Bentley Chapel United Methodist Church

One of the first churches to open its doors to the Movement, Bentley Chapel is credited with organizing and equipping the community to take action during Freedom Summer. Reverend L.P. Ponder served as pastor of both Bentley Chapel United Methodist Church and St. John UMC during this time.

The success of Freedom Summer is due in part to the indispensable support of local churches such as this one.


Jeannette Smith lived across the street from Bentley Chapel UMC and worked with Rev. Ponder’s wife and son to provide food and aid to the workers coming to teach community members how to pass the voting registration test.

NOTE: Be on the lookout for the Hi-Hat Club MS Blues Trail Marker on your way to this stop! It’s at 209 Airport Rd, about a block from the Community Center on the left.