife, sister Hazel Bostic and Sister Ida Hartsell all asked for letters to join the new Liberty Hill Church."

June 10, 1939 – "Read letter from R.E. Lee which stated that he had been criticized in this section of the country for preaching in Union and Methodist churches and for this cause he was going to withdraw from this church and ask for a letter or to cancel his membership. After discussion on this matter, the church agreed that we could not give him a letter in full fellowship because he had no fellowship with us and as a minister of the gospel he had not complied with the rules of the Free Will Baptist doctrine and for this cause there was motion and second made that we cancel his name from the roll at his request. Voted and carried."

September 9, 1939 – "Went into an election of a pastor for the coming year 1940. Nomination was Bro. Walter Maddox and Bro. Rubin Pruett. Bro. Maddox was elected by a big majority, 20 to 5."

September 11, 1939 – "Motion carried to give our treasurer the authority to pay our pastor $5.00 out of the treasury each month without voting."

September 3, 1940 – "Rev. W.B. Maddox was elected with unanimous vote. We had a glorious meeting during this revival – 26 conversions and 2 reclaimed that we know of, with 22 additions to the church. Taken into the church on a public profession in Christ and water baptism all but two. Bro. Clyde Thomas and Bro. Sam Laffood had been baptized."

April 13, 1941 – "Report of Quarterly meeting by Sister Iva Turner…"

May 10, 1941 [First Pastor Appreciation Day] – "Gave Bro. Maddox a quilt and other gifts. Paid pastor $5.00."

September 13, 1941 – "Bro. Emmit Wilson elected pastor, Sister Iva Turner elected church clerk."

June 13, 1942 – "Bro. Hartsell made an open statement on the scandal which had been going on. As there were no accusers present and no one knew who started the rumor, his statement denying the things was accepted by the church, then a handshake in token ‘we would stand by him through his persecution which must have been caused through lying tongues and gossip.’"

September 12, 1942 – "Bro. Maddox elected pastor, 21 to 6."

January 23, 1943 – "Voted and carried to pay our pastor $7.00 a trip [then later in the meeting] "voted and carried to pay our pastor $10.00 a trip instead of $7.00."

March 28, 1943 – "Services called on account of a case of spinal meningitis from which some were exposed."

April 24, 1943 – "Saturday night, there was a play staged by a group of the Beckett Mountain people (entitled The Prodigal Son), Bro. Troy Barrett leader. This play was well acted by its members. There was a $22.45 contribution."

May 23, 1943 – "Our pastor resigned the church on account of sickness."

June 6, 1943 –"Bro. C.E. Wilson was elected [pastor] without opposition."

May 21, 1944 – "Names of the ones baptized: Lavern Holleman, Juanita Holleman, Gladys White, Vernie Kelly, F. White, Junior White, Ruby Holleman."

August 10, 1944 – "Revival meeting began on Thursday night, August 10, Bro. H.A. Lewis from Sage, Ark., doing the preaching. Meeting went on for 10 days with night and 11 o’clock day service. Bro. Lewis did some real good preaching during the series of this meeting and the church was greatly revived. But no new converts nor no additions to the church. Bro. Lewis received $90.00 for his work in this meeting. Bro. J.H. Hartsell moderator and pastor, L.V. Cooper clerk."

September 9-10, 1944 – "Election of pastor for the coming year. Bro. W.B. Maddox and Jim Moore nominated. Votes counted 30 to 10 in favor of Bro. Maddox."

October 7, 1944 – "Motion carried to pay our pastor $15.00 each month."

September 8, 1945 – "Nominated for pastor J.M. Holleman 10, C. E. Wilson 4, W.B. Maddox 9."

September 7, 1946 – "Bro. Maddox elected pastor."

September 13, 1947 – "Bro. C.E. Wilson and Bro. Maddox nominated for pastor, Bro. Wilson received 17 votes, Bro. Maddox 4." Bro. Wilson was sick and did not pastor May of 1948.

