On behalf of Bethel Presbyterian Church, we welcome you to our web page. We're glad you found us! Bethel has been minstering to the Kingsport Community for over 70 years. Thankful for our rich heritage and grateful to those who have served before us, we strive now to be faithful and obedient servants of Jesus Christ in our own time and welcome all who wish to become a part of this servant community.
We hope you will take a few minutes to browse this site and check out all the exciting undertakings of this congregation as we gather to do the Lord's work. We invite you to vist us at any time. We'll look forward to seeing you.
Bethel Presbyterian Church is a congregation of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Our local presbytery is Holston Presbytery, which is part of the Synod of Living Waters.
As believers underChrist's authority, our purpose is to worship and glorify the Holy, Almighty God. We desire to bring people into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and enable them to grow in a spiritual faith. In the power of the Holy Spirit, we will serve the family, the church and the community for the building of God's Kingdom. We are called to : bring people to Christ, to build people up in Christ, and to send people out for Christ.
Bethel Church was started as a chapel under the sponsorship of First Church and the leadership of the Reverend Dr. William McCorkle, Pastor and the Rev. Russell Buffaloe, Chapel Pastor. The first service was held in the church building on September 3, 1939.
On March 22, 1942, Bethel was organized as a church with 102 charter members, and Rev. Buffaloe was officially called as its first pastor.
Bethel became self-supporting in September, 1943, and Rev. Buffaloe accepted a call to Vanguard Presbyterian Church, Raleigh, North Carolina. The Reverend Marvin K. Compher was called to be the pastor and began his work on October 4, 1943.
The first building was only 25 feet by 50 feet and consisted of four classrooms and a sanctuary. The church made steady, rapid growth from its beginning, and the existing building had to be extended - once in 1942 with three additional classrooms, again in 1944 with five additional classrooms, and the third time in 1948 with two more rooms.
Due to the call of Christ and the love and interest of Pastor Compher and the Session, four chapels were started by Bethel during his ministry:
Bethany in 1944, organized in 1946
Central in 1947, organized in 1956
Colonial Heights in 1945, organized in 1947
Bridwell Heights in 1951, organized in 1958
On September 19, 1952, a groundbreaking ceremony was held to begin the construction of a new sanctuary. On June 7, 1953, the first service was held in the new building, and on July 19, the sanctuary was dedicated. Approximate cost of the construction was $50,000 - with much of the labor volunteered.
Our Educational Unit was built in 1958, including a fellowship hall and kitchen, church offices, and 15 classrooms at an approximate cost of $57,000.
There have been nine pastors:
Rev. A.R. Buffaloe, 1942-43 Rev. Myron C. Moore, 1969-71
Dr. M.K. Compher, 1943-53 Rev. Charles S. Sydnor, Jr., 1973-84
Rev. James B. Tubbs, 1954-60 Dr. Martin L. Stokes, Jr., 1986-96
Rev. Richard P. Keeton, 1961-68 Rev. Gary R. Bement, 1999- 2010
Rev. Kaye Florence 2010 - Present