Our History


Bethesda Baptist Church in Ellerslie, Georgia, was constituted on September 18, 1828, by Jacob King  and Zachariah H. Gordon according to the minutes of the Georgia Baptist Association. There were twelve charter members. 

The original location of the church was New Hope Church Road (now McKee Road), two and a half miles  due East of its present location. The church cemetery is still at the original site.


The first pastor was Anderson Smith, who was pastor from 1828 until his death at the age of forty-one from pleurisy, on March 21, 1841. He was not a licensed preacher but was ordained to the ministry at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Upson County, Georgia, on November 5, 1828.

Church History Timeline:

  • March 20, 1875 - A severe cyclone blew Bethesda Church and all its records away. The church was rebuilt with help from the Columbus Baptist Association in a year’s time.

  • 1893 - The building was torn down and moved by wagons, and rebuilt at Highway 85 and 315.

  • 1911 - Bethesda was remodeled.

  • 1917 - Bethesda was destroyed by fire. Only the organ and the altar Bible were saved. The church was rebuilt in one month’s time by the Lovejoy Brothers Architects. This building is known today as Bethesda Baptist Church.

  • September 1971 - A fellowship hall, kitchen, and Sunday School rooms were added to the rear of the building. The work was done by church members.

  • June 14, 1987 - The sixth building dedication service of Bethesda was held for our new Educational Building.

  • December 1, 1992 - Bethesda Baptist Church burned. The stained glass windows, pews and altar furniture were saved. 

  • January 30, 1994 - The Child Care Center and a new addition to the sanctuary were dedicated.

  • February 4, 2001 - Ground breaking service was held for the Family Life Center and Education Building.

  • November 18, 2001 - A dedication service for the Family Life Center and the Educational Building was held.

  • Summer, 2010 - New construction was begun on a new building. 

  • June 5, 2011 - We dedicated our new 19,500 square foot Sanctuary and 8,300 square foot Youth/Educational Building


Original Church