August 7, 1948 – "H.A. Lewis elected pastor with 13 votes. No other nominations."

November 7, 1948 – "Sister Vernie Kelly elected as church reporter for the Free Will Baptist paper at Crossett, Ark."

August 18, 1949 – "Elected Bro. Maddox pastor."

December 11, 1949 – "Songbooks were bought for the church [for] $12.00."

September 1950 – "Bro. Monroe Holleman elected pastor."

September 17-29, 1950 – "The 53rd Session convened with Mt. Bethel Church near Rose Bud. The moderator was Joseph D. Coffman of Hector, Arkansas, and the clerk-treasurer was R.D. Smith of New Hope, Arkansas. Sermons were preached by L.C. Doyle, Doyle D. Dipboye, Rupert Pixley, J.W. Moore, Ralph Staten and Thomas H. Dixon. All associations were represented except the Rich Mountain Association." Among the resolutions and motions were: (1) "An offering of $63.00 was given to Mrs. Bessie Grey who was burned by a pressure cooker while preparing lunch, (2) a motion to seat Professor Luther G. Presley and Mrs. Presley with honors, (3) the new churches of Pine Bluff and Russellville were given $50.00 each." The Temperance Committee reported, "That any of our members who use their influence, and vote for, the legalization of intoxicating beverages, race tracks or anything that encourages gambling or betting shall be considered the same (as those) who have been declared guilty in the mouth of two or three witnesses." George Been, state statistician, reported ten associations were represented with 149 churches, 190 ministers and 376 deacons with a total membership of 9,033. History of Arkansas Free Will Baptist, pg. 93.

September 1950 – "The Free Will Baptist State Association was held with our church with from 300 to 600 people at every service."

December 9, 1950 – "Church to recommend Bro. Clayton Holden to be licensed."

September 8, 1951 – "Bro. Curtis Lee Lybarger elected pastor."

December 9, 1951 – "There was discussion of raising funds for the building of the F.W.B. Youth Encampment at Conway. Motion made and seconded to send $10.00 from church treasury, which was approved by majority."

August 17, 1952 – "Bro. Lybarger elected pastor for another year."

November 8-9, 1952 – "Motion made to recommend Rev. Hartsell by letter to Quarterly meeting for license or ordination."

December 13-14, 1952 – "Sunday night was a Christmas program put on by the children with Willie Mae Turner as sponsor. Also had a Christmas tree and gifts."

March 7-8, 1953 – "Ask the ordination committee of Quarterly Conference to ordain Bro. Ernest Turner as a deacon of this church."

July 11, 1953 – "Revival started Sunday with Rev. Lonnie Coffman of Hector, Ark., in charge. Had a 10-day revival with a good spiritual revival. One conversion. Paid Rev. Coffman $95.50."

August 1953 – "Church called into conference for selecting pastor for the coming year. Decided on a full-time pastor. Rev. Lonnie Coffman was elected pastor - $100.00 a month salary."

October 11, 1953 – "Committee to see about building a flue for the church. Another committee appointed to plan and design a different stage."

June 9, 1954 – "The church was called into conference to call a new pastor for 1955. Rev. Curtis Lee Lybarger was elected."

July 10, 1954 – "Motion carried to build the top of the porch on the front of the church. A committee was appointed to design a blueprint for the porch top."

February 26, 1955 – "Motion passed to have the building committee to see about a piece of land to build a parsonage on, some time in the future."

May 21, 1955 – "Report given that Bro. Harold Bomar and Bro. L.D. Crockett had agreed to give a half acre of land each to the church for the purpose of building a parish some time in the future."

July 23, 1955 – "Report from the building fund treasurer that Bro. Crockett and Bro. Bomar had signed the deed for the land they gave to the church."

September 18, 1955 – "Rev. [Charles] Tucker elected pastor."

July 14, 1956 – "Voted trustees and deacons to plan parsonage to size and number of rooms."

