Skip to content


    BETHEL BAPTIST INSTITUTIONAL CHURCH – Bethel Baptist church as is formally known, is now known as The Bethel Church.

    It is a mega baptist church located in Jacksonville Florida, United state of America. The existence of this church is way beyond the 1860s as many think. The church dates back to as far back as 1830s.

    The Bethel Church was formally instituted in 1838  by James McDonald and Ryan Frier who at that time served as co-pastors.

    History has it that The Bethel Church is the oldest baptist church in the city of Jacksonville Florida.

    At the moment, the church is headed by a senior pastor, Bishop Rudolph W. McKissick, Jr.

    The famous attenders of this church were the laves from local plantations who received day passes from masters in order to permit them to travel safely. The Congregations worshipped then at the Mother Sam’s” plantation.

    In 1840 Bethel Baptist built a church structure at Duval and Newnan Streets  in Jacksonville.  However in  1861, the original church building was sold and a new one erected at Church and Julia Streets.  Unfortunately, just Shortly after completion of the new church building, the Union Army took over, occupied the church and turned it into a hospital facility . Through this time Bethel Baptist continued to grow considerably, but political infighting led to parts of the congregation splintering off and founding new churches

    After the war, white members on the ground of racial discrimination attempted to eject black members from the church congregation.  The black members objected and took the dispute to the local court which decided in their favor because they were the majority of the congregation.  This decision awarded the church building to the black congregation, as well as the name Bethel Baptist Church.

    The growth of the church in 1895 was such that a  new building was indeed a necessity.  Hence the building of a new church structure which featured an It featured an auditorium with seating for over 1,000 people, plus nine classrooms.  In May 1901, a fire swept through Jacksonville, and the new edifice succumbed to the flames.  At this time the building at the River Square at Hogan Street was constructed.  The church remains at that location today but is now called Bethel Baptist Institutional Church. Co-pastored by Bishops Rudolph W. McKissick, Senior and Junior, the Bethel Baptist congregation continues to thrive.  The unique thing about Bethel Baptist Church is that Church services include education and counselling programs designed to build strong families and communities.

    The late 20th century congregation opened a new larger church complex in 1988, next to the 1904 church. The three-story addition serves as an educational and administrative building. The campus was further expanded[when?] with a $7.5 million building that contains a new sanctuary, conference center, space for youth and other support groups, and bookstore.


    Bethel Baptist’s global partnerships include churches in South Africa and Panama.  Bishop McKissick, Sr. has led Bethel Baptist Institutional Church for 60 years while his son, Bishop Rudolph McKissick, Jr. has served Bethel Baptist for 40 years and is now senior pastor.  Located at 1058 N. Hogan Street in Jacksonville, the church building, which was completed in 1904, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.  It is part of a complex of church buildings serving a congregation of more than 14,000 members.


    1. The Bethel Church was formally known as Bethel Baptist church .
    2. The Bethel Church located in Jacksonville Florida, United state of America
    3. The church is headed by a senior pastor, Bishop Rudolph W. McKissick, Jr.
    4. History has it that The Bethel Church is the oldest baptist church in the city of Jacksonville Florida
    5. The church is headed by a senior pastor, Bishop Rudolph W. McKissick, Jr


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    All Pastors