Minnehulla Baptist Church, Goliad

Historic photo of Minnehulla Baptist Church, Goliad (Photo provided by Dr. Ira Antoine).

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This is a special edition of Deep in the Hearts of Texans featuring historic Black Texas Baptist churches in celebration of Black History Month.

The following responses were provided by Dr. Ira Antoine, pastor of Minnehulla Baptist Church in Goliad and Texas Baptists’ director of bivocational ministry, and life-long church member Shelia Edwards. The congregation meets at 3572 Highway US 59.

When and why was Minnehulla Baptist Church founded?

According to the community, family storytellers and oral tradition, Minnehulla was founded around 1870. This was not long after the emancipation of the enslaved Blacks in Texas.

The original name was Minnewee, which was also the name of the nearby creek. No one knows why the name changed to Minnehulla, but it seems to have been after a flood destroyed the brush arbor structure in the early 1900s.

Why the church was founded would include the need for worship and some independence from their former masters. They wanted to recapture some of their culture and heritage that had been forbidden for so long.

The church founders found a way to make worshipping God unique to them and their own, including some of their rhythms and beats passed down secretly from their ancestors.

What was a struggle during the church’s history?

Minnehulla’s struggles included financial resources, a need for property and male leaders. Even after acquiring property, due to poorly made facilities, the bad weather and storms kept destroying their places of worship. Yet, through these struggles, the church learned the meaning of true faith. They had to pick up and start over as many times as needed.

What was a triumph?

One triumph of the church included and still includes the faith and strength of the people. No matter the challenge, the church family always has trusted God and pulled together to triumph over ongoing adversity. This becomes normal when you have had to fight for what was right so many times.

Our church family is conditioned never to give up, to hold to God’s plans for us and to overcome every time.


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Recent photo of Minnehulla Baptist Church, Goliad (Photo provided by Dr. Ira Antoine).

What was a significant moment?

A new brick facility was constructed between 1997 and 2000. The significance of that event never can be overstated.

The previous church building was destroyed by fire. The membership continued to meet, trust God and persevere. God allowed a small band of faith-walkers to purchase more than nine acres of highway-front land and construct a brick building that could weather the storm.

One memorable part was having a horse-drawn carriage transport some of the elders to the new building from the previous location. The membership, friends and other congregations followed on foot, singing and praising God for the journey the church had taken.

We walked over rugged, over-turned soil, and each step was a victory in Jesus. It was proof of the power of God and that he did new things for his followers.

What makes Minnehulla proud?

Each time we see a child we watched grow up in the church and accept Christ as their Lord and Savior is one of the proudest moments. Also, when young adults who once were part of our congregation as children stop former youth leaders in town and share how Minnehulla changed their life. They want their children to experience what they experienced at Minnehulla.

Minnehulla is also proud to be a strong missionary sending agency. During Rev. Ronald Edwards’ 17-year tenure, the church planted five other churches and supported seven existing churches.

The church also has sent missionaries across the United States and to South America, Spain, Africa, England, Germany, Italy, the Bahamas and Canada. Minnehulla currently supports MAP missionaries in Uganda and Tanzania.

What is the church’s impact on its community?

Goliad is a small, rural community where everyone knows each other. Suppose you were to stop a resident on the street and ask them about churches in the community. They will probably bring up Minnehulla.

The citizens of Goliad have a sense of ownership in this church. Many physically worked on constructing the current facility. So, they don’t think twice about calling when they are in need.

Our congregation does not turn anyone away. If we don’t have the resources in-house, we research and find organizations that can help. Minnehulla is a church that accepts all, and the community knows it. We often say God has called us to be a resource to the region.


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