Knowing, Loving, Serving…
So the World Will Know Christ’s Love

Story of Bethel Methodist Columbia

EST. 1835

In Forest Acres, South Carolina

Bethel Methodist Columbia was the first church in the Forest Acres community.
In 1835, the story of Bethel Methodist Columbia began. We were founded by a small group of families. They were living in a sparsely settled rural area. This location is now known as Forest Acres. Bethel Methodist Columbia was the first church in the Forest Acres community. A surveying plat dated 1860 shows Bethel on the same site where it stands today. Though no early church records exist, Bethel’s cemetery bears testimony to members of that early congregation.

And, thus to the story of Bethel.

Bethel UMC's Memorial Garden in Columbia, SC.

A forest fire in 1867 destroyed the original structure. Despite the loss, Bethel was soon rebuilt. For many years it remained a small church administering to the needs of nine or ten families. As one of several churches assigned to a circuit served by one minister, it had services only once each month.

Following World War II, steady growth of the area brought a need for a new church. The first masonry-style sanctuary was completed in 1948. In 1951, Bethel was assigned a full-time minister. The church was then part of the Columbia District of the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Continuing growth of Bethel in the early 1960s set into motion a two-year building-fund campaign. 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 2021, Bethel Methodist Columbia celebrates its 186th year.

During the long history and story of Bethel, God has made great use of all His people. Sustaining a church that draws its members spiritually closer to the Lord and to one another. We, at Bethel Methodist Columbia, welcome you to come join our fellowship. We are a Christian, loving, faith-based, family-oriented group from around the Forest Acres community. Come join us and be a part of our story!