We affirm our belief in the one-eternal God, Creator and Lord of the world, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who governs all things according to the purpose of his will. He has been calling out from the world a people for himself, and sending his people back into the world to be his servants and his witnesses, for the extension of his kingdom, the building up of Christ’s body, and the glory of his name. We confess with shame that we have often denied our calling and failed in our mission, by becoming conformed to the world or by withdrawing from it. Yet we rejoice that even when borne by earthen vessels the gospel is still a precious treasure. To the task of making that treasure known in the power of the Holy Spirit we desire to dedicate ourselves anew. ISA. 40:28; MATT. 28:19; EPH. 1:11
We affirm the divine inspiration, truthfulness and authority of both Old and New Testament Scriptures in their entirety as the only written word of God, without error in all that it affirms, and the only infallible rule of faith and practice. We also affirm the power of God’s word to accomplish his purpose of salvation. The message of the Bible is addressed to all men and women. For God’s revelation in Christ and in Scripture is unchangeable. Through it the Holy Spirit still speaks today. He illumines the minds of God’s people in every culture to perceive its truth freshly through their own eyes and thus discloses to the whole Church ever more of the many-colored wisdom of God. II TIM. 3:16; II PET. 1:21; JOHN 10:35
Love God, Love People, Share the Good News of Jesus
To adore and seek the attention of the Creator of the universe is at the core of who we should be.
God desires fellowship with us; and, that we should be in fellowship with each other.
Jesus teaches us, through His word, that we are to no only worship, and be in fellowship, but to disciple (teach) one another.
Founded in 1885, we will be celebrating our 137th anniversary in August, 2022. The narrative below uses references such as “currently”. This document was prepared in 1984 & 1985 and does not necessarily reflect the current programs and policies of Bethel Christian Church today. Thanks to Paul Cronan who performed the research and prepared the document below.
HISTORY – Beginning
Baxter Golightly, who founded Bethel Christian Church, traveled all over the state of Georgia starting churches. The first meeting was held on October 5, 1885. The area where the church met was a brush arbor. Their first meeting was in this arbor.
There were thirty-five charter members. In the early years of the church, when they had traveling preachers, they didn’t have services at Bethel every Sunday. They met at Bethel Christian Church on the first Sunday of each month, and at other area churches the other Sunday.
The first Elders were James Summers and N.H. Capart. The first Deacons were George Smith and George Harrelson.
On November 26, 1885, an agreement was made between David Graham and a building committee of the church for a parcel of land at the present church site as well as rights to the use of neighboring Indian Camp Spring. The purchase price was $40.00. Signers of the agreement from the church were N.H. Capeheart, G.T. Smith, G.P. Sigman, P.M. Born and W.H. Trimble.
The original building was built of white clapboard and was dedicated May 3, 1886. During the building of the structure, the church met in the brush arbor until winter, when they moved into an old log schoolhouse on the property in the rear of the present cemetery.
On December 6, 1889, T.A. White gave the church “for love and in consideration of the love to hear for the cause of Christ and his Church, and from an earnest desire to promote his heritage on earth” the property adjacent to the building. The quote was taken from the original deed for this transaction and is shown on the next page for your information.
On December 2, 1892, John H. Wood, who never ministered to this congregation, was the first person to be ordained into the ministry in the church. The first person to be baptized was Patrick H. Cooper, who was also the first to be buried in the cemetery.
On January 31, 1891, the following was shown as a listing of the budget:
|Collected for Pastor’s Salary||$61.45|
|State Evangelistic Work||$6.25|
|Northeast Georgia District Work||10.55|
|By the Committee for Education Board||5.00|
|Pledge to Pastor’s Salary unpaid||$17.25|
|Advanced by S.H. Wood District work||$1.95|
|WHEN COLLECTED WILL BE||$112.15|
The first homecoming was held in 1886. The first Sunday in August was chosen because the first Sunday was their meeting day and because August was between harvest time for the farmers. Until recent years, Bethel has been a large farming area. The food crops were harvested by the first of August and the cotton wasn’t ready for harvesting yet. Homecoming was a time of celebration and thanksgiving. They were thankful for the food harvest which had been put up for food for the winter to come. They anticipated a good cotton harvest. Homecoming was a time of singing, testimonies and good food. Former members of this congregation told of killing the chicken on Sunday morning and then preparing it for the meal before church. We continue the tradition of having homecoming the first Sunday in August today.
