Before the inception of Mt. Sinai Baptist Church, African-Americans in the Hallsboro community worshipped at Bethel and Mount Hermon meeting houses. While in the presence of their masters, they were seated in a separate section. In 1853, the membership at Mount Hermon included thirty-four African-American members.

In 1861, the church membership at Bethel numbered 152, which included 70 whites and 82 African-Americans. Needless to say, the African-Americans, who were baptized members of the church, made a significant portion of the congregation.

In 1865, just two years after the issuance of  the Emancipation Proclamation, Bethel’s elders asked their African-American members if they wished to remain with the Bethel congregation or receive letters to join Midlothian African Church (currently First Baptist Church of Midlothian). Midlothian African Church was one of two all colored congregations formed by the Middle District Association, the governing religious order at that time.

The African-Americans, who retained their memberships with Bethel, were allowed separate use of the meeting house on the first and third Sunday afternoons of each month. They were responsible for abiding by the rules of the church. Jordan Branch, Thomas Goode and Charles Street were entrusted to secure and return the key to the sexton. Immediately following the Civil War, the African-American members separated from Bethel to form their own independent place of worship. This independent place was founded in 1874 and they met in bush arbors, a shady place formed by trees or shrubs. Later on, they worshipped in a small building where the cemetery is presently located.

A Sunday school was founded in 1877. Cornelius Mimms, a prominent lawyer, teacher and the first African-American in Chesterfield County to serve on the Board of Supervisors, was the original superintendent.

On the site where the church and cemetery are now located was known as Gravel Hill Farm. The property was owned by the Josiah Hundley Family of Hallsboro Tavern. William and Rebecca Spears inherited the property and sold all but one acre to J.B. Watkins. The one-acre piece of land, which was priced at $17.50, was sold to a colored Baptist church. This church was named Mount Sinai.

Why was the name Mount Sinai chosen? Perhaps it was chosen because the church was to be erected on a hill. Perhaps it was named Mount Sinai because it is often identified with several mountains on the Sinai Peninsula where Moses received the law and the Ten Commandments. (Exodus 19:20-34)

On Tuesday, July 2, 1878, a deed was made between William and Rebecca Spears and Trustees Joshua Bell, Lawson Patterson, and Richard Vaughan. The deed was presented and recorded in Chesterfield County courthouse on April 12, 1880.

With the founding of Mount Sinai Baptist Church, we became Bethel’s second daughter church. Bethel’s members provided the land. Their leadership also assisted their African-American members in forming their own independent place of worship during the difficult days of Reconstruction following the Civil War.

The present building was built in 1884, designed by the Watkins Nursery family, and constructed by Carpenter John Wooldridge of Powhatan County. The building was described as having a flat roof, wood floors, lights on the walls, and two stoves that burned wood and coal. There was one stove on the left side and another stove on the right side of the church. There was no back door. Water was put in pails for drinking, and there was an outdoor lavatory. In addition, there were three rows of pews and two aisles. The building had two front entrances with steps in front of each entrance. Lastly, the building sat on pillars.

There was also an Amen Corner. Deacons and older members, referred to as saints, sat in this area. They witnessed to the preacher and sang in a Dr. Watts’ style, which was the singing of a line by a leader and its repetition by the congregation.

Public school was taught in the church until Dry Bridge School was built in the neighborhood.

Revivals were held for two weeks, and there was a mourners bench. The unsaved were invited to sit on the front pew, as they sought their souls’ salvation. Persons accepted Christ during the revivals in August and were baptized in September. Early baptisms were held in a neighborhood creek on the Patrick Lee property. The pastor, candidates, and the congregation walked from Mt. Sinai to the creek while singing, “Take me to the Water.” The outdoor baptizing pool was built in 1930. Sixteen candidates were baptized that year.

Mt. Sinai had five pastors during its early years. Reverend George Rollins was the pastor from 1920-1929. Next, Reverend George W. Manning was the pastor from 1933-1994. Then Reverend R. Alexander Chavis was the pastor from 1997-2004. During his spiritual leadership, an addition to the church began on September 3, 2003, and it was completed on February 29, 2004.

Then Reverend W. L. Moody was the pastor from 2007-2023. During the pastorate of Reverend Moody, the church continued to experience a blessed and productive ministry. To God Be the Glory!

Even today, our mission remains the same; we are “One Body United in Christ.”