Berea Baptist Church was constituted as a church in
1926, though it had functioned as a church for months earlier.  It’s humble beginnings started with the Burnt
Swamp Baptist Association, an all-Indian association established in 1881 to
promote the growth of Indian churches. 
The Association was dedicated to the training of ministers within the
Indian community.  This dedication led to
the development of an Indian Orphanage in Pembroke.  Land for the school and orphanage was donated
Mr. E.L. Odum, a resident of Robeson County interested in the well being of the
Indian community.


Soon after completion of the school, a group of
Baptists began meeting in the training school for worship and Bible study.  The association did not utilize the facility
as many had hoped, and as a result the group holding services at the facility
requested the use of the school property to become a church.  Permission was granted by the Association and
in October 1925, the Forty Seventh Annual Session of the Association was held
at the new Berea Baptist Church.  It was
also at this time Berea was extended the right hand of fellowship and was
admitted as member of the Association.


The church was officially organized in 1926 by the
following charter members:  Mr. J.C.
“Sonny” Oxendine, Mrs. Dorcas Oxendine, Mr. E.B. Sampson, Mrs. Nora Sampson,
Mr. and Mrs. Evander Hunt, Mr. Bennie Chavis, Mr. Jodie Oxendine, Mrs. Chariety
Oxendine, Mr. Ashley Oxendine, Miss Bessie Oxendine, Mrs. Annie Lizzie
Locklear, and Rev. L.W. Jacobs.  Sons and
daughters of these charter members continued the leadership in Berea Baptist
Church. For example, Mrs. Mable Oxendine, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J.C.
Oxendine, served as Church pianist for many years.  Sons of Mr. and Mrs. E.B. Sampson:  Benny, Sanford and Earl, would follow in
their parents’ path to become dedicated leaders at Berea serving as Sunday
School Superintendent, Church Deacons, Sunday School teachers, and various
other positions.


The congregation elected Mr. J.C. Oxendine as it’s
first Sunday School Superintendent.  By
1926 Berea had a total enrollment of 121 in the Sunday School program.  Rev. L.W. Jacobs, who had served on a quarter
time basis, was called as the first pastor. 
It was during his leadership that Berea developed a three-phase program
including Sunday School, Baptist Training Union, and Worship.  At the close of Rev. Jacobs’ pastorate in
1952, the vision of member W.G. Revels led Berea to become the first church in
the Burnt Swamp Association to enter a full-time ministry.  The church called Rev. Robert Naylor, a
retired foreign missionary.  As a result
of the full-time minister, the church experienced considerable growth.


Following is a list of other pastors in order of
service:  Rev. P.M. Dorr, Rev. Richard Bailey,
Rev. C.M. Cummings, Rev. James J. Bardin, Rev. Lawrence P. Hardy, Rev. Jimmy
Fox, Rev. Sidney Oxendine, Rev. Hardy’s second term, Rev. Ron Anderson, Rev.
John Mullinax, and the current pastor, Rev. Bruce Swett.


Berea achieved another “first” in the association
under the leadership of Rev. James Bardin when it built a parsonage for it’s
pastor.  An old workshop building used
originally by the Agriculture Department of Pembroke State College and later as
a residence for the college custodian, Mr. Walter Pinchbeck, was moved across
the street to it’s present location and remodeled.


While each succeeding pastor had strong leadership
abilities and provided many advances, Berea experienced much growth under the
pastorate of Rev. Lawrence P. Hardy.  He,
along with his wife, Alice Hardy, was a unique blessing to not only Berea
Baptist but to the entire Pembroke community and Association.  Both Hardys possessed a deep compassion for
the needy and the neglected.  Their
genuine love for all people regardless of race, creed or color; their inspired
devotion to God and their fellowman; their enthusiastic approach to ministry
among all groups charmed those who labored with this couple and benefited from
their ministries.  The Hardys had a
special interest in ministering to children. 
Under their leadership, Berea began programs specifically designed to
the ministry of young people.  Programs
such as the Royal Ambassadors (RAs) for boys and the Girls’ Auxiliary (GAs) for
girls were designed and attracted young people from many of the churches in the
Pembroke community.  In addition, Rev.
Hardy was instrumental in implementing a bus ministry for those without
transportation to church services.   Each
Sunday morning one could pass the Berea bus traveling throughout the community
and town projects picking up children to attend Sunday services.  This ministry would continue each summer for
the Church’s Vacation Bible School. 
Berea was able to minister to may individuals both young and old through
this ministry.  It was during these times
that Berea really began to look inside itself to discover God’s will and


Along with strong pastoral leadership, Berea has had
the benefit of a dedicated congregation of strong individuals.  Many of those who struggled to build Berea as
we know it today are no longer with us, serving as church deacons, Sunday
School teachers, church clerks, and in a variety of other roles.

Berea Baptist Church

120 N Odum Street

Pembroke, NC 28372

Rev. Chris Hunt

Sunday School 9:45am / Worship 11:00 am

Phone: 910-521-4661