OUR HISTORY

Bloomingdale Baptist Church was organized on April 2, 1944 in response to a request made from within the community for Baptist church services. A council consisting of 8 preachers and 13 deacons from surrounding churches was named and a call was made for charter members. Thirteen precious people responded to that call, eight by letter, one by statement, and four by baptism.

An offering was taken that day and $100 was collected and in a spirit of giving, a spirit that has continued to the present, it was voted to give ten percent of what was collected through the cooperative program. The remainder was added to money already collected and the former Epworth Methodist Church building was purchased for $1,600 including fixtures and .08 of an acre of land. It was in that old church building with thirteen charter members and fifty donated song books that Bloomingdale Baptist Church, the oldest Baptist church in the Bloomingdale area, humbly began. 

2013224The first elected pastor of Bloomingdale Baptist Church was James Taft Richards, of Granite Falls, North Carolina. At an early age, he united with Concord Baptist Church where his parents were charter members. He was seventeen when he first felt the call to enter the ministry, but did not actually enter until he was thirty-three.

Upon recommendation of the Temple Hill Baptist Church, Pastor Richards was ordained December 8, 1941. He was called to Bloomingdale on July 13, 1944. At his first business meeting as pastor, he, his wife Louella, and their four children were received by letter into the church. The first revival was conducted October 22-29, 1944, with eighteen new members being added to the church. The first Lord’s Supper was observed on October 15, 1944.

On April 1, 1945, a dedicatory service was held. At that time, the minutes reveal that the new church had grown from thirteen charter members to fifty members, which reflects a fruitful seven-month ministry of the first elected pastor of the newly organized church. Pastor Richards served our church until he was called to Mill Creek Baptist Church in December 1950. Members of Pastor Richards family continue to be active members of Bloomingdale Baptist.

662370On March 21, 1951, Joseph William Byrd, son of the late Rev. Allie R. Byrd, Sr., a well-known Baptist evangelist in East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia from 1938-1948, and the former Gussie Catherine Frazier of Scott County, was elected the second pastor of Bloomingdale Baptist Church and ordained to the ministry on April 1, 1951 at West View Baptist Church. The following year, on July 25, 1952, he resigned from the Tennessee Eastman Company to become Bloomingdale’s first full-time pastor.

In April 2012, Pastor Byrd celebrated his 61st anniversary as pastor of Bloomingdale Baptist Church making him the longest tenured Southern Baptist pastor to serve a single church in history. On September 2, 2012, Pastor Byrd was named Pastor Emeritus of Bloomingdale Baptist Church in honor of his many years of faithful service. Pastor Byrd and many of his family are active members.

WHITTEMORE, PHIL; (Staff)50Bloomingdale Baptist Church called their third pastor on August 26, 2012, when Phillip R. Whittemore was elected at a called Sunday morning business meeting. A member of Bloomingdale Baptist since he was 16 years old, Phil was saved and baptized at Bloomingdale in 1979, he and his wife Lisa were united in marriage by Pastor Byrd at our church in 1986, and both of their children, Heath and Heather, were saved and baptized in our church. In addition to serving as Sunday School teacher and youth director in the past, Phil was elected and ordained as a deacon in 2003, and was ordained into the ministry as assistant pastor in 2006.