Bethlehem Baptist Church - Roanoke Rapids, NC

Bethlehem Baptist Church. 3902 Highway US 158, Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870. Est. 1890.
Opening at 11:00 AM
Header image for the site


JAMES LEWIS "SIMP" JENKINS (1926-2020, age 94). Converted to Christ, baptized and mentored by BBC in the 1950s/60s, Pastor Jenkins founded Boseman Baptist and then (in 1989) Little Country Baptist Church in Roanoke Rapids, NC. The Halifax County, NC, pastor-evangelist will be dearly missed. The o...

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FBI AGENT DOUBLING AS GUEST PREACHER. This Sunday, October 18, 11:00 a.m. Come and be blessed and a blessing in welcoming a Raleigh-area FBI Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) who is our substitute guest preacher while Pastor Kyle is away. BBC: 3902 U.S. 158, Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870. All the detail...

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RARE DOUBLE GRAVESIDE FUNERAL SERVICE. At BBC cemetery. 07/24/20. For BBC'ers (2018-20) Vernon Carl Kahler (1941-2020, Vietnam War veteran, U.S. Navy) and Helen Arthur Kahler (1940-2020). Married 46 years. Helen passed away just 4 days after Vern. 26-minute video, includes biographies and militar...

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POSTPONED (DATE TBA): SUNDAY, 07/19/20. 11:00 A.M. -- JAMES LEWIS "SIMP" JENKINS, AGE 94 -- SPECIAL GUEST PREACHER. Pastor Jenkins' personal history goes back 65 or so years (mid-1950's) with Bethlehem. The ex-whiskey bootlegger was "born again" (John 3:3), baptized by water immersion (in Deep Cr...

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FATHER'S DAY, 06/21/20. BBC is cancelling our 11:00 a.m. worship service in order to attend the 11:00 a.m. service 3 miles away at Little Country Baptist Church (754 Thelma Road, Roanoke Rapids, Halifax County, NC). The visit is in support of and encouragement to LCBC founding pastor James L. "Si...

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May 17, 2020 – May 17, 2020

After an 8-week absence, and with common sense health precautions in place, BBC has reopened our Sunday 11:00 a.m. in-person public/corporate worship service. Face mask, gloves, etc. (all optional, do as you wish): come and bless us with your 6-foot "social distancing" bodily presence as we resum...

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CANCELLED--UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. Stay tuned here--or on our Facebook page--for when BBC resumes our Sunday 11:00 a.m. weekly worship service. BBC is heeding the executive orders of and strong recommendations from our county, state and federal health and governmental officials. And applying common...

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3 years ago
- Renee H
Sunday worship at 11:00 a.m.

Address (physical and mailing):
Bethlehem Baptist Church
3902 Highway U.S. 158
Roanoke Rapids, NC  27870


Located half-mile east of William R. Davie Middle S.T.E.M. Academy, along North Carolina's 350-mile U.S. 158. Five miles west of Roanoke Rapids and Exit 173 on I-95. And eleven miles east of Littleton.

In addition to God the Holy Spirit, come also and visit and bless us with your presence! 

Dr. Francis Kyle, pastor and scholar-in-residence. And author and founder, Uncommon Christian Ministries. See below for his biography.

A historic and friendly rural church serving Halifax, Northampton and Warren counties (NC). And Brunswick, Greensville and Mecklenburg counties (VA). Includes the Lake Gaston, Roanoke Rapids Lake and Roanoke Valley region. 

Church sanctuary is handicap accessible with a ramp on the west entrance.

With spiritual roots in the Old Testament, New Testament and the Protestant Reformation, BBC is in substantial agreement with the Baptist Faith and Message (2000) and the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith (1689). 

BBC is a member of the North Roanoke Baptist Association (est. 1957) and Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (est. 1830).

For inquiring minds regarding English Bible translations, BBC has NKJV Pew Bibles. Pastor Kyle preaches from the ESV, however.


Founded in 1890 by the noted North Carolina pioneer church planting pastor A. G. Wilcox (or Willcox, 1845-1921). 

While helping his wife raise their 7 children, BBC is 1 of 21 rural churches in 6 northeastern North Carolina counties that Wilcox served during his 42-year pastoral and church planting ministry, 1879-1921. The 6 counties are Halifax, Martin, Nash, Northampton, Wake and Warren.

The Brinkleyville, Halifax County, NC, native also served as clerk and treasurer of the Tar River Baptist Association (est. 1831) for 41 years, 1878 and 1881-1921. 

--> NOTE: Though no longer owned by the Wilcox family, the Wilcox plantation home  (1853-1980) south of Roanoke Rapids, NC, is on the National Register of Historic Places (1982- ). It is known as the Gray-Brownlow-Willcox House or LaValle.

For the 100th anniversary of the death of A.G. Wilcox, BBC is planning a special commemorative event for April 2021. This will be in conjunction with BBC's 131st anniversary (homecoming), to also be commemorated the same month. Stay tuned.

Bethlehem Baptist Church began in 1890 as a brush arbor church. Members then built a wooden structure in 1895 along what is now N.C. Route 903, about a mile east of Everetts School Road. The eight founding members included the last names of Hockaday, King, Morris, Pepper and Shaw. In 1950, BBC relocated some two miles north, along U.S. Route 158.

The rural church’s peak membership years of more than 300 occurred in the 1950’s under pastors Joseph W. Riggan (1908-1992) and Raymond L. Britton, Sr. (1923-2003). 

The longest, more recent pastorate, from 1993 to 2005, was that of John Rowland. Pastor Rowland left BBC to pastor Outer Banks Baptist Church in Kill Devil Hills, NC, where he remains pastor to this day.

