Our Rich Methodist History
In Forest Acres, SC
In 1835, Bethel was founded by a small group of families living in a sparsely settled rural area that is now Forest Acres. Â It was the first church in the area. Â A surveying plat dated 1860 shows Bethel on the same site where it stands today. Â Though no church records exist of those early years, Bethel’s cemetery bears testimony to members of that early congregation and to the history of Bethel.
A forest fire in 1867 destroyed the original structure, but Bethel was soon rebuilt. Â For many years it remained a small church administering to the needs of nine or ten families. Â As one of several churches assigned to a circuit served by one minister, it had services only once a month.
Following World War II, steady growth of the area brought a need for a new church, and the first masonry sanctuary was completed in 1948. Â In 1951, Bethel was assigned a full-time minister, and was part of the Columbia District of the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Continuing growth of Bethel in the early 1960’s set into motion a two-year building-fund campaign. Â In May 1963, ground-breaking ceremonies were held for Bethel’s fourth and current sanctuary. The completed church was first used on Palm Sunday, 1964.
In 2010, Bethel celebrated its 175th year.