Until the Educational Building was built in 1984, there were huge concrete tables between the Annex and Field Road. Dinner on Homecoming was spread on these tables and everyone stood around to eat. Homecoming lasted all day. After dinner on the grounds, they had special singing and Christians gave testimonies of what God had done in their lives.
During later years, a tradition began with a week long revival beginning on Homecoming and lasting the entire week. Other congregations in the area associate Homecoming and Revival at Bethel with the first Sunday in August. Everyone in the area came because this was a time of fellowship.
The 1930’s, which was the time of the depression, was a very bad time for the congregation. A good attendance at services was 15 people. The church almost died during this period, but the members stuck it out and the congregation once again began to grow. A little faith went a long way.
During the period, the minister as D.A. Brindal. Mr. Brindal was from Griffin; every Saturday he would ride from his home to Atlanta by train. He would stay with a church member who worked in Atlanta and return home again on Monday. Some Sundays the offering was so bad that one of the Elders would stand outside after church and pass the hat among the men in order to collect enough money for Mr. Brindle’s train-fare home.
In 1948, the church began holding services every other week and soon after began having weekly services, which has been enlarged upon.
In 1960, an addition was built onto the original church building. This addition included a fellowship hall, a kitchen and rest rooms. In the back and to one side of the original church sanctuary was a nursery with a glass front. Mothers could sit in the nursery with their babies and still be able to see and hear what was going on in the services.
In 1975, the Church Board approved the sponsoring of a Kindergarten Program. They had a 4 and 5 year old program using ABEKA materials. The purpose was to train and educate preschoolers in basic skills and to teach them about Jesus. The curriculum included Music, Bible Stories, Memorizing Bible Verses, and structured play. Each bible verse was supported with a practical story to apply it to every day situations. Those who taught were Beverly Key, Lynda Gilbert, June Cronan, and Midge McCullough. The church discontinued the program in 1981 when Public School Kindergarten grew to the point that there was no longer a demand in the community for a private kindergarten.
In February, 1981, the church purchased 12 acres on Field Road across the road from the church. This property has had extensive grading (volunteer work from members of the congregation) and grass has been sown. In 1985, the land was used for the first time as a baseball field. In January 1984, the church swapped 1/2 of the lake which was part of the original purchase, for more land with road frontage.
In April 1982, the church purchased a van to be used for church groups. Prior to that time there had been a church – bus formerly a school bus which, the youth, had used extensively, In the past there had been area youth rallies, when the youth-in all the area Christian Churches would get together once a month. The church bus had broken down and a van was purchased which is still in use.
In July, 1983, work began on the Education Building which is a large fellowship hall with improved kitchen and rest room facilities and a large classroom. There is a full basement which provide room for expansion. Much of the work on this building was done by church members. Many times the same men were there night after night after working all day at their jobs and then they worked all day on Saturday. This building was dedicated to the Lord’s work August 3, 1984.(The remainder of this text has been scanned in and has not been entirely edited for errors in the scan process)
Of course, during the early years of the church, there were not cars for everyone to ride to church in, so they had their horse and buggy. We knew that the early members of this congregation had ridden to church in this manner. In 1983, when the men of the church were sawing down trees to make room for the Educational Building, they cut into two horseshoes in one of the trees. These horseshoes were pointing up and had actually grown into the tree. These were used to tie up the horse and buggy. Prior to the time when there was a baptistery in the church building, the church baptized in Haralson Shoals, which is a creek.
During the mid 1950’s, the church saw a need to build a parsonage for the minister and his family to live in. Grady and Eunice Piper were living in Milstead at the time, but had purchased a piece of property close to the church to build a home on. They donated an acre to the church and a 3 bedroom brick house was built for the minister. Mr. Piper served as head of the building committee and was in charge of the construction. The first minister to live in the parsonage was Earl York. In 1965, the church budget was $113.79 per week. At the Annual Church Meeting in September of 1965, a building program was approved and plans began for a church building. Also at this meeting, rules were approved for voting rights in the Church Elections. They were:
(1) Must be a member of Bethel Christian Church for one year.
