Click for larger imageThe House (Beth) of God (El)

Bethel CME Church


At the close of the 18th Session of the South Georgia Annual Conference in Macon, Ga, December 1896, with Rev. Matthew Walker as Presiding Elder, Bishop R. S. Williams assigned Rev. Bayfield as pastor of Rockey Hill and Valdosta Mission. Rev. Bayfield gathered a few faithful men and women and organized the Bethel Colored Methodist Episcopal Church in 1897. From a poor simple beginning on Savannah Ave. in an old hall, it moved to it's present site in 1900.

In 1974, the old sanctuary, with it's proud bell tower, was condemned by the city inspectors. Under the pastorate of Rev. Homer Weeks, Bro. R. C. Johnson led the way in the building of a new sanctuary which was dedicated by Bishop Joseph C. Coles, Jr. on November 24, 1974. Bro. Johnson volunteeed his carpentry and supervisory skills, saving the church money and sacrificing time usually spent with his family..

July 11-14, 1978, the church was host to the 93rd session of the South Georgia Annual Conference. Gov. George Busbee and Lt. Governer Zell Miller were campaigning for re-election and both spoke at the Tuesday Night Welcome program of the Annual Conference.

The Valdosta Community Soup Kitchen had it's beginning in Bethel's kitcen and fellowship hall when members of The Valdosta Ministerial Association became concerned about hunger in the community. After a special task force completed it's studies and it's conclusions were reported to the church in March, 1983, Bethel opened it's doors to the soup kitchen. After completion of an inspection, the kitchen began serving meals to the needy and continued until the facilities were outgrown.

In June of 1984, under the pastorate of Rev. John H. Malone, a Mortgage Burning Celebration was held. The following October 28th saw Bethel hold a Corner Stone Laying Service with the stone being laid by the local Prince Hall Lodge.

It's pastors have included The Rev.'s J. H. Davis, A. Rice, S. J. Alexander, J. S. Pettigrew, J. N. Green, Sr., H. E. McRae, T. A. Clayton, L. J. Montgomery, E. P. Pettigrew and it's first woman pastor, LaJune Reid. Throughout it's existence Bethel has served 26 presiding elders and 11 bishops. It's present pastor is the Rev. Willie Wade.

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Bethel CME Church: Index

References for this Web Directory --created by Rev. Thomas N. Roberts, [email protected]
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