For moments let us go back, back in time to the year 1869 to a small town called Keans Neck, South Carolina. A group of recently freed slaves gather under the blear blue skies amid the moss-laden trees. The worshippers kneel on the velvet like grass and pray to God Almighty. They sing hymns accompanied by chirping birds and they read scriptures on a cathedral created by the hands of God. From this simple beginning evolved the Mt. Carmel Baptist Church of Dale, South Carolina. (See Card From a Colored Minister)
Mt. Carmel Baptist Church was organized under the guidance of the Mother church, Tabernacle Baptist Church, Beaufort, South Carolina. It was organized and dedicated under the leadership of Rev. D. W. Blythewood of Tabernacle Baptist Church. The list of officers was Billy Middleton, Adam Snipes, Peter Rivers, Peter Maxwell, George Green and 1882 and Daniel Gadson.
Rev. S. H. Chisolm became pastor in 1882 and under his leadership the first Mt. Carmel Church was built. Several dedicated men served on the Deacon Board. These Deacons were James Dawson, Isaac Coleman, Robert Prichard, Joly Middleton, Thomas Heyward, Thomas Hunt, Parris Glover and Moses Coakley. Frank Williams, Peter W. Maxwell, Thomas J. Maxwell, Daniel Kline and Thomas Maxwell, Jr. became licensed ministers and were called Sons of Mt. Carmel.
Rev. Peter W. Maxwell succeeded Rev. Chisolm. Thomas Heyward, Dan Simmons, Jacob Cuthbert, Julius Walker, William Lesesne, Ned Simmons and Joseph Green were members of the Deacon Board. After the death of Rev. Maxwell, Rev. S.T. Bobian became pastor of Mt. Carmel. He served faithfully until his death. Upon the death of Rev. Bobian, Rev. J.E. Johnson served as pastor for six years. During Johnson’s administration, James Thompson was added to the Deacon Board.
Rev. J. W. Barnwell served as pastor of Mt. Carmel from 1945 until 1972. During this time, Reve Parris Glover became a Son of Mt. Carmel and several Deacons served with outstanding dedication. These Deacons were Ned Simmons, Joseph Simmons, William Lesesne, Sam Green, James Thompson, Eddie Kline, Jackson Brown, Thomas Smalls, Moses Watson and Alonzo Brown. The church family mourned the passing of Deacon Ned Simmons who served as chairman of the Deacon Board until his death in 1958. The church family mourned the passing of Deacon Joseph Simmons who chaired the Deacon Board from 1960 until his death on February 10, 1988.
In 1952, under the leadership of Rev. Barnwell, the former church, presently the Fellowship Hall, was erected. Later bathrooms and modern heating were added. During Rev. Barnwell’s tenure church membership and Sunday School participation increased. In 1961, new carpet was added, and the roof of the church was covered with tin. A communion set was purchased in 1968. In the early seventies new pews and pulpit furniture were installed.
Rev. Barnwell also played a vital role in the community. He was a civil rights leader. He prompted voter registration and was instrumental in the decision of the Greyhound Bus Company to pick up passengers in dale and the surrounding areas. He resigned as pastor of Mt. Carmel in 1972.
Rev. Reuben Dicks followed Rev. Barnwell in 1973. Rev. Dicks was a well-known educator of Beaufort County. During the time he served, membership increased, a Pastor’s study was added, the Deaconess Club, the Junior Choir and the Young Adult Department were organized. On May 31, 1974 the church family mourned the passing of Deacon James Thompson. In 1976, a new wing was added to the church. Two faithful men, Horace Johnson and Horace Dawson were added to the Deacon Board.
After the resignation of Rev. Dicks in November 1981, Rev. Elijah Singleton became pastor (July 1982). Rev. Singleton was noted for singing “uplifting” spirituals before or after his sermons. He will always be remembered at Mt. Carmel as a kind, gentle man. Under his leadership an organ was purchased, and the structure of the church was bricked in. On the 28th of November 1985, the church family mourned the passing of Deacon Horace Dawson. In 1987 Joseph Kline was ordained and became a member of the Deacon Board. Rev. Singleton resigned in April of 1988.
In August of 1988, Rev. James E. Moore became Pastor of Mt. Carmel. Rev. Moore proved to be a born leader. Our membership increased, and the quality of our services improved tremendously. We began to have worship every Sunday. Communion every third Sunday, prayer meeting every Tuesday, and Bible study every Thursday. Sunday School participation increased significantly with more adults and children attending. In addition, Deacon Jackson Brown was selected as the Chairman of the Deacon Board.
