In the late 1800’s and in an area, at the time, rather heavily populated by Primitive Baptists as to religious persuasion, a Missionary Baptist Church was born-the Beulah Baptist Church at Sontag.
The real beginning of the church goes back to the 1870’s when Mrs. William D. Stone, who had recently located in the community, induced her father, Reverend Joseph Parker, and a cousin, Reverend T.C. Goggin, when visiting her, to hold services at a little log Methodists church near Sydnorsville. She organized a Sunday school there which Mr. Stone superintended, though he was not affiliated with any church at the time.
Later, Reverends S.G. Mason and J. Lee Taylor conducted “Protracted Meetings, beginning at early candlelight.” Regular services began in Hodges’ School house (on the exact spot of the Beulah parsonage) and in Cooper’s Schoolhouse (in the vicinity of the Franklin County Recreation Center), both somewhat ample one0room buildings, and under a brush arbor known as McBride’s Sears on the farm of Mr. R.C. McBride. (This area was at the back of and across the road from Sontag Elementary School.) Mr. McBride and wife were the only active Missionary Baptists in the community then. Most of the charter members of the new “church” came from Rocky Mount and Story Creek churches as the result of a revival conducted by Reverend J.V. Dickinson (Pastor of Rocky Mount Baptist Church in “Hodges’ Schoolhouse,” where the organization was effected in 1888.
The first church building, a small frame structure, was erected in 1889 during the pastorate of J.V. Dickinson. The lot for the church was donated by W.S. Tyree, a Primitive Baptist, in honor of his Missionary Baptist wife; the lot lay between the Danville Turnpike and the Snow Creek Road and was deeded in 1886. Actively evangelistic from the first, Beulah increased its membership by twenty-nine additions during the first revival in the new building, many of whom were heads of families. Preaching was only one Sunday and Saturday each month; however, membership and attendance increased rapidly. The Blue Ridge Association Report in August 1888 reported: “Beulah – With its new house completed, through young in years, is a vigorous vine, whose branches seem fruitful in good works, has a flourishing Sunday School, no ‘dead heads’ and a hopeful future. Membership forty-two. Average contribution thirty-six and one third cents.” In 1894 there were 101 members. The value of the property was $500.00; the annual budget was $77.05 of which $65.00 was for the pastor’s salary (Reverend S. G. Mason)
Accordingly, in 1899 the building was enlarged. Again, the building proved inadequate, so in 1924 it was razed. An attractive brick building with hardwood floors and art glass windows was erected on the same site and dedicated the first Sunday in November 1924, with the Reverend W.R. Knight delivering the Sermon.
In 1903 at an associational meeting at Providence Baptist Church, Miss Sula Thomas, President of the Beulah Woman’s Missionary Union which she had organized in 1901, volunteered for Home Mission Work. She became a missionary to the immigrants in Oklahoma and was supported by the Virginia Young Women’s Association. Her health failed and she was laid to rest in the Beulah Cemetery July 28, 1912. A handsome marble shaft was erected by the WMU of the Blue Ridge Association in August 1913.
In 1980 the Blue Ridge Association met at Beulah Church and this year also marked the establishment of a daughter church, Mount Carmel.
Until 1945, Beulah, Glade Hill, and Rocky Mount Baptist Churches were served by the same Pastor. In 1945, Rocky Mount went to a full time Pastor. Beulah and Glade Hill remained together until 1961, at which time each went to a full time Pastor.
In 1953 a basement, 5 new Sunday School Rooms, Choir Loft and Rest Rooms were built.
In 1962, Thomas English and the W.S. Tyree Estate donated the property across the road from the church for the Beulah parsonage site. The parsonage was completed by J.W. Hunt and dedicated August 26, 1962. In 1964, plaques were placed on the church and on the parsonage lawns to commemorate this donation.
Mr. and Mrs. Walker Mitchell donated land adjacent to the church for a new Sunday School addition to the read of the church in 1952. In 1968 they donated land to the church for the enlargement of the church grounds on the west side of the church. In 1971 Mrs. Walker Mitchell donated additional land to enlarge the church grounds at the back of the church.
On May 28, 1972, the Reverend Sam O. Wall preached the dedicatory sermon for an educational building. In 1976 a steeple with a bell was installed as a memorial. Internal renovation and remodeling of the sanctuary was begun in 1977.
In observance of our Century of Witness 1888-1988, A Centennial Brush Arbor Service was held on Sunday, June 19, 1998; July was designated as history month on August 13, 1988 an old fashioned Sunday School Picnic was held; October 16, 1988 saw a Centennial Homecoming Celebration with former Pastors being present and the Climactic Sunday was held on December 4, 1988 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Beulah Church.
Substantial gifts and memorials have been tendered by Beulah Church through the years; changes and additions to the original structure of the building have been made; an active Sunday School has been continuous since the beginning.
Although the early records of the church were destroyed, it is known that the Reverend J. V. Dickinson was the first Pastor and organizer. Through the years Beulah has been blessed by the ministries of the following great men of God:
|2012-2014||Larry Holland (Interim)|
|1988-1999||T. Ivey Adams, Jr.|
|1941-1945||J.A. St. Clair|