Make Our History, Your History bethel150yrs

In 2010, Bethel UMC Stockbridge celebrated her 150th anniversary. To commemorate this event, we produced a Memory Book. Printed versions are still available. In the meantime, we also have it online. We hope you'll read through it and discover how important Bethel has been to her community. God has been faithful to the people at Bethel and through the people at Bethel. We hope you will want to make Bethel's history YOUR history!

Before the Civil War, Bethel's congregation worshiped at Concord Methodist Episcopal church of Stockbridge. It was the vision of faith of people like John Pennington Austin who realized that there was a great need for a church in the growing Fairview community. So in 1860 with the cooperation of other people of like faith and vision, Bethel Church was organized.

The Grounds and Buildings
The original deed states that on October 1, 1860, approzimately 15 acres of land were purchased by the congregation from Mr. John Appleton Callaway. Mr. John Austin, Mr. B. F. Patillo and Mr. Callaway, along with others representing the congregation, had a vision of someday seeing a permanent "campground" located near the spring that ran across the property. during 1860 and 1861, services were held under a "brush arbor."

Toward the end of the civil War, the first actual church building was constructed. There is no record of what happened to that building or when the next church building (old sanctuary) was erected. It is also unknown when the two wing sections were added on, but they were not part of the original plans. These extra sections were first used as Sunday School space and then later remodeled to be used as seating for the worship service.

In or around 1950 a remodeling was conceived to add the vestibule and brick exterior. This was a huge undertaking for a small congregation, but by 1956 the work was complete. In 1960, a Parsonage was built and furnished.

The fellowship Hall building is actually three buildings in one. the original building was called the Community House and was a small block building with a large fireplace at one end. Later, a second section was added to provide restrooms and additional Sunday School space. In 1979, contruction begain for the final part which provided fellowship space and additional Sunday School rooms. This latest phase included a basement. In 1988, a stairwell was added to the allow access to the basement from inside. In 1991, a fire nearly detroyed the Fellowship Hall but, after extensive reconstruction, its doors were once again opened.

The plans for a recreation field, which had been conceived in the late 70's was finally brought to fruition in 1989.

The congregation outgrew its Sanctuary in the early 1990's and constructed the present Worship Center at a cost of 1.4 million dollars. The Worship Center was officially dedicated in December of 1992 as the congregation processed from the old building into the new. Mrs. Kathryn Mitchel, Mr. Hoke White, and the pastor, Dr. Orin L. Sampson led the way. Mrs. Mitchell and Mr. White had "grown up" at Bethel and were the longest standing members at the time of the dedication.

Church Cemetary
The church owned cemetery located across Fairview Road is the final resting place for many of the original church families. The first grave was a member of the Skelton family who died the day after they returned home from fighting in the war between the states. It is interesting to note that the headstones face East in keeping with the christian tradition.

Church Birthing
Bethel is the parent church to two other Methodist congregations: Rex UMC and Ellenwood UMC.

Roll Call
The list that follows is a roll-call of familes, copied from the oldest list available in the order they appeared in the record: Patillo, Skelton, McElroy, Bowden, Martin, Willaford, Wilderson, George, Rowan, carrol, Arnold, Ford, Stockwell, Henry, Harris, Lewis, Clark, Austin, Callaway, Cowan, Kelly, White, South, Swann, Lyle, thurman, Pair, Suttles, Hancock, Rivers, Willingham, Turpin, Crumbley, Peterman, Gardner, Camp, Stewart, Johnson, Helton, Walden, Hollensworth, Pratt, Howell, Waggoner, Sanders, Pritchett, Stubbs.

Check out more homecoming memories here!



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Bethel United Methodist Church  |  245 Fairview Rd  |  Stockbridge, GA 30281  |  770-474-2570