In 1989, Rev. J. Ruben Edwards became Assistant Pastor and Daniel Johnson was added to the Deacon Board. The public-address system was upgraded, the Mother Board, the Gospel Choir, Trustee Board and the Brotherhood were established.
On the 28th of January 1990, the church family mourned the passing of Deacon Eddie Kline, Sr. In June 1990 we enjoyed our first annual church picnic and Men’s Day Program. The Hurricane Hugo Relief Fund was established, and a cemetery plan was adopted. On June 28, 1990 the church family mourned the passing of Deacon Moses Watson.
George Dawson was ordained and became a member of the Deacon Board on October 13, 1991. On Easter Sunday 1991 the Sunbeam Choir was assigned to sing on the second Sunday of each month.
In April 1992 Rev. Chauncey Campbell became Assistant Pastor and served in that capacity until March 1995 when he was called to pastor Old Fort Baptist Church.
In 1993, the Food Share/Adopt-A-Highway Program was established. Property was acquired, and plans were made to build a new church. Additionally, our church ministry expanded both at home and abroad through support for the foreign mission in the Philippines and a local radio broadcast on WVGB.
Gerald Dawson, Alester Kline, Sr. and Stephney Simmons, Jr., were ordained and became members of the Deacon Board on April 2, 1995. The year 1996 was very productive at Mt. Carmel. Final plans were made for the new Sanctuary. On November 28, 1996 the church family mourned the passing of Deacon Horace Johnson. On March 2, 1997, Rev. James E . Moore and the congregation gathered on the site of the new church for the groundbreaking ceremony. Rev. Moore, Mother Rebecca Hunt and a representative from Cogun Industries, Inc., were the first to break ground for the new Sanctuary. After which a representative from each family participated in the ceremony by shoveling the earth. In May of 1997 Johnny Hannah and Roy Morris were added to the Deacon Board. The construction of the new church continued throughout the year and Praise Service and Bible Study were combined and moved to Tuesday nights.
On Sunday, February 15, 1998. the Mt. Carmel Church family celebrated the church’s 129th Anniversary and the dedication of the new Sanctuary. On April 28, 1998 we were blessed when Minister Christopher Watson joined the church family. In June 1998 a children’s church was established. The power of God moved through the congregation on July 26, 1998 when Deacons Gerald Dawson and Johnny Hannah were issued their ministerial licenses. November 1, 1998 the blessings continued when Minister Terry Whitaker was added to the church role.
On February 14, 1999 the Mt. Carmel Baptist church Scholarship Fund was established. A most memorable ceremony took place on February 21, 1999 when the church’s stained-glass windows were dedicated and commemorated in memory of loved ones passed.In April 1999 the church welcomed the addition of Minister Charles Griswold to the ministerial staff. On Sunday, August 22, 1999 Arthur Bryan and Calvin Rice., Jr. were ordained and became members of the Deacon Board. As preparation were being made to welcome in the new millennium, four Ministers on Sunday, December 19, 1999 became ordained. They were Gerald Dawson, Johnny Hannah, Christopher Watson and Terry Whitaker.
On Sunday, October 1, 2000 Steven Green and Bernard Johnson were ordained and became members of the Deacon Board.
Our first annual Youth Revival was held on Monday, June 11 through Friday June 15, 2001. 17-year old Minister Vincent Ellison of Columbus, Georgia delivered the message. In November 2001, Minister Jason Herring was added to the Ministerial staff. On Sunday, February 10, 2001 Annetta Butler joined the church and as an ordained minister became the first female added to the ministerial staff.
For the second time in 2002 another minister was added to the staff when Randal Harris joined on Sunday, August 11th. The church, having been blessed to pay off the mortgage on the new Sanctuary in four and a half years, celebrated with a Mortgage Burning Ceremony on Sunday, August 25, 2002. Praise and thanks were expressed as hundreds gathered to celebrate this joyous occasion. Ferrara Butler was officially appointed to the Deacon Board in the Fall of 2002.
In January 2003 Minister Johnny Hannah was called as interim pastor of New Road Baptist Church in Ridgeland, where on June 1, 2003 he was officially installed as Pastor. In February 2003 a group of committed members came together to organize the Dale Girl Scout Troop. The Greeters Ministry, College Ministry and Hospitality Ministry were also organized that year. On October 12, 2003 Minister Kenneth Bush became a member of Mt. Carmel and soon after was appointed the Minister of Music. With the blessings of the Lord and growth in membership, in October 2003 Ward Nine was established. Deacon Roy Morris was assigned to the newly formed ward after returning from military tour of duty. In December 2003, the first Mt. Carmel Scholarships were awarded to five Mt. Carmel Youth. Jeremy Brown, Cathy Cobb, Steven Courtney Green, Kimberly Lawton and Simona Smalls were each awarded $1,000 scholarships. In 2003, 43 new members joined the church, 15 of whom were baptized, 13 as new converts and two at special request.
