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02/27/2009

Bethel History

After the 100th Anniversary

After its 100th anniversary, Bethel Methodist Church launched into its second century of serving as a beacon from God and meeting the spiritual needs of the community.  In 1953, the church purchased an additional 2.8 acres behind the existing church building, allowing for the expansion of the parking lot, the creation of an outdoor chapel and the installation of a ball diamond.  A year later new classrooms and restrooms were added via the construction of a new wing that connected the sanctuary and the old brick school house that had become known as the Scout House.

After many years of sharing a pastor with the Linworth Methodist Church, in 1956 Bethel became a charge of its own and Reverend Elford Hoff was called as Bethel's first fulltime minister.  In 1958 a parsonage was purchased from the Hard family (where the church custodian now lives) and in 1959 the Scout House was remodeled for additional Sunday school rooms as well as a place for community meetings.

During the period from 1959 to 1966, much thought was given to relocating, however, zoning, annexation and long range highway planning delayed any serious relocation efforts.  But at a congregational meeting in August 1966, a decision was made to move forward with relocation plans and subsequently, 7.5 acres were purchased from the Hard and Gardner families.  The purchased property became the site of the present Bethel United Methodist Church.  Also, in 1968, as a result of the merger of the Methodist and the Evangelical United Brethren denominations, the church became known as the Bethel United Methodist Church.

On December 12, 1971, an historical event was celebrated in the life of the Bethel United Methodist Church.  Bishop F. Gerald Endsley presided over a service consecrating the new Bethel United Methodist Church.  Assisting Bishop Endsley in the service were Walter Plummer, district superintendent, William Burley, former pastor, and J.W. Spears, the Bethel pastor at that time.

BUMC continued to prosper and grow as God's children and in May 1976 it purchased a new parsonage at 1343 Slade Avenue.  The Reverend Dale Bumgardner was the first Bethel minister to live in the newly acquired parsonage.  And then, on May 25, 1980, the congregation rejoiced again in the consecration of a new educational wing and fellowship hall that added significantly to Bethel's ministry and Christian education program.  Bishop Dwight Loder delivered the sermon and led the consecration service.

On November 22, 1992, Bethel United Methodist Church celebrated 150 years of growing, reaching and serving at both the 9:30 and 10:45 a.m. services.  Bishop Loder once again delivered the sermon while Dr. J. Franklin Luchsinger, Reverend Jimmie Spears and Reverend Dale Bumgardner assisted at both services.  The 150th Anniversary Planning Committee consisted of Jean Austin, Rick Doran, Myron Warner, Peg Stinson, Kendal Hibbs, Carolyn May, Bonnie St. Germain, and Frank Luchsinger.  


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