A 1983 report by Ana Jewel (McClellan) McMinn third daughter of E.S. and Beedie Frances (Archer) McClellan, is that E.S. made a trip to Waxahachie, Texas when he was about twenty-five years of age (abt. 1897). While there, he listened to a “street preacher” and as he listened to the preacher, “Elijah was converted. He (Elijah) said he could feel something go into his heart … nothing like before or after … He called it ‘heartfelt religion.”
During 1909 families in the Hill Community, Coleman County, Texas were discussing and planning to organize a Baptist church with the name ‘Bethel Baptist Church.’ September 10, 1909 the Bethel Baptist Church was organized. “Mrs. W.W. Holmes was baptized and brother E.S. McClellan stood approved for baptism. On September 24, 1909 (age 37) Elijah McClellan was baptized. On August 28, 1910 (age 39), Bro. E.S. McClellan was elected Clerk and served until September 16, 1938. McClellan family records report that Elijah was ordained as a deacon in Bethel Baptist Church about 1915 (age 45) and served the congregation in that capacity to the Fall of 1946, when he and Beedie Frances (Archer) McClellan moved to Santa Anna, Texas and moved their church membership to the First Baptist Church of Santa Anna. Elijah was asked by the Santa Anna congregation to serve as a deacon in their church. He served until his death, February 25, 1969.