(2) Must be an active member for the past six months.
(3) Must be at least 16 years old. These are the only requirements,
still enforced today.
In 1967, the present sanctuary building was built with classrooms in the basement. The first service was held in this building on Mother’s Day, 1967. In 1967, extensive remodeling began on the annex of the original church building. The main part of the building which was built in 1886 was disassembled a piece at a time by members of the congregation. The bulletin boards in the foyer and the annex are framed with boards from the original church building. This addition was then transformed to make room for the minister’s office, secretary’s office, and a fellowship hall which was used until 1984 when the Educational Building was
completed. The front porch was taken off of the side of the annex and one of the members of the congregation volunteered the labor to brick the building to match the sanctuary building. A new remodeled kitchen and remodeled rest room facility
was a part of the building. Members of the congregation did all of this remodeling as well as paneling the wall of the fellowship hall. The pews in the new Sanctuary Building were paid for by members of the congregation and some were dedicated to the memory of loved ones who had passed on. The names of those who participated are engraved on brass plates at the end of each pew. They are:
Mr. and Mrs. Tom Sullivan
Mr. and Mrs. James B. Baker
Mr. Frank Hays
T. Jeff Sullivan
Mr. and Mrs. E. M. Moon
Mrs. Mary Wallace
Mrs. Bernice Graham
Mr. Nathan Eudock Graham
Mr. and Mrs. Jim Oglesby
Fred Corley, Sr.
Mr. and Mrs. Clarence N. Cowan
Mrs. James M. Dennard
John T. Dennard
Eva M. Dennard
M. L. Dennard
Mr. and Mrs. George M. Day
Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Johnson
The original church building had a basement, but no indoor plumbing. In the cemetery were two trees on opposite sides of the cemetery. On one side was the ladies “out house” and on the other side was the men’s “out house”. Each building had two sides. One of the men in the congregation regularly brought the Sears
Roebuck Catalog to Homecoming for use in these facilities. The tree beside the men’s building housed a pink condor, which is a type of bird. The original church fathers thought this significant enough that they marked it on the original
cemetery plan. THIS WELL AT THE CHURCH WAS THE PRIMARY SOURCE OF WATER UNTIL THE LATE 1970’s WHEN THE CHURCH HOOKED ON TO CITY WATER. ONE FORMER MEMBER RECALLS DRAWING WATER FROM THE WELL WHEN SHE WAS A CHILD IN BIBLE SCHOOL.
On March 13, 1885, during a church meeting, a motion was made and carried to appoint a committee to survey the property where the cemetery is. They agreed that plots should be marked off and that a plat should be made. Anyone taking a plot would have their name registered on the Church Book. It was ordered
that a plat be drawn on the Church Record. The committee was composed of J. M. Summers, chairman, W. H. Trimble, P. H. Born, and G. P. Sigman. On May 5, 1&88, a plat of the cemetery was presented to the congregation. Patrick H. Cooper was the first person to be baptized at Bethel. He was also the first to be buried in the cemetery. His tombstone reads “FIRST MEMBER OF BETHEL CHURCH AND THE FIRST
TO DEPART THIS LIFE ….DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY”. His son, Patrick H. Cooper, Jr. was born after his father died. Since a full plat of the cemetery had not been made since the original plat was made, with the help of members of Boy
Scout Troup 209, I have drawn and included what graves are marked in the cemetery now. Many graves are not marked or only have a rock for the head stone. I heard that there are at least three graves in the woods but I was unable to verify this. Around the turn of the century, a baby died in the church. Every baby that was at that funeral died within a year. Many of the graves in the cemetery along Bethel Road are, indeed, tiny ones. In the early days of the church, babies were born at home, but many babies died in childbirth. Many of the plots show where complete families with several young children were wiped out within a ten year period. There were outbreaks of cholera around the turn of the century.
The tombstones bear quotes about the attributes of the deceased and are fashioned in the shape of marble white hearts and other designs. One tombstone was carved into a piece of wood , It marks the burial site of a member of an organization called Woodmen of the World. People don’t have the money to
spend on fancy tombstones anymore. In June of 1984, Bethel Christian Church purchased Underwood Memorial Gardens which joins Bethel Cemetery.
