History of the Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church
In retrospect of bygone years, the Mt. Carmel Baptist Church turns not backward but to the future and in looking we see a Great Cloud of witnesses from whom our beginning was born. In the year 1901, some spiritual minded persons of the community felt the need of a Sunday Church School for the purpose of religiously educating the children. The Reverend Calloway was elected the first Superintendent of the Sunday School. The teachers were Sarah Belle Bryant, Katie Calloway, Margaret Ealy, and Lovoicie Nuby. The treasurer was Katie Calloway, and the Secretary was Joe Ford.
After prayerful and careful consideration, a small tract of land was purchased from Arch Dyer and a small building was erected. Sunday School, prayer service and sermons continued. Before the close of 1903 with the spirit leading, a church was established. The charter members were:
Rev. & Mrs. Calloway, Mr. & Mrs. Turner Smith, Mr. & Mrs. Cephas Cooley, Mr. & Mrs. George Ealy, Rev. & Mrs. I.V. Bryant, Rev. & Mrs. James Ferris, Mr. & Mrs. John Mayo, Mr. & Mrs. Joseph McDaniel, Mary Viney, Anna Viney, and Ethel Bryant.
The church was now ready for a name. A committee was appointed for this purpose. They selected the name Mt. Carmel, which means mountain of God. A bell was presented by John Powell. The first pastor was Reverend Cornelius Mundell. The first Deacon Board was Turner Smith, George Ealy and Cephas Cooley. Mary Viney was elected church clerk. Mrs. Lizzie Cooley was the first Treasurer. Due to a shortage of laymen, ministers had to fill the officers for trustees. They were Reverend Ferris, Reverend Calloway and Reverend I.V. Bryant. An organ was purchased for the church. Although she was a small child, Edith Bryant was chosen pianist for Mt. Carmel. She served faithfully from that time until in 1942 when God called her from us.
Our founding fathers have already fought the good fight; they have kept the faith and have finished the race. Who can disprove that they are not joining with us in the anniversary celebration today? Through the years, Mt. Carmel has been blessed to have many great men to lead her. Other pastors who have served as mighty men of God were:
Rev. Riddle, Rev. James Ferris, Rev. Mayo, Rev. Woodward, Rev. Gray, Rev. Bass, Rev. Epperson, Rev. C.M. Smith, Rev. Seth Winston, Rev. C.M. Payne, Rev. L. Hogan, Rev. Lee Williams, Rev. Vance Watson, Rev. Eddie Buffington, and Rev. Henry Fletcher.
The love, happiness and joy we receive when we read and hear of the great accomplishments of our foreparents. The Great Foundation they religiously and sacrificially laid and left for us to continue building on. The Lord has richly blessed Mt. Carmel and many additions and improvements have been made since our founding fathers constructed that first small building.
Guided by the Holy Spirit and with prayerful consideration, the Mt. Carmel Church family called Reverend Gene A. Armstrong to be its pastor. Under the spiritual leadership of Pastor Armstrong, Mt. Carmel will follow him as he follows Christ.
God’s church is a living organism and as such Mt. Carmel continues to grow. Our first and most important area of growth is spiritual growth. We have a very active missionary program in foreign lands and here at home. Our rest home ministry is so very rewarding that we feel we are more blessed than the people we take services to.
Our Evangelism Explosion Ministry is just another way God has blessed us. Under the leadership of Bro. James Williams, we have learned how to lead others to Christ. A few years ago some of the laymen in our church has started a door to door ministry here in Bidwell. This is a desire of Deacon Glen Miller for Mt. Carmel to touch the lives of every person in Bidwell.
The year 2002 was a year of growth in a different way for the Mt. Carmel Church family. That year our pastor, the Rev. Gene Armstrong was given the vision of building a new church. It seemed like one minute we were talking about it and the next minute it was being built.
In April 2002, the foundation for our new building was lain, but we know that our foundation was lain some two thousand years ago. Psalms 127:1 Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it. We are grateful to God for the blessings we have received from this project. The church house is not the blessing of which we speak. The generosity has been tremendous.
The help we received from the men of the Ross County Correctional Institute were real blessings for us. Because of their help, this building project was completed in record time. They were God sent.
We can never began to thank all the people who made this building possible, but we can thank our Heavenly Father for putting all of you in our lives.
Although we have a new church house the Mt. Carmel Church family is the same. We have enjoyed the experience.
This year we celebrate our 117th anniversary because of the prayers, tears, sweat, and toil of those great men and women who have gone before us. Mt. Carmel and her auxiliaries continue to carry out that great commission given to us by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo I am with you always, even until the end of the world. Amen.”