August 18, 1956 – "Report from building committee that we need an abstract on land to secure loan for building parsonage. Motion made to go ahead with building plans. Voted 7 in favor, 6 against. Pastor suggested waiting as this was not a majority vote. Rev. Curtis Lybarger elected pastor for the coming year by acclamation."

September 15, 1956 – "Motion carried to pay pastor $25.00 a week. Motion carried that they trustees get abstract to parsonage land."

May 5, 1957 – "Church was called into conference for the purpose of calling a pastor for next year. Rev. Curtis Lybarger was elected. No other nominations."

September 8, 1957 – "Yearly report: Amount paid pastor $1,300.00, building $2000.00, evangelist 87.00, home mission 118.00, insurance 73.10, literature 73.64, League Inc. 16.71, missions 22.65, miscellaneous 65.85."

July 27, 1958 – "Conference to elect pastor – Bro. Lybarger elected by church (6 votes). Motion carried to pay same salary as in 1959 - $25.00 per week.

Yearly report from September 1957 to September 1958 – "Paid pastor $1,250, lights $18.60, evangelistic $110.00, insurance $70.70, quarterly meeting $10.00, home mission $10.00, butane $22.50, flowers $23.84, butane tank $125.00."

September 1958 – "Resident members 51, nonresident members 80."

November 1958 – "Bro. Lybarger suggested having future conferences [business meetings] on Sunday or Sunday night as there are so few attendees on Wednesday night. Not accepted. 11 present."

March 18, 1959 - "Motion passed for Harold Bomar to consider being a deacon. Meeting was held concerning cemetery. Voted to receive donations and hire it cleaned. Bought mower and hired…"

June 14, 1959 – "Bro. Harold Bomar was ordained as a deacon."

June 24, 1959 – "Rev. Roger Harwell of Norman, Oklahoma, was the only one nominated for pastor and was elected."

July 21, 1960 – "Rev. Roger Harwell elected pastor for the coming year. Motion carried to raise our pastor’s salary to $30.00 a week."

September 1960 – "Resident members 61, nonresident members 60."

November 1960 – "Church called into conference for the purpose of calling a pastor to finish out the church year which will be in September of 1961. Bro. Loyd Thomas nominated and elected with 18 votes. Voted to pay full time salary of $30.00 per week with one Sunday vacation."

June 21, 1961 – "Election held for pastor for 1961-62 year. Bro. Lloyd Thomas was elected unanimously. Motion passed to pay salary of $35.00 per week."

July 1961 – "Voted to build carport and utility room."

September 20, 1961 – "Motion passed for deacon and pastor to work out a plan to present before the church for supporting denominational work."

September 1962 – "Resident members 57, nonresident members 58.

October 24, 1962 – "Rev. Lonnie Clark was nominated for pastor and elected by 14 votes."

August 21, 1963 – "Rev. Lonnie Clark was re-elected pastor for the coming year by 10 votes. Motion carried to raise the pastor’s salary $5.00, making a total of $40.00 per week beginning September 1, 1963."

August 19, 1964 – "Nominations were in order for pastor for the coming year. Rev. John Parks was nominated and Rev. R.M. Moore was nominated. Rev. Parks received 3 votes and R.M. Moore 5. Rev. Moore was elected."

September 1964 – "Resident members 84, nonresident members 60. Officers for 1965-66: Church clerk Kathleen Thacke, treasurer Lloyd Crockett, song director Marie Turner, assistant clerk Lucy Barr, assistant song directors Donna Moon and Vernie Kelly, church reporter Donna Moon, assistant reporter Iva Turner, senior ushers Lloyd Crockett and Lonnie Bar, assistant usher Arvil Bostic, junior ushers Roger Bomar and Jerry Wortham, pianist Willie Mae Turner, and assistant pianist Janice Crockett."