Bethel Christian Church is fortunate to have strong leaders. Elders and Deacons are elected and ordained each fall. The Elders see to the spiritual welfare of the congregation. The Deacons have assigned tasks. Below is a list of the
current responsibilities of each one.
EDUCATIONAL DEPARTMENT – John Crawford Includes Bible School,
Youth Groups, Library, Adult Education, and Vacation Bible School.
WORSHIP DEPARTMENT – David Snyder Baptism, Communion, Music,
Flowers, and Nursery Committees.
EVANGELISM DEPARTMENT – Mickey Farrin and Charles Potts
Missions, Benevolence, Visitation and Revivals.
BUSINESS DEPARTMENT – David Peek, Grounds.
MEMBERSHIP DEPARTMENT – Danny Davidson, Finance, Building and
Men’s Fellowship, Recreation, Women’s Groups, Fellowship Dinners, and Senior Saints.
The Church Treasurer and his Assistant keep track of the finances and the church clerk keeps a record of the membership and the minutes of all church meetings.
The Bible School Superintendent looks after the needs of the Bible School and the Teachers. The Teachers and Youth Coaches plan interesting programs for their classes and they plan outings in addition. We have been fortunate to have very capable ministers to this congregation. Listed below are those who have served this congregation:
Baxter Golightly A. E. Sims
Pastor Cunningham R. Sims
N. J. Tumlin P. Gibson
W. A. Chastain N. Puckett
E. L. Shellnut . R. Puckett
Pastor Lambert T. Jones
G. W. Kelly R. Mann
D. A. Brindle E. York
R. Cochran T. R. Proffitt (my grandfather)
C. Turner (first full-time minister)
We have had and presently have many dedicated leaders. Thank you to all who serve so well, we appreciate you. Belle Scaffe’s baptism at Haralson Shoals.
Over the years there have been many occasions when we have honored the elderly members of our congregation. There have been fruit baskets at Christmas time, banquets of various forms, and more personal services. From time to time as
the need has arisen the members of the congregation have ministered to the needs of the elderly by washing windows, raking leaves, cutting grass, providing transportation, and whatever other need there might be. In 1984, a regular program began with a dinner every 3rd Wednesday especially for these special members of our community. They even have their own band, they sing the songs
of their youth and enjoy their fellowship; and, oh, don’t forget the food; these ladies are the best cooks in the congregation.
Bethel Christian Church has an active ladies program. In 1982, there were three circles. The morning circle was known as the Circle of Joy and met twice a week. The first week was a study and the third week of each month was a time of service. Their mission was Ninos de Mexico which is a children’s home in Mexico. The Circle of Faith was a Bible Study Circle. Their most recent study was the “High Cost of Growing” by Joyce Landorf. The Martha Circle took their name from Martha, the sister of Mary and Lazarus. Their goal was to serve as Martha had. They contributed much in the way of missions to Christian City and to some of the local churches. Their most recent study was from “Fragrance of Beauty.” The ladies are active in the_ Western District Missionary Society; they care for a foster child at Christian City; they aid churches in need such as Clayton Christian Church and
Cleveland Avenue Christian Church. The Martha Circle has what they call their “Special Ladies” who they enjoy doing little extra things for. These ladies are elderly and love the affection which they all share. In 1985 there cease-d to be three circles and became one under the name of The Martha Circle. When there had been three circles, there had been a Women’s Committee to oversee the Ladies Ministry. The ladies work in many areas of the church many times unseen by other members of the congregation. They prepare communion, keep the baptismal robes cleaned, wash windows around the church, clean carpet, and when the educational building was being built some of the ladies even stained the trim and painted the walls.
Each year the ladies have two major events; the Women’s Retreat and the Mother/Daughter Banquet. The Women’s Retreat is a week-end away from home when they study, have fellowship, and get to know each other better. The Mother/Daughter Banquet is the time that the hard work of the Ladies of the church is recognized. Each year a Woman of the Year is honored and a lady is added to the Bethel Hall of Fame. This practice began in 1979 and 1980
In the late Spring of each year, the Georgia Women’s Retreat is held at Atlanta Christian College. This is an overnight fellowship with ladies from allover the state of Georgia. The ladies of Bethel Christian Church are active and they show that they love the Lord and really enjoy what they do.
