New Bethlehem Baptist Church was organized in 1950 by the late, Dr. William E. Rivers. The church had its humblest beginnings in a storefront on the corner of Orchard Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. The charter members were Deacon McKenzie, Deacon Tyson and the faithful and devoted wife of the pastor, Viola Rivers. Within months, the Lord blessed the church to relocate to the 400 block of Pine Street. However, Pastor Rivers then led the congregation to 1109 Laurens Street.
After several years of faithful service at the Laurens Street location, the Lord directed Pastor Rivers to build a new sanctuary. After much prayer, fasting and reliance upon the Holy Spirit, the church purchased a vacant lot and erected a one-story building at 1354 N. Carey Street. On November 12, 1967, Pastor Rivers and the New Bethlehem Baptist Church family marched into the new facility. However, this space was not adequate to address the needs of the ministry. The church and pastor envisioned an even larger sanctuary. Initial plans were developed to add a section over the existing structure, but due to the advancing age of most members, the width of the building was extended instead. In March of 1980, we marched into our present sanctuary. It was not always easy, and at times, there were moments of financial difficulty. Nevertheless, the congregation was determined to pay off the mortgage. By the grace of God, in November of 1998, The New Bethlehem Baptist Church was blessed to celebrate the mortgage burning ceremony.
Our gladness soon turned to sorrow. On February 1, 1999, our beloved Pastor, Dr. William E. Rivers finished his earthly race, retired from his earthly responsibility and went on to find rest in the arms of the Lord. Although he is no longer with us, his memory lives on in our hearts.
In March of 1999, New Bethlehem began its first pastoral search and in
March of 2000, Rev. Anthony M. Chandler, Sr. was elected Pastor. Under Rev.
Chandler’s leadership over 500 people joined the church and established a
personal relationship with Christ, and the church has made several
improvements to the building, furnishings and equipment, as well as
enhancements to our outreach efforts in the Sandtown community.
- Established Multi-Media ministries;
- Adopted the George Kelson School;
- Acquired the 1355 N. Carey Street property which is now the Family Life Center.
In January of 2008, New Bethlehem began its second pastoral search and in June 2008 Rev. Dr. Lisa M. Weah was elected Pastor in a historic move of God. Under the leadership of Dr. Weah, NBBC is strengthening families in excellence through the establishment of the NBBC Empowerment Institute which includes: Pastor’s Bible Study, Sunday School, Small Groups Studies, monthly LIFE Classes.
In reach and outreach initiatives continued including: an Annual Spring Community Day, Full
House Family Conference Series, Community Partnerships, and Fall Restart
Revival. Dr Weah started The Journey to a Dream which was for NBBC to be a place where people experience new life through a love obedient relationship with Jesus Christ.
On September 23, 2017 the church experienced a fire which sent the church on a two year journey in the wilderness. God remained faithful and on March 31st the churches 69th Anniversary the ribbon cutting ceremony was held for newly renovated building. Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the great things which God hath prepared for them that love him. - 1 Corinthians 2:9-10.