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After being honored by members of Bethlehem Baptist Church at his home sanctuary last month, Little Country Baptist founding pastor James Lewis "Simp" Jenkins will be the guest pastor at Bethlehem Sunday.

Time of the sermon is 11 a.m. and Bethlehem is located at 3902 Highway 158 outside Roanoke Rapids.

Little Country is canceling its services to join and support their pastor at Bethlehem, Bethlehem Pastor Francis Kyle said.

Social distancing and other novel coronavirus precautions will be observed.

"This is a rare and special opportunity to hear from what could be the oldest pastor in North Carolina, and maybe even in the entire United States,” Kyle said, “And at the church where his life was radically changed for the better some 65 years ago." 

Jenkins’ visit is in honor of Bethlehem's 130th anniversary this year.

“At age 94 and physically frail, Rev. Jenkins is returning to his spiritual roots for what he and others are well aware may very well be his last time,” Kyle said. 

It was through Bethlehem's door-to-door evangelism ministry team in the mid-1950s that Jenkins experienced his conversion to evangelical Protestant Christianity. 

Immediately upon becoming "born again" at about age 30, Jenkins stopped being an illegal whiskey bootlegger. 

After his baptism by immersion in Deep Creek, Bethlehem also played a major role in Jenkins' early spiritual growth and call to the gospel ministry. 

Besides a couple years each in Roanoke, Virginia, and Jacksonville, Florida, ministering in homeless shelters, Jenkins' entire life and ministry has been in Halifax County. 

He was born in 1926. 

Before establishing Little Country Baptist Church in June 1989, he founded the now-disbanded Boseman Baptist Church on Highway 48.

For more information about Bethlehem Baptist Church visit its website at this link, contact Kyle This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 252-308-4082.