The men at Bethel Christian Church are busy in the Lord’s work. They visit with prospective members, help those in need, and anytime the senior saints need repair work done they know that the men of this congregation will be there to help. The men of Bethel worked hard to make the Annex, the educational Building and the Ballfield a reality. They enjoy special times of fellowship also. They
have had father/son campouts, retreats, and special meals just for them–no ladies allowed. Each fall there is a Georgia Men’s Retreat at Woodland Christian Camp which our men enjoy. They enjoy the music, the fellowship, and the preaching I am told is the greatest.
Bethel Christian Church has always had a large youth program. I am told that during the early years of the church, when people didn’t have transportation to get around, Bethel was THE place for the youth of the community to congregate.
Bethel had a large Bible School and, of course, Vacation Bible School during the summer was a big thing. Over the years, we have been fortunate in having very talented ladies to write skits and perform other special services to the youth. There were hay rides and weiner roasts. As they sat around the bonfire, they would sing and have fellowship. As members and former members of this congregation told of those days, their eyes would glisten. I couldn’t help but feel that they longed for those days. Bible School has grown at Bethel from those days. Now there are classes for each age group with dedicated Christians to teach and lead.
Vacation Bible School is still a big thing in the community with boys and girls coming from all around. There is always something big to close off VBS; things like a picnic or an ice cream social with real homemade ice cream.· In 1984, a Prayer Breakfast began on the 1st Saturday of each month. This is a time of fellowship with the youth from neighboring congregations.
Woodland Christian Camp is the camp that the church supports and the youth from the congregation go there for a week or more during the summer. This is a special time and many of our young people become Christians during that week. Woodland has a swimming pool, a vespers area where the Word of God is preached each evening, a recreation area complete with a ball field, and a chapel. There are always special nights during the week for us to display our talent, play games with the adults, there’s the Galilean Service with the cross out over the lake (it used to be in the ball field). This is a special time and a very emotional time for all
involved. And, of course, no week of camp would be complete without the faculty ball game or the boys serenading the girls on Friday night.
The youth program has grown at Bethel. Many of our youth groups, who meet on Wednesday evenings, have their own retreats away from the church. This is always a special weekend. Our activities have included such things as fishing,
tubing down the river and Bible drills. When the youth groups began during the 1970’s, the goal was to add knowledge and build up our young people. Each
group builds on the group before and the leaders work with the aim that these youth will be the leaders of this congregation tomorrow. These leaders are equipping the youth for Christian service. The groups are listed for your information and a little information is given for each group.
NURSERY – birth till walking well – these babies are loved and cared for by adults who are dedicated to their service to the church.
TODDLERS – under 2 years old – they play simple games, listen to records and hear Bible stories.
ASTRO ANGELS – 2 and 3 year olds – they hear a Bible story and make a craft or a picture that helps to illustrate the story. They are taught songs, finger plays, and memorize real short Bible verses.
SPACE CUBS – 4 and 5 year olds – they study “Animal Ventures”. They are taught a Bible Story, make a craft o~ picture to go with the story and learn Bible verses. They receive awards for their memory work, help during class, bringing visitors,
and paying attention. If they earn awards for 6 weeks, they receive an iron-on patch for the t-shirt. Sometimes they act out a Bible’story, play games or have a party.
WHIRLYBIRDS – 1st thru 3rd grades – their programs vary from time. Sometimes their work is done at horne. They earn awards by reading scriptures, memorizing, doing helpful tasks at horne and inviting visitors. They have a cap that they put their patches on. The first thing they earn to go on their. hat is the plastic helicopter. They have outings, go skating, have weiner roasts, take short trips and have parties from time to time.
JET CADETS – 4th and 5th grades – they have Bible drills, do memory work, have contests, do skits and play games. They learn to pray, learn the plan of salvation and how Jesus wants them to live both at home and at school. They learn to share
and help others at Christmas as they deliver fruit baskets and sing Christmas Carols for the elderly. They also help pick-up papers, etc. around the church. They are rewarded for keeping clean, setting the table and taking out trash. They also help with the Nursery and the little ones.