On Father's Day, June 21, 2020, BBC joined for public worship Little Country Baptist Church. Located three miles away on Thelma Road in Roanoke Rapids, James Lewis "Simp" Jenkins founded Little Country in 1989. BBC played a major role in Jenkins' conversion to Christ, baptism, early spiritual growth and call to the gospel ministry in the 1950's-60's. 

At 94 years old (born 1926), the combination of the coronavirus pandemic and Jenkins' frail health prevented him from guest preaching at BBC. His guest preaching, and two other events in 2020 to honor BBC's 130th anniversary, were all cancelled. So BBC went to Pastor Jenkins! 

Read about the special joint worship service between BBC and LCBC--and a biographical sketch on the ex-whiskey bootlegger Jenkins--at and The Daily Herald. Also online is the brief video of the Father's Day "feel good" story at the close of the 11:00 p.m. newscast on WRAL-TV (Raleigh, NC).

If anyone has any photographs, documents or oral history related to Bethlehem Baptist Church, please contact the church.


For the names of most of those buried in BBC's cemetery, visit the cemetery's online page at Formed in February 2006, non-BBC volunteers created and maintain this helpful and free online database ( Cemetery No. 2166352).

The cemetery predates BBC's 1950's arrival to 3902 Highway U.S. 158, the church's second and current location. The earliest graves date to the early 1900's and are those of Confederate States of America (CSA) soldiers.


We welcome and introduce our new pastor and first-ever scholar-in-residence and non-native Southerner, Dr. Francis Kyle. He began July 3, 2019. 

A formal pastoral installation service occurred November 10, 2019. Click here for the online public photos of the special event. And here for the online local news article.

Come join BBC in giving Dr. Kyle a warm North Carolina welcome. With first impressions at stake, the American southeast and mid-Atlantic region are new to him. 

Well-traveled and with over 25 years of experience in a variety of city, suburban and rural American, Canadian and Israeli ministry and work settings, Francis comes by way of Louisville KY (2013-19). And before Louisville, Marysville WA (2012-13), Jerusalem Israel (2009-11), Port Angeles WA (1992-2009, 2011-12), West Hartford CT (ages 5-20), Toledo OH and Miami FL.

He came to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ at age 21 in an employee dorm room while working as a seasonal waiter at historic Lake Crescent Lodge in Olympic National Park, twenty miles from Port Angeles, Clallam County, WA. 

Prior to Olympic, Francis worked one season at Chisos Mountains Lodge in Big Bend National Park, Texas, and Many Glacier Hotel in Glacier National Park, Montana.

Immediately after conversion, Francis sensed a call to the gospel ministry. Youth and young adult pastor, college campus minister, interim pastor and foreign missions are some of the past vocational ministries he has engaged in.

His higher education residences have included Hartford CT, Three Hills AB Canada (B.A.), Toronto ON Canada (M.Div., Th.M.) and Portland OR (D.Min.).

A passionate lifelong learner, and since 2014, Dr. Kyle also has earned several healthcare related (IAHCSMM) and university-based online professional certificates (Maryland, Michigan, Villanova, Yale, UC-Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center). Areas of study have included process improvement methodology (Lean Six Sigma), healthcare leadership, surgical instrumentation and sterilization, positive psychology (personal and for the workplace), emotional intelligence, community engagement and the hospitality/tourism industry.

Some of his temporary, non-vocational ministry employments have included seasonal waiter (9 summers, Olympic National Park), substitute public school teacher (K-12), head and assistant basketball coach (middle school boys/girls, high school boys and community college men), paratransit bus driver and hospital sterile processing technician (for surgical instrumentation).

Guided by the Bible's Proverbs 30:7-9, Philippians 4:11 and 4:19, 1 Timothy 6:6-10, and Hebrews 13:5, he remains committed to his lifetime of loan- and debt-free living. And striving for material and financial contentment.

In addition to a variety of published articles and book reviews, Dr. Kyle is the author of An Uncommon Christian: James Brainerd Taylor, Forgotten Evangelist in America's Second Great Awakening (2007). And the edited anthology (with an introductory essay) Of Intense Brightness: The Spirituality of Uncommon Christian James Brainerd Taylor (2008). Both published by University Press of America (Rowman & Littlefield) and with a wide range of international endorsements.

Born in Connecticut, partially raised in New York City and buried in Virginia, the once popular Princeton University and Yale Seminary-trained Second Great Awakening evangelist James Brainerd Taylor (1801-1829) defined an "uncommon" Christian as one who is striving to be "an eminently holy, self-denying, cross bearing, Bible, everyday" Christian.

J. B. Taylor was a maternal cousin, four times removed, of the famed First Great Awakening missionary who also died young, David Brainerd (1718-1747). Like Brainerd and England's Henry Martyn (1781-1812) and Scotland's Robert Murray M'Cheyne (1813-1843), so too did Taylor become famous after his death. Nineteenth and early twentieth-century Protestants in North America and Europe were inspired by the "Memoir of James Brainerd Taylor" (1833) and "A New Tribute to the Memory of James Brainerd Taylor" (1838).

More books and an updated autobiography/memoir are planned in his "uncommon Christian" series. Francis founded Uncommon Christian Ministries in 2007 and has an Author Central page.

With diverse interests and an extensive resume of local community engagement and volunteerism, Kyle is a member of several North Carolina organizations and the following national entities: Evangelical Theological SocietyEvangelical Missiological SocietyFellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals (FIRE), American Society of Church HistoryNineteenth Century Studies AssociationNational Trust for Historic PreservationMilan (IN) 1954 Hoosiers [Basketball] Museum, American Motorcyclist Association and Iron Butt Association.<

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3902 U.S. 158
Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina 27870
United States

Business Hours

Sun:11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
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