July 20, 1965 – "Voted to install air conditioning, cooling system by 17 votes. Voted to give our pastor Rev. Ray Moore a vote of confidence and retain him for another year. The vote was unanimous, 24 voters present."

January 19, 1966 – "Voted to change our conference from once a month to every three months on the 3rd Wednesday night before the fifth Saturday. 43 average this past quarter attendance."

July 20, 1966 – "Voted to get our kitchen started."

September 1966 – "Resident members 47, nonresident members 59. Officers for 1966-67: Church clerk Lucy Barr, assistant clerk Iva Turner, treasurer Ruffus Garrard, song director Marie Turner, assistant song director Vernie Kelly, church reporter Donna Moon, assistant church reporter Iva Turner, senior ushers Lloyd Crockett and Lonnie Barr, assistant senior usher Orval Bostic, junior ushers Terry Bomar and Larry Lawrence, pianist Willie Mae Turner."

July 1967 - "Voted to retain our pastor, Rev. Ray Moore, for another year. The vote was unanimous – 11 present."

Officers for 1969-70: "Church clerk Lucy Barr, assistant clerk Willie Mae Turner, treasurer Rev. Ray Moore, song director Marie Turner, assistant Palma Carter, senior ushers Tony and Lyle, junior ushers Timmie and Michel, pianist Willie Mae Turner, assistant Inez Bomar. Motion carried to give Rev. Ray Moore a vote of confidence and retain him for 1970."

April 15, 1970 – "Motion carried to put central heating and cooling in the church."

July 1971 – "Voted to let the trustees check on putting water in the kitchen. Voted to retain our present pastor Rev. Ray Moore and all the church officers for 1972."

July 25, 1971 – "Voted to purchase new pews."

August 22, 1971 – "Motion passed to buy carpet."

March 19, 1972 – "Called into conference for the purpose of giving the trustees the right to purchase an organ for the church."
July 19, 1972 – "The church voted to retain Bro. Ray Moore as our pastor for another year."

July 18, 1973 – "Bro. R.H. McCuin was called to pastor the church with salary $100 per week. Officers for 1973-74 were elected: Pianist Willie Mae Turner, assistant Inez Bomar, choir director Marie Turner, assistant Donna Moon, organist Barbara Carter, assistant Tim Bomar, senior ushers Loyd Crockett and Tony Mergenschroer, junior ushers Melvin Moon and Lynn Davis, treasurer Tony Mergenschroer, clerk iva Turner, assistant Flora Gerrard, flower committee Donna, Ruby and Mary."

December 9, 1973 – "Roger Bomar announced his call to the ministry. Held his first service December 16 with one rededication and one accepting the Lord."

April 17, 1974 – "Report on building committee: They recommend not adding any more to the present building but to start planning a new building. Motion made by Wilburn Lawrence, second by Mr. Johnnie to receive report and start a building fund. Passed."

October 22, 1975 – "This conference was announced two weeks before the meeting for the purpose of deciding where the new church building would be erected, also when construction would begin. There were 26 members present. Talk was given by Bro. McGuin explaining the places available, also the advantage and disadvantage of each. After discussion a motion made by Lonnie Barr, second by Wilbur Lawrence to construct new building across the highway on parsonage lot. Twenty two voted yes, three didn’t vote. Motion made by Harold Bomar, second by Roger Bomar to start when one half of estimated cost has been reached. Voted and passed."

May 9, 1976 – "Set up a borrowing account of $40,000 to be used as needed."

June 6, 1976 – "Groundbreaking service for the new church."

August 2, 1976 – "The new church was started."

December 19, 1976 – "We had our dedication service, which was live on radio. Bro. Curtis Lybarger was the speaker and we had approximately 220 present."

April 20, 1977 – "Motion made to accept the $1,000 bid on the old church building."

July 22, 1977 – "Church officers were elected as follows: Church clerk Hettie Pettus, treasurer Tony Mergenschroer, song leader Wendell Pettus, ushers Lyle Turner, Lonnie Barr, Wendall Pettus, O.B. Wortham, flower committee Mary Mergenschoer, Donna Moon, pastor Rev. R.H. McGuin, called back unanimously."