STARS – Middle School age – they study things like peer pressure and how to handle getting along with each other, study the Bible and learn how to apply it to their lives. They have skits, games, devotions, plan their own outings and retreats.
They are encouraged to have their own Bible reading and prayers daily. They do service projects for the senior saints without expecting pay. They help with the younger children at church and baby sit for special events.
LM1BDA-CHI – 9th grade and up – they discuss dating, forming habits, prayer, peer pressure, and how they can be of service to others. They help teach other classes with an adult to aid them. These young people are given a chance to work with
the Children’s Church programs driring the worship hour on Sunday morning.
During the 1970’s a Children’s Church program began. The pre-schoolers and grade school youth have their own church programs. Here they learn how to behave in church, how to give to the Lord and what the communion service is all about.
Bethel Christian Church is fortunate to have a well rounded music program. There are many talented musicians in the congregation who fill in both with their beautiful voices and with their ability on the instruments. The Adult Choir is composed of some college age young people and adults. This choir is a regular part of our worship services. They work hard to present almost weekly special numbers as well as masterpieces at Christmas and other special occasions.
The Teen Choir is composed of Jr. and Sr. High School age young people. Under the capable leadership of David and Gloria Vesser, many young people have had their musical abilities challenged to reach their full potential. The Kid’s World Singers is composed of 1st through 5th grade young people. This group is a marvel to watch. They enjoy working on musicals, and many of our-adults have had a hand in making these pieces of music come alive. The Cherub. Choir is t.~ cutest of all of the choirs. This choir consists of ages 2 through 5. They are so cute and sweet. To listen to them is like listening to the angels. Several times during the year, the music department puts together a musical program on Sunday nights. Some of
the programs that I remember are; “The Old Rugged Cross” and “The Old Country Church.”
In the past, there have been special times of music when quartettes would perform and groups from the community would take part. Many times special groups that are in the area provide an evening of inspiration. We’ve been fortunate to have such groups as The Gospel Lads, The Dill Family and choirs
from Atlanta Christian College and Milligan College to name a few.
Bethel Christian Church has an active softball program for men and women. There were informal teams during the 1970’s; however in 1982, the church became a member of the Rockdale League. We have been fortunate to have dedicated coaches for both teams. In 1983, the church board supported the erection of a
basketball goal in the church parking lot bordering on Field Road. This small court is open to the youth of the community as well as the church members.
There are many opportunities to fellowship at Bethel. There are after-church socials from time to time. February is Family Month at Bethel with the church services aimed at the family and socials that give the church families an opportunity to share together. There have been church camping activities as well as cook-outs both at the church and in other settings. The Mother-Daughter Banquet is a favorite time for the ladies. Sometimes the food is catered and sometimes the banquet is held in restaurants in the area. The summer affords some extra special times with vacation Bible School soon after school is out and
Homecoming and the Revival in August. One former member of the congregation
recalls fond memories of Homecoming. She said that the ladies would get up early on Sunday morning and kill the chickens and dress them. She described frying them after soaking them in buttermilk. – As a youngster around Bethel she always looked
forward to Homecoming as “a feast”.
With the fall, of course comes Halloween and for the youth at Bethel, that means the “Autumn Celebration”. -This is like a huge Halloween Carnival on Halloween night. The boys and girls in the community look forward to that as much as they would look forward to “Trick or Treat”.
Each Thanksgiving, the church honors the new members who have joined our congregation during the year at a “New Members Meal” the Sunday before Thanksgiving. At Christmas, the congregation formerly had a huge all church Christmas Party often with Santa Claus himself in attendance. In recent years,
however, the church has had an “All Church Birthday Party for Jesus”. Instead of giving gifts to one another in the congregation, now members bring gifts to Jesus in the form of monetary donations to the church, art supplies to be used in the classes, or supplies for the kitchen or other areas of the church.
New Years Eve wouldn’t be complete without the New Years Eve Celebration for the youth. The teenagers stay up all night playing games, bowling, playing basketball with other congregations, watching a movie, to name just a few of the exciting things that have been enjoyed in the past. During the year there are retreats for the youth, the ladies, and of course for the men. The Board members have their own retreat which is a time of inspiration and renewal for them.
