The Pastors of Bethlehem
From its founding until 1859 Bethlehem shared its pastors with other churches in an itinerancy arrangement.
Each year at the fall meeting of the North Carolina and Virginia Christian Conference a Committee on Itinerancy would be appointed, generally
consisting of elders, licentiates, and lay delegates. If the pastors and the committees could agree on an arrangement for the following conference
year, the matching of pastors to itinerancy circuits would be listed in the committee report, which was published as a part of the conference
minutes. If no arrangement was reached on a particular itinerancy circuit by the time the report was submitted, the report was silent on that particular
circuit and the committee merely acknowledged that the arrangements were incomplete. Such committee reports are the primary sources for information
about the early pastors of Bethlehem. In latter half of the nineteenth century the committee name changed to the Committee on Ministerial Supply.
With a few exceptions, the earlier annual conference minutes listed only the name of the circuit, not the
specific churches comprising it. Bethlehem, when it was specifically listed prior to 1854, was always a part of the Haw River Circuit. Therefore
the following list is based on the assumption that prior to 1854, the itinerant for the Haw River Circuit is the pastor for Bethlehem. Occasionally
the committee report listed two ministers for a given circuit. Also, there were sometimes two pastors listed for two circuits. In each of these
cases, the names of both pastors are given.
In the 1850s the North Carolina and Virginia Christian Conference minutes began to include Statistical Tables
for the member churches. Among the data in these tables is the pastor for the year in which the conference met. Since these are
after-the-fact reports, rather than predictive assignments like the itinerancy committee reports, they are relied on where available. Also useful
are the Ministerial Reports made by the ministers to the annual conference, when they happen to mention the names of the churches they served that
In the papers of Rev. J. W. Holt, he mentions that Lewis Craven, D. W. Kerr, Shubal Evans, R. S[tephen] Turner, Joseph Murray, George Swift and John Walker preached in the log church.
We know of ten men who have gone out fromthis church to become ministers: