Bethany Presbyterian Church History
The idea that became the reality we know and love as Bethany Presbyterian Church originated with the moving of the Holy Spirit in the heart of a visionary pastor, the Reverend, Mr. Marvin Compher, of Bethel Presbyterian Church in Kingsport. In the early 1940s he realized the growth potential of the area and decided that the Presbyterian Church should make every effort to minister to the people in new and growing locations. Under Compher’s leadership Bethany Presbyterian church was born.
The “Founding” Forties were marked by small numbers and no church land or building, but great faith that the establishment of the church was the will of God. Initially, seventy-five people met on July 2, 1944 under a tree in the front yard of Mr. And Mrs. Earl Hyatt. On the pillow of one of our founding members is a saying that goes: “And the nuts haven’t fallen far from the tree!” and this is pretty much true of our Bethany family today! The Ward family donated land for Bethany and the congregation was organized on May 12th, 1946 with 42 charter members.
The “Flourishing” Fifties found Bethany striving for financial freedom and, in fact, Bethany became debt free in July 1950. The event was celebrated with a note burning. Many organizations within the congregation were thriving in the mid-fifties such as the Youth Group with over 20 active participants and the Women of the Church. Spirits were high as Bethany looked ahead for a grand future!
The “Eventful” Sixties were marked by a period of increased growth and revitalization in virtually ever aspect of congregational life. During this time new members were added, a new manse was constructed in 1967 and the stage was set for the decade of the Seventies.
The “Building” Seventies began with the pleasant reality that Bethany was growing so rapidly that new church facilities were needed. Plans were drawn up to convert the existing sanctuary into Christian Education classrooms and to build a new sanctuary for worship. The new sanctuary was available for worship in 1972 and was officially dedicated in February of 1973.
The strength of Bethany’s resolve in the first years of the “Rainbow” Eighties was characterized by rapid growth and the rebirth of the youth group which was known as the “Youth Design Group.” Dynamic growth led to the building of new Sunday school rooms, a bigger and better equipped fellowship hall, and remodeling of existing structures in under eight months.
The “Nurturing” Nineties saw Bethany celebrate its “Golden Anniversary” on July 17, 1994. Bethany prepared all of its areas of ministry for the arrival of a new century, 2000! The new century welcomed the military to Bethany as we had an Army Chaplain for pastor and then a Navy Chaplain and then an Air Force Chaplain. Pastor Chuck began ministry among us on January 1, 2005 and he hasn’t left yet! God truly has a sense of humor!
Bethany’s history is one in which the call of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ has been the main focus at every juncture. It is a history of people whose lives have been changed eternally and who look forward with great anticipation to what God will do in our midst. We live in the present and serve Christ today, but we also look forward to our Lord’s appearance on the clouds of Heaven when He returns to take us home! Our present motto is: “Be a lighthouse for Jesus and not an outhouse for Satan!” Our voice is: “Reveling in encouragement.” Our focus has been to encourage and facilitate our individual, spiritual growth in Jesus Christ so we will continually know what we believe and why! We’ve spent the past couple of years developing our principles and goals in all areas of our church, hence our new Mission Statement: We love Christ, come to learn about Christ, so that we can live for Christ!
We are a small, but mighty congregation! Our people are unbelievably dedicated to our Lord and one another. Our worship style, ministries and programs are traditionally based, with some contemporary spice thrown in. Our ministries and programs are nurturing and will expand as our Lord blesses. We face life and all it has to hold “sharing one another’s burdens together! We care for each other, want to present the Gospel, and live to make a dynamic difference — being a “Lighthouse” in our neighborhoods, community, nation, and world! If you would like to be a part of a congregation where your presence is welcomed, noticed, and your contributions make a difference, then please consider joining us. To God be the glory, great things He has done!