October 13, 1977 – "Gary Pettus surrendered to the ministry."

July 2, 1978 – "Bro. Charles Nichols elected pastor."
September 19, 1979 – "Bro. James Mutchler nominated and elected pastor. Vote was 100% for."

January 2, 1980 – "Voted to buy new towels for foot washing. Voted to buy new communion set."

June 28, 1981 – "Bro. Raymond Patrick nominated and elected pastor."

December 29, 1982 – "Motion carried to send Melvin Moon before the executive board for license to preach."

May 18, 1983 – "Motion made to call a pastor on 30-day indefinite call with a yearly vote of confidence. Motion carried, 20 for, 2 against."

August 3, 1983 – "Special conference to discuss children’s church. Voted to have it for ages 3 through 3rd grade."

January 21, 1984 – "Bro. Melvin Moon was ordained as a minister Saturday night, January 21, 1984, in special service at our church. Bro. Raymond Patrick, Bro. Rodger Bomar, Bro. Sidney Sawrie and Bro. Ronnie Whitten assisted in the ordination service with the message being delivered by Bro. Patrick and the charge by Bro. Rodger Bomar."

May 16, 1984 – "Voted to pay someone to clean church."

July 22, 1984 – "Church called into conference on Sunday night, July 22, 1984, by Bro. Harold Bomar for the purpose of considering Bro. Gregory for pastor. Elected."

December 19, 1984 – "Motion to do away with a yearly pastoral vote of confidence was carried – 14 for, 7 against."

January 11, 1987 – "Enclosing garage, aluminum siding, etc."

August 23, 1987 – "Church purchased 115 copies of REJOICE: The Free Will Baptist Hymn Book. The color green was selected."

December 16, 1987- "Altars be purchased for sanctuary."

September 21, 1988 - "Motion that we start paying our pastor’s medical insurance in an amount to be approved…"

September 13, 1989 – "Members attending a F.W.B. College be increased to $200 per semester."

February 24, 1989 – "Voted to purchase sound system."

December 9, 1990 – "Motion and second to check into cost of a new sound system – carried."

February 24, 1991 – "New sound system purchased."

March 10, 1991 – "Bro. Steve Burton elected pastor."

September 9, 1992 – "Voted to asphalt parking lot, carpet church and expand parsonage."

December 3, 1995 – "Motion that we buy the $15,000 2-3 acres."

March 1996 – "Acts 1:8 Plan explained and discussed. Eight shares bought."

September 22, 1996 – "Motion and second that we pay off [land purchase]. Carried."

November 9, 1997 – "Youth fund set up … 3% of the regular church offering being set aside."

March 17, 1999 – "Constitution and By-laws accepted."

November 17, 1999 – "10 shares of Acts 1:8 purchased."

February 16, 2000 – "Motion made to pursue the process [of Daycare Center] as recommended."

June 20, 2001 – "Church officers elected: Clerk Donna Moon, pianist Willie Mae Turner, assistant Melissa Rodgers, song leader Donna Moon, assistant Dan Graham, treasurer Mary Mergenschroer, secretary Glenda Graham, Sunday School superintendent Terry Head, Beginners Chris Eichler, Junior Pam Graham, Primary Debi Head/Dan Graham, Teens Roger Bomar.

Through the first 100 years, Mt. Bethel Free Will Baptist Church has had a rich heritage of people who have followed God’s leading and calling. Records show 22 preachers, the first being W.R. Flecher in 1905, 14 deacons, the first being H.B. Troxell, Frank Bates and Dave Crockett in 1912, and 1 foreign missionary, Veda Ann Wilson Lee.

For additional information, contact Mt. Bethel Free Will Baptist Church, 5286 Highway 36 West, Rose Bud, AR , phone 501 556-5571.