Bethel Baptist marks 130 years of ministry
Tracy L. Brady, Hartselle Enquirer
Ten years before the establishment of any other Baptist church in Hartselle and five years before the city of Hartselle was incorporated in 1877, George Hartselle and Rev. J.D. McClanahan stood in front of a small log school building and decided to start a Baptist Sunday School.
With the absence of any other Baptist church in the area, fellowship grew and Bethel Baptist Church was constituted on Oct. 6, 1872.
On Sunday, Oct. 6, 2002 Bethel Baptist Church in Hartselle will celebrate its 130th anniversary and its place as Hartselle's oldest existing church.
"Serving the Lord for 130 years shows the commitment of the people of Bethel Baptist Church to provide the Hartselle community with an effective ministry," Dr. T. Reynolds Hall, pastor, said. "The main purpose of this anniversary celebration is to give glory to God and express appreciation to those who have contributed to the growth of Bethel Baptist Church over the past 130 years."
Hall said the 1872 congregation of 12 has grown to the present congregation of 984. Services offered to Bethel's congregation have grown as well. A church nursery, Sunday School, youth ministry, music program, missionary program, K-12 school, and an extension ministry are available to all Bethel members.
Hall said former members from out-of-state, community leaders and dignitaries are expected to attend the anniversary celebration.
Mayor Clif Knight will also be on hand to present Hall and the congregation with a proclamation declaring Oct. 6 as Bethel Baptist Church Day.
The program will begin at 10 a.m. with "Voices of the Past," where former and longstanding members will share personal testimonies.
At 11 a.m., a special anniversary service, sermon and video presentation will be held to commemorate the church's history.
Dinner will be held following the service at 12:30 p.m. and the celebration will conclude with a time of fellowship and reflection at 2 p.m.
A special 130th anniversary Bethel Baptist Church history book will be available for $5 and a historical CD for $10.
Bethel Baptist Church invites all past, present, and future members to attend this special event.