Bethany United Methodist Church

Learning to love as Jesus loves and sharing our faith with others

Learning to love as Jesus loves and sharing our faith with others

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Learning to love as Jesus loves and sharing our faith with others

More »

Learning to love as Jesus loves and sharing our faith with others

More »

Learning to love as Jesus loves and sharing our faith with others

More »

Learning to love as Jesus loves and sharing our faith with others

More »

Learning to love as Jesus loves and sharing our faith with others

More »

Learning to love as Jesus loves and sharing our faith with others

More »

Learning to love as Jesus loves and sharing our faith with others

More »

 

Our History

Bethany United Methodist Church was built in the summer of 1892 at a cost of $1,300 on land donated by J.B. Warren. On the 5th Sunday of October 1892 at 3:00 p.m., Bethany was dedicated to the worship of God. Dr. Erwin A. Yates delivered the message and in closing said: “The Church’s name is Bethany.”  Prior to that, it had been called Warren Chapel. Bethany had only a few members in the beginning and suffered through many difficult hardships. Conditions were harsh, muddy roads often closed Sunday School, and sometimes the preacher couldn’t make it to the service.  Parishioners would often hang around the door, but eventually go home.  The preacher would sometimes show up some time afterward, but there would be no congregation! Due to inactivity, its doors were locked and Bethany remained silent for nearly ten years (save for the occasional owl in the pulpit!)

 In 1903, the Rev. C.M. Lance, a student at Trinity College (now Duke University), approached the community surrounding Bethany Church regarding the possibility of reorganizing the Methodists. After canvassing on foot the whole area, Rev. Lance was able to do just that through a series of revival meetings. Church membership and Sunday School attendance grew rapidly.

 Some years later, Bethany was placed on the Board of Missions of the Conference. At the Annual Conference in 1917, Bethany was transferred to the Durham Circuit. In 1944 she was made a station and acquired a parsonage for her minister. A building fund was started in 1942, as Bethany was outgrowing the old wooden church building.  In 1949 a ground breaking ceremony was held for the new sanctuary and the church history was placed in the corner stone.  The new church building was completed in January 1951 at a cost of $54, 650, and the old wooden building was used for Sunday School. In 1955 the debt was paid on the new sanctuary, and the very next year a building fund was started for a new educational wing.  The new educational building was completed in January, 1960.

 A new parsonage was purchased in 1967, replacing the old parsonage which was adjacent to the church property.  The old parsonage was eventually torn down to make way for more parking, needed for an ever expanding church. 

Over the next 25 years, a number of church improvements took place. The sanctuary was air conditioned, the chancel/altar area and Fellowship Hall were renovated, a handicap ramp was installed, the church office was upgraded, the kitchen was remodeled, the sanctuary was re-carpeted, a new organ was purchased, and the parking lot was paved.

 One important event that took place in 1980 was a vote to relocate Bethany Church to a location within a five mile range north of its present location.  The area surrounding Bethany was becoming more commercial, and a thorough study was made to determine whether Bethany should remain in its current location or relocate to an area farther north.  This proposal was voted down, and the church remained in its present location.  Years later, there would be another proposal by a local developer to exchange our present site for relocation and the building of a church of equal footage to existing buildings at no cost to Bethany members.  However, this option by the developer fell through, and once again Bethany remained at 2809 Guess Road.

 In 2004 the Long Range Planning Committee began once again to talk about relocation.  Bethany was “hemmed in” in a commercial area, and access from Guess Rd. was difficult.  After considering a few properties but not having much luck, the committee had an epiphany of sorts, and decided to consider “blooming where we were planted.”  In 2010 we purchased the old Guess Rd. Veterinarian Clinic located one property over from the current location, and Bethany was able to expand its current campus.  The new building contains multiple office spaces and will eventually house  a large multipurpose space and commercial kitchen that will eventually be used for worship, Vacation Bible School, concerts, meals, and other events.  We also hope to one day have meditation paths and gardens between the two complexes.  With the purchase of this new space, Bethany likes to say that we are “a flowering oasis in a concrete jungle.”  Let us nourish you on Sunday and every day in your journey of faith. 

 The bell which tolls on Sunday morning in the church steeple is the same one that has rung out God’s calling for over 100 years – from the former little white church until the present time.

 We invite you to worship with us as we continue to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ throughout the Durham community!