Bethany Church was “born” at the 44th session of the Atlantic Conference of the Evangelical Church Rev. William Schmid appointed as missionary.
Using a gift from the Harrison Avenue German Evangelical Church, which was closing, a store and dwelling-house at 109th Street and Atlantic Avenue was purchased to be used as a mission hall and parsonage.
October 5th, 1919
The first service, under the name of Harrison Evangelical Church, was conducted in the store by Rev. Schmid.
October 21st, 1920
During the pastorate of Rev. Fred G. Fisher, the Church was organized and incorporated as Bethany Evangelical Church.
The 1921 session of the Atlantic Conference authorized the purchase of the present property, on 107th Avenue, extending from 112th Street to 113th Street.
June 12th, 1921
The first service on this property was held in a tent provided by the New York City Evangelistic Committee. These continued during the building of the new church.
September 14th , 1921
During the pastorate of Rev. H. Hagelstein(1921-1924), ground was broken for the construction of the chapel and parsonage.
October 10th , 1921
The cornerstone is laid (It is to the right of the church entrance).
January 15th, 1922
The new church was dedicated by Bishop S.C. Breyfogel
Rev. Frederick W. Siebert appointed pastor of Bethany Church.
The chapel was remodeled and enlarged by adding the two back rooms. The membership of the church grew and the Sunday School found it necessary to meet in morning and afternoon sessions.
It was decided to enlarge the church to its present size by adding another floor, raising the sanctuary to the second floor, and adding the extension at the rear.
The new cornerstone was laid (It is located to the right of the church office door).
June 14th , 1931
The reconstructed church was dedicated by Bishop C. H. Stauffacher.
Rev. Henry Heine appointed as Pastor. During the difficult days of the depression, the church made a steady and solid growth in all departments. By 1937, the membership of the church had reached 280.
Rev. Wilbert H. Wolf succeeds Rev. Heine. Under his energetic leadership during the next two years the work of the church was given renewed impetus, particularly among the young people through the “University of Life” program.
Rev. Joseph Wolf appointed. The clouds of war (WW II) gathered and the storm broke. The names of 120 men and women called to service were placed on the Honor Roll of the church. Despite the restrictions imposed by the war, the church enlarged its ministry and work. Active membership increased to 365 and $22,000 of the church’s indebtedness was paid off.
“The Great Debt Reduction” Starting with a debt of $61,995.
“Cent-a- Meal” boxes and Debt-Reduction envelopes are introduced.
Twentieth Anniversary Enlistment Crusade initiated, with $20 gifts by each person enlisted.
Weekly Message envelopes used to emphasize the spiritual values in giving. Five percent of the regular offerings continued to go towards debt reduction.
The slogan for the year was “ADVANCE!”
In the fall the first major drive was launched, the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Debt Reduction Campaign. To meet a goal of $5,000, each member was asked to pay $25 for the Campaign in addition to their regular offerings. Approximately $7,000 was raised and …
Notes of $7,260 were burned at the Anniversary and “Church Bonds” were given to those who participated in the Campaign.
“For a Beautiful Bethany” was the slogan for the 1946 debt and renovation campaign.
“Complete the Picture of Bethany” included a giant picture of the church cut into small sections, like a jig-saw puzzle. Each piece was returned with a special contribution.
“Vote for Bethany” was a slogan and program that was picked up and used in churches around the nation.
“You Can Count on Me” was the slogan as they prepared for the second half of the twentieth century.
The “Mid-Century Fund” was enhanced with “Talent Dollars” that were returned with other dollars on Talent Sunday.
The “Mortgage-Burning Fund” was started. Contributions were “firewood” towards the goal of burning the mortgage.
The campaigns and drives and regular Debt-Reduction offerings reduced the debt by $53,795, and a loan of $9,000 from the National Board of Church Extension, made possible the cancellation of the mortgage and the refinancing of the remaining indebtedness into five promissory notes.
Pastor Wolf presided at the Mortgage Burning Service at the 32nd Anniversary of the incorporation of Bethany Church.
In the meantime … Post-World War II Changes
The women’s Missionary Society sent $200 for China relief, on top of regular offerings.
Bethany’s baseball team was coached by David Koyler.
The Evangelical Church joined with the United Brethren in Christ, forming the Evangelical United Brethren Church. Ours became the Bethany Evangelical United Brethren Church.
1,562 items of clothing were sent over-seas for post-war European Relief programs.
Assistant Minister Rev. Ward L. Kaiser directed the youth program. The Father-Son Communion Breakfast was resumed and the Dorcas League hosted a Laymen’s Breakfast.
A total of 750 lbs. of food and clothing were shipped abroad. At the Children’s Day Program boys and girls bought twelve “Friendship Packs” for European Relief.
Under Pastor Wolf’s thirteen years of ministry 511 new members were added to the rolls.
Rev. Virgil G. Megill, Jr. was appointed Pastor of Bethany Church.
The Bethany Basketball Team won the Atlantic Conference Trophy for all three years.
The Christian Service Guild sent packages of clothing to Korea.
Two years ahead of schedule, with the payment of the five $1,800 promissory notes, the church was finally debt free. An improvement program was instituted, including waterproofing of the church building, a new ceiling and lighting in fellowship hall, fencing the church property, painting of the church rooms, and a new front sidewalk.
Rev. Charles F. Brown, Pastor
“40th Anniversary Advance”. As part of our Fortieth Anniversary, Bethany Church has had a $20,000 Program of reconditioning and redecorating of the church interior.
At some point the congregation collected “Green-Stamps” and got enough to purchase the piano which is still in use in the sanctuary.
Our membership peaks at 578.
The denominations of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church merged, forming the United Methodist Church.
Ours became the Bethany United Methodist Church upon being transferred from the Eastern Conference of the United Brethren Church to the New York Conference of the United Methodist Church. Our membership is 408.
June 1st, 1971
The First United Methodist Church of Richmond Hill joined with the Bethany United Methodist Church; the new name is our current one, The United Methodist Church of Richmond Hill.
Rev. Roger L. Bauer, Pastor
June 1st, 1975
Dedication of the Bell Tower.
Pastor Bauer is yoked to Community UMC of Ozone Park.
Rev. Wesley Howard Allen, Pastor (Yoked to Community UMC of Ozone Park)
Rev. Jeffrey A. Fillian, Pastor (Yoked to