The Bethel Church of Christ began in a log house located on Highway 72 about a mile south-southwest of our present location.  That building burned in the late 1800s.  From that location the congregation met in a building on Mooresville Road about one mile south of Highway 72.  On March 18, 1923, this building was destroyed by a tornado.

Bethel Circa 1935

While a new building was under construction, the congregation met in an old seed house at Johnson's Gin.  A new frame building which included a basement was completed in 1924 on Highway 72 where the Bethel Cemetery is now located.

Bethel building at the cemetery.

As the church grew, plans were made to construct a new brick building.  This building, about a quarter mile east of the cemetery, was completed in the spring of 1965.


The Bethel congregation met in that building for over 45 years, until growth again necessitated plans for a larger building.  Land was acquired nearby and plans were begun, but before those plans were completed, the Highway 72 building was also destroyed by one of the April 27, 2011 tornadoes.  The basement in the annex kept about 30 people safe from the storm.

Bethel building immediately after April 27, 2011 tornado
Bethel building after April 27, 2011 tornado (view from radar tower)
Bethel Annex (top floor gone)

After meeting for a few months on Sunday afternoons as guests of the gracious West Hobbs Street Church of Christ, Bethel began meeting in the facilities of the equally gracious Athens Bible School while plans were accelerated to build again.  Progress was swift, and Bethel moved into the present building on Sunday night, December 16th, 2012.

Bethel building in December 2012.

When the church met in the frame building in front of the cemetery, services were held on Sunday mornings with part-time preachers filling the pulpit.  Some of these were John Hayes, Franklin Pepper, Tom Weatherford, and M.H. Northcross.  Some of the brethren who held meetings were Clarence Cook, Rufus Underwood, Granville Tyler, Bennie Lee Fudge, Charles Chumbly, and Newton Gribble.  Burl Grubb, the first full-time preacher to fill the pulpit, preached from 1948 - 1951.  Others to follow were Everett Alexander, W.O. Norton, Elan B. Kuykendall, O.D. Morrow, B.J. Strickland, Howard Blazer Sr., Gary Bradley Jr., and Jimmy Fox.  Jimmy Clark has been with us since 1984.

Some of the early elders were Johnny Pepper, Price Thomas, O.G. Johnson, and Franklin Thomas.  After the move to the third Highway 72 location, some of the elders were O.L. Brakefield, Johnny Pepper, Paul Pepper, and Marshall Springer.

In the 1960s some of the deacons were Nelson Barksdale, Morris Dunnivant, E.E. Hardison, Cloyd Pepper, Malcolm Pepper, Sydney Pepper, J.H. Bullington, James Goode, and David Pepper.  Several of these men went on to become elders in later years.

At the time of the 2012 move to the present location, the elders were Tim Carter, Larry Swindell, and Jerry West.  In 2013 Jimmy Clark began serving as an elder.