Early History of the Bethel Methodist Episcopal - Scrapbook Article

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Contributed by Delaine Donaldson
From a scrapbook containing newspaper clippings from Pike County.
Article believed to be from a 1941 newspaper.
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Bethel Church southeast of Griggsville was the scene of a most happy gathering last Sunday when about one hundred and forty friends and former members met at this sacred spot to hold their ninth annual homecoming. By 11 o'clock a good crowd had assembled to visit together on the shady church lawn. Soon tables were set up on the south lawn, and the contents of the many baskets arranged in appetizing order. One could see little sign of any food rationing at this feast. Rev. Parker of Detroit, in a few appropriate words, thanked God for the blessed privilege of such bountiful food, and then the dinner was soon disappearing.

As the tables were cleared, the crowd quietly gathered in the church for the afternoon services. The Detroit choir assisted by Fred Davis of Barry led the congregation in the singing of several old hymns. Choir members, Misses Miriam and Prudence Peebles gave a most pleasing duet with their aunt, Mrs. Ray Stephenson at the piano. Following the opening prayer by Rev. Buck, the young people gave several interesting numbers. Bernice Buck gave a dramatic reading of "Captain Courageous," Gladys Ann Birch and Lois Moore gave solos, and Norma Jean and Joanne Birch sang "Little White Church", with most appropriate words for the occasion.

Rev. Buck presided for the afternoon program, and also gave a well outlined inspiring talk driving home definite facts on the intrinsic value and human need of the Church of God, taking as his theme the story of the stone of Bethel in Genesis, Chapter 28.

A very enjoyable part of the service was the music given by Fred Davis and Norman Turnbull. The latter fairly made the rafters of the old church reverberate as his strong, young voice rang out clearly in "Coming Home" and "The Blind Plowman." Fred Davis sang two old church songs in his characteristic, sincere manner. He has never failed to come over from Barry to sing at this homecoming.

The report given by Frank Moore, secretary of the Bethel cemetery association showed that this organization is soundly financed. A generous sum was collected to cover some extra expenses of the current year.

The program was closed by Rev. Want of Jacksonville, a former pastor of Bethel. He gave a brief greeting and then took his old text "Thy 'Will Be Done" and showed how the world needed to strive to understand God's will today.

After the services most of the congregation lingered, some to stroll through the beautiful, well-kept cemetery, some placing flowers on the graves of their loved ones. Others remained to close the church and lock the door, as they left sadly realizing that "Old Bethel" could not have another church service for another year.