There are many areas for service at Bethel Christian Church. We could never do without the volunteers who give unselfishly of their time; many times this service is done without the knowledge of other members of the congregation. Members keep up the buildings and cut grass, as well as keeping up the cemetery. There are times during the year when a “Work Day” is called; lunch is provided by members
of the congregation, and everyone enjoys the fellowship of working side by side with other members of the congregation.
The Educational Building which was dedicated in 1984 was built largely by ladies and men who gave many hours. Ladies spent countless hours staining trim, painting, cleaning windows and many other tasks like picking up trash around the building and hauling off rocks. Several men in the congregation spent many hours after
working at their jobs each evening working at the church, and then spent all day on Saturday. These were dedicated men who have worked endlessly without expecting glory. Bethel Christian Church is fortunate to have men who love the Lord so much.
The church office is run by ladies who give of their time week after week in order that the church paper “the Beacon” can be printed. The church paper has changed over the years. Formerly the paper was called the “Bethel Bulletin”; however in 1980 it became “The Beacon”. The Bethel Bulletin combined a Sunday morning bulletin with a weekly news bulletin. The Beacon is a news article; a separate bulletin is handed out on Sunday morning. The printing of the church has changed a lot over the years. The original printing press was a spirit duplicator. From there they progressed to a stencil type duplicator. At present we have an A. B. Dick Offset Press. In the past some of our ministers have done the printing, but at the
present time members of the congregation volunteer their time to print the literature that goes out to the congregation. Other services which are volunteered by the congregation are cleaning the baptistry, keeping it filled, keeping the
baptismal robes cleaned and mended and preparing and cleaning up from communion to name a few.
When the original church building was torn down, members of the congregation disassembled the building one board at a time. The bulletin boards in the church building and in the annex are framed with the wood from the original building.
“And Jesus carne and spake unto them saying, ‘All power is given unto me in Heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.'” – Matthew 28:18-20
The above scripture is known as the Great Commission. Bethel Christian Church is active in Missions. At least 10 per cent, which is a tithe, of the church’s income goes to Missions.
The church has a Benevolence Funds which is used first to help families in the church and second to help those in the community who are in need. A committee from the board oversees this fund.
The church supports two foreign missionaries. Lee and Sandra Jones in Hiroshima, Japan and Georges and Laverne Carillet in New Guinea.
The Jones’ are preaching the gospel to the Japanese and are in hopes of building a church building in which to meet in the near future. They have purchased a piece of land for this purpose. The Carillet’s are working with Pioneer Bible Translators.
New Guinea has over 5600 different languages. As yet, the Bible still must be translated into over 3000 of these. The Carillet’s are excited at the possibility of working on these translations.
The church supports two children’s homes. They support Ninos de Mexico, which is in Mexico and they also support Christian City. At present the ladies circle is supporting a child at Christian City. The church not only supports Christian City Convalescent Center, but at least one Sunday per year we carry the church
service to them complete with special music. Twice. a year, members of the congregation send money to Church Builders. This money is used to help build Church Buildings in Georgia. Clayton Christian Church in the mountains of north Georgia has been a mission of the congregation for several years. They have built a building and have recently hired a preacher. A little over a year ago, the church started helping Operation Housetop which is a prison ministry.
Each spring the Missionary Rally is held at East Point Christian Church. This event is exciting because many of our missionaries are there with exhibits and sometimes they are among the speakers. Bethel supports Atlanta Christian College; many of our ministers have been graduates of ACC and many of our young people attend college there.
Woodland Christian Camp is located in Temple, Georgia. They have facilities for both girls and boys. There is a wilderness type vespers area, a lake, a large dining hall, swimming pool, chapel, and facilities to park campers. Woodland offers a wide variety of camping possibilities; they have regular camp for 3rd grade thru high school; 2 Appalachian Trail Camps; a Cumberland’ Island Camp and a Canoe Camp. They are presently constructing a Railroad Camp which will open in 1986. This camp is real railroad cars and is located on the other side of the lake from the present camp. They plan to operate two separate camps at the same time each summer.
This may appear to be a sudden end to the history of Bethel. The content of this page was assembled by Paul Cronan as an Eagle Scout project during 1984/85 along with help from Troop 209. Bethel very much appreciates this document and Paul’s work. This project was completed during the 100th anniversary of Bethel Christian Church.