Church History

HCBC Historical Church PhotoThe Hill Chapel Baptist Church, organized in 1892 by the late Reverend L.T. Smith as the church’s founding pastor, grew out of Hill First Baptist Church. In the early years, church services were held at the corner of Harris and Broad Streets and continued there for 64 years. The membership was small at the beginning, but it grew consistently. The first meetings were held in an old house and later a church structure was built and a new cornerstone was laid on June 1, 1924. Before long, expansion became necessary and appropriate land was located in the western section of the city of Athens, Georgia.

The present edifice was started June 13, 1956. For more than a year, worship services were held in the first unit of the church. In 1960, construction of an educational building was started.

In the late eighties, $60,000.00 in additions and renovations to the structure were made. The membership continued to grow. In June of 1991, one of Hill Chapel’s most beloved pastors, Rev. Jesse Barnes, Jr. was called to serve and lead the flock.

During his pastorate, many wonderful blessings were realized. Several ministries which are still active today were established. In 1996, plans for an education/recreation building were finalized with the groundbreaking taking place in July. A beautiful, spacious, and functional facility resulted and the Family Life Center was named in honor of Pastor Barnes. A day care center was licensed in 1999.

Also in 1999, the first Trustee Board was selected. In the summer of 2000, the church started a summer camp to serve as a safe haven for area youth. Computer classes began in 2001 to enable the church family and the community at large to learn computer technology as it bombarded society. In 2001, a youth ministry was energized and a praise dance team was formed.

Hill Chapel engages in partnerships and business opportunities with our members and the Athens community. A partnership with Athens Land Trust resulted in a community garden. An annual Legacy Banquet was established in 2010. It was designed to honor trailblazers of Northeast Georgia by applauding the contributions they have made. Furthermore, funds from the Legacy Banquet provide scholarships for high school graduates who are entering post-secondary institutions.

In 2011-2012, a new technology system and lighting upgrades were installed at Hill Chapel. Renovations to the sanctuary and fellowship hall were completed.

On September 27, 2013, the Lord sent the Reverend Benjamin E. V. Lett to Hill Chapel Baptist Church to serve as the twentieth pastor. The church has experienced numerical, financial, and spiritual growth under Pastor Lett’s leadership. New land has been acquired and new deacons ordained to meet the growing needs. A group of 25 dedicated servants now serve as deacons. The position of Christian Education Director was added to support the tremendous educational needs of Christians in a modern society. Pastor Lett wants Hill Chapel to be a church that is known for its faith and in that vein, God is blessing us abundantly above all that we can ask or think, and we are ready to reap EVERYTHING that HE has in store for us as we continue to move to the next level in Christ Jesus.

Hill Chapel is an affiliate of the Northwestern Baptist Association No.1, the General Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia, Incorporated and the National Baptist Convention U.S.A., Incorporated.



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