Bethel United Church Of Christ
On February 10th, 1862, under the leadership of Dr. Herman Meuhlmeier, a constitution was adopted with a church membership of 30. On March 31st of the same year the church was incorporated as a member of the Reformed Church. Thus began “The German Reformed Bethel Congregation".
The congregation started meeting in homes and when more room was needed they moved into the Ada School house. In 1863 Jacob Spindler donated land to the congregation and the first church building was erected by church members.
By the time Bethel was 50 years old, 9 ministers had served the congregation, a parsonage had been added, and then enlarged, and a new, larger church had been built.
In the next 50 years Bethel had organized a Ladies Aid and a Youth Fellowship. More land was purchased for a cemetery; telephone and electrical service was added, and running water was brought into the church kitchen. Many improvements were made to the church building, including a choir loft and new organ. More land was purchased for a parking lot, and many improvements were made to the parsonage.
In 1961 the Congregational Church and the Evangelical & Reformed Church joined to become the United Church of Christ. By the Centennial Celebration Bethel had baptized 626 children, confirmed 509 youth, married 235 couples and laid 271 people to rest.
In 1963 a new entrance was built on the northeast corner of the church. The north entrance was closed and the steps were removed. A 3 car garage was built and in 1980 the parking lot and driveways were blacktopped.
During the pastoral service of Rev. James Sizelove, Bethel celebrated its 125th Anniversary. Although the church services had switched from German to English some time ago, about two thirds of the congregation still spoke German when in small groups. At this time Bethel had a membership of 145. In 1985 the parsonage was remodeled and the sanctuary received new carpeting and pew cushions.
Rev. Melinda Feller served Bethel from 1991 -2002. A Rogers Electric Classic Organ was purchased and dedicated. In 1998 a major building project began. The parsonage was torn down and an addition was built onto the church including a large fellowship hall, new kitchen, new entry and narthex, a conference room, pastor’s office and bathrooms. With this construction, Bethel was now handicap accessible. The sanctuary floor was refinished and re-carpeted, and 11 new stained glass windows were installed.
In 2002 the yolk with Bethlehem Church was dissolved after 58 years. The new addition was dedicated in 2005 with Bethel’s 26th pastor, Rev. Sara Morse, leading the service. We have recently taken 3 Mission trips, 2 to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota and another to Biloxi, Mississippi to help with the rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina. New landscaping was completed around the building and in 2010 a new audio/visual system was purchased. Bethel’s membership is currently at 155.