This church is located on Marengo Co. Rd. 38 approximately 0.4 miles from the junction with Co. Rd. 63 and approximately 8 miles northeast of Thomaston, AL in the community of McKinley (GPS coordinates 32.299380, -87.535042). Located beside the highway in front of the church is a historical maker, erected by the Alabama Historical Association in 2011, that contains details about the history of this church.
Below is the text on the historical marker:
“Following the Civil War and emancipation, newly freed African Americans, who had worshiped in the Bethel Church in McKinley while enslaved, established their own Bethel Church in a wooden house at the rear of the current church site. In the mid-1880s, this black Bethel Church became Bethel Hill Missionary Baptist Church. Elizabeth Borden deeded five acres of land to the church in 1894, and Rev. J.A. Lawson led the effort to erect a new building the same year. The structure was bricked during the pastorate of I.C. Acoff in 1936. Until the mid 1950s, McKinley School for African American elementary grade students was attached to the church. Original members of the church are buried in the church yard cemetery.“