Beulah Baptist Church
Was organized in 1861
Celebrating 161 Years of Service at Beulah Baptist Church Oct.16 2022
The records are lacking in information about the precise dates and details of the founding of Beulah Baptist Church in Fruitland FL.
There is evidence to support a founding date of 1861 although the church was not constituted until 1872 and a building was erected on property that is now adjacent to Beulah Cemetery at 139 Beulah Church Road, Crescent City FL. Records to indicate services being held at a log home near that address do exist. The church was constituted and began as a half-time church with services on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month. The first settled pastor was Rev. C.A. Kager. In 1873 the Church asked for admission to the Santa Fe River Association. Santa Fe River Associational Minutes listed a Beulah Baptist Church in 1862 and also reports that a Beulah Baptist Church withdrew from the Santa Fe River Association in 1877 to form the St Johns River Baptist Association (SJRBA). Putnam County Court records (January 1, 1874) record that the land for Beulah Church was originally bought from Jonathan Greely and his wife, both of Jacksonville, Florida, for the sum of $5.00 cash.
A history of Beulah Baptist Church was recorded by E. Earl Joiner for the SJRBA in 1974. Long periods existed when the church had no pastor and no preaching services. The church owes a great debt to many men and women — laymen, who kept the church alive through difficult times. Its death has been predicted by outside observers, but it still lives. From the scanty records available, the writer has discerned six distinctive eras in the life history of the church.
1. The beginning years from 1873 to 1879 seem to have been filled with enthusiasm and growth. There were 40 members in 1873.
2. The first great crisis came over church discipline in 1879 when 5 letters were granted and 16 members were excluded, cutting membership down to 20 (C. A. Kager was the pastor). By 1890, however, membership was back to 42, but in 1891, when Kager was pastor again, membership was down to 28. In the next few years, membership climbed slowly back up to 40.
3. The next crisis appears to have been economic, following 1895-96 when there was a big freeze. Many people left the area, and for several years there was no pastor. In 1909, when the first report in 10 years was sent to the Association, only 16 members were reported.
4. The next period begins in the middle 1920s when pastoral services seem to have been maintained with at least irregular regularity.
A Sunday School Was organized, with J. N. Hogg as Superintendent in 1926. Membership vacillated between 20 and 40.
5. The next period begins with the 1940s when for the first time the church reported as many as 50 members, yet before, the end of the 1940s, membership declined into the 20’s again.
6. The next era of the 1960s, when membership rose above 50’s again. In 1966 there were 50 members, in 1972 there were 79 members, and in 1974, 97 members were reported. In 1974 the church completed a two-year remodeling and building program which tripled the total floor space and included the addition of bathrooms, a kitchen, a pastor's study, additional classrooms, and central heat and air conditioning. The church became debt free by the time the building, was completed while increasing its giving to the Cooperative Program.
In July 2000 the church began construction of a new and modern facility that we are currently using for ministry and services at 106 Beulah Church Road at the intersection with CR 308. The original facility remains in use by two mission congregations. They are Iglesia Jesu Christo es mi Refugio, a Hispanic congregation, as well as Church Awakening, a Messianic congregation that meets on Saturdays. Beulah remains debt free and is anxious to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ in our community, state, and world. We are a Southern Baptist church cooperating with many other like-minded churches following the Great Commission and the Great Command of the scriptures.