Several people came together and organized the church in 1822. The first members met in log cabins when the weather did not permit outdoor service. Outside, the service was held in a wood or grove, and a plank was placed over two logs on which the preacher could stand with a plank between two trees to hold a Bible and a songbook.
In 1836, the township of Bethel. began talk of having a church building, which was built in 1837 on land donated by the Miller family. In 1879, 100 church members voted to build a new brick church, the current church building now at 6370 New Carlisle Pike in Bethel Twp.
Also at the church is the Bethel Baptist Cemetery, which is actually a private cemetery attached to the church that began as a burial ground for the Miller family.
As a gift to the church for the bicentenary, Hardacre said they were working to repair all of the headstones in the cemetery that had been damaged over the years. To help pay for the renovation of the cemetery, the church sold calendars made up of old photos and wooden replicas of the church and collected donations from members.
Along with this, the church is planning other events and activities, including a re-enactment of baptisms in the creek, where they took place before the 1930s; recognize members who have been with the church over 50 years with a ceremony; interpretation of old songs; as well as putting up displays featuring newspaper articles, old church photos, memorabilia, and things they’ve done throughout the year.
Many church members are descendants of the original members. Church historians include Jean Harris, Dave McWhortor (of the New Carlisle History Society), Bob Suther (of the Medway History Society), Chris Lovelock (of the Donnelsville History Society), and Hardacre.
To learn more about the church, visit www.bethel.today or call the church at 937-882-6697.