Renovations to the Fellowship Hall were completed in March 2004 in time for the celebration of the church’s 135th Anniversary. Many were on hand for the anniversary celebration and the grand opening of the S. H. Chisolm Fellowship Hall. Our ministerial staff continued on the increase when Chaplain Dwayne Jackson became a member in April 2004, Minister Tanesia Belvin joined in October 2004 and Minister Ramon Karney joined the Mt Carmel family in December 2004. In 2004 57 new members joined the church, 11 of whom were baptized.
In 2005 34 new members joined the church, 10 of whom were baptized.
In late Spring of 2006, the Food Share Program ended and the following October the church joined up with the Angel Food Ministries. In September 2006, the church formed a partnership with Beaufort School Services and began operating the Sheldon Township Med-I-Assist Program from the church’s Fellowship Hall. In 2006 29 new members joined the church, 11 of whom were baptized.
On January 21, 2007 Minister Carolyn Warren joined Mt. Carmel and became a member of the ministerial staff. The first Youth Departments Friends and Family Fellowship was held on Sunday, Februry 11, 2007 following the regular morning worship service. Deacon Isiah White joined the church on June 10, 2007 and was officially appointed to the Deacon Board on Sunday, July 8, 2007. In December 2007, the sound and audiovisual system was upgraded to include enhanced sound and visual projections for presentation on the overhead screens located in the Sanctuary and the Fellowship Hall. In 2007 37 new members joined the church, 6 of whom were baptized.
On February 8, 2008 the church family mourned the pasting of Deacon Arthur Bryan. In 2008, 33 new members joined the church, of whom 20 were baptized. The church family mourned the passing of Deacon Jackson Brown, Sr., who chaired the Deacon Board from 1988 until his death on May 7, 2009.
In 2009 30 new members joined the church, 12 of whom were baptized.
On Sunday May 23, 2010, after delivering his initial sermon, Minister Charles King received his Licensed Minister Certification ad was thereafter added to the ministerial staff at Mt. Carmel. The vision for Mt. Carmel continues as construction started in early Spring on a new utility shed and preparations began on March 3, 2003 to convert the old Sanctuary to an updated Fellowship Hall to include a more spacious banquet facility, commercial kitchen appliances, food pantry, classrooms, storage areas and larger more modern restroom facilities. Deacon Tyrone Willis was officially appointed to the Mt. Carmel Board of Deacons on Sunday, May 23, 2010. The Bereavement and Counseling Ministries were established in 2010 and 18 new members joined the church, seven of whom were baptized.
February 2011 a computer lab with 8 work stations and internet access was established for our Sanctuary and Fellowship Hall. In 2011 42 n32 members joined the church, 15 of whom were baptized.
On October 14, 2012 Minister Damian Jones delivered his Ordination Sermon and became a licensed Minister of the church. In 2012 27 new members joined the church, 10 of whom were baptized.
On September 29, 2013 the Mt. Carmel family mourned the passing of Minister Charles King a kind and gentle man of God. In 2013 143 new members joined Mt. Carmel, 5 of whom were baptized.
In September 2014, Minister Damian Jones, having moved to Edisto, South Carolina, made the difficult decision to move his membership to Lovely Hill Baptist Church, Johns Island, South Carolina. The church was once pastored by his Grand Uncle. In 2014 27 new members joined Mt. Carmel, 13 of whom were baptized.
In February 2015, five of the church brothers, possessing qualifications of a Deacon answered the call. They were Lionel Blackman, Sr., Raymond Brown, Marvin Goodwin, Guy Henry. Sr., and Michael Ricks. Their ordination ceremony took place during the Sunday March 15, 2015 church anniversary service. The church purchased Radio Station 94.5 (WVGB) in July 2015 and officially went on the air in early August 2015. In 2015 24 new members joined Mt. Carmel, 17 of whom were baptized. In January 2016, a camera system was added to the church’s existing security system. Minister Tanesia Belvin and family relocated to Yuma, AZ and the Leader’s Meeting and Semi-Annual Conference was combined and moved to Saturday mornings.
In 2016 20 new members joined Mt. Carmel, four of whom were baptized.
Things are still much as they were in 1869, except we are no longer kneeling on the velvet like grass provided by nature, but on the comfort of carpeting. The Hymns are accompanied by the music of the piano, keyboard, drums, guitar and organ, replacing the chirping birds. The most import thing is still the same: the members of Mt. Carmel Baptist church are still praying to God Almighty and singing praises to His name. Our church is indeed a house of prayer.