Bethlehem Star Baptist Church History

Led by the Holy Spirit, the Bethlehem Star Bible Class was inspired to organize the Bethlehem Star Missionary Baptist Church.  The first organization meeting was held on March 4, 1934 in the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church located at 4222 S. Evans Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. Rev. C. Mitchells served as Moderator.  The organizing council members were:  Rev. W.H. Williams, and Deacon Flem Windham.  We give thanks to God for the saints of God who built the foundation that we now enjoy.

Bethlehem Star Missionary Baptist Church had four prior Pastors, all which have gone on to be with our Savior Jesus Christ.  Rev. W.H. Williams, Rev. W.E. Linton, Rev. Arthur Glenn Diggs, Rev. Chambers Robinson.

On October 22, 1964, the Lord saw favor in the prays of saints, and under Rev. Arthur Glenn Diggs guidance, Bethlehem Star Missionary Baptist Church relocated from 4607 S. Champlain to this present building, at 9231 S. Cottage Grove Ave.  On October 29, 1965 Rev. A.G. Diggs was called from his labor to receive his reward.  A pulpit committee was established and appointed Deacon Sam McKenzie as chairman.  The church went in prayer, and on February 13, 1966 Rev. Chambers Robinson accepted the leadership as pastor of Bethlehem Star Missionary Baptist Church.  Under Rev. Robinson leadership, membership grew, the church charter was established, and the first mortgage of $50,000.00 was burned (June 15, 1979).  Progress continued, and on February 24, 1981 the acquisition of the land south of the church was acquired for the purpose of a future parking lot.  In 1986, Ms. Dora Martin, the owner, and a member of the church, gave the lot north of the church to Bethlehem Star.  On December 20, 1991, Rev. Chambers Robinson was called from his labor to receive his reward.

On January 12, 1992 the chairman of the Deacon Board, Warren Fisher then appointed a pulpit committee to search for a pastor that would lead the flock.  The pulpit committee first point of business was the appointment of the then assistant pastor, Rev. Raymond Thicklin, as “Interim Pastor” on January 26, 1992.

The church continued to pray and fast.  On September 13, 1992, God answered the prayers of the righteous and Rev. Roosevelt Watkins, III accepted the leadership as pastor of Bethlehem Star Missionary Baptist Church.  Rev. Watkins came to Bethlehem Star on September 20, 1992.  Under Rev. Watkins guidance and his vision, Bethlehem Star Missionary Baptist Church moved forward.  In 1994 the South lot was finally paved for members parking, the second mortgage on the property of $50,000.00 was burned (August 8, 1999).  Major restoration of the church took place, and on Nov. 26, 2000 the church was rededicated and renovated to its current beauty.

God has placed us here for a reason, beyond the scope of any of us here today, but our mission is the same as it was in 1934, to be missionaries to those who do not know the Lord and bring them unto Christ.  We have carried out this great commission by going outside the four walls of the church and staying true to our mission statement which simply is “A Church Changing A Community”.  We have accomplished this through providing social services to individuals all across the City of Chicago with light and gas payments,  free computer classes to help bridge the digital divide, Reaching for the Stars After School Program, which serves at risk school age children, we continue to feed thousands who have no food to eat, and currently brought the church to its current state of the art technology by the way televisions inside the sanctuary to view our services live across the airways.     God has bigger and better things in store for Bethlehem Star Missionary Baptist Church, and as we continue to work in the vineyards while it is day and we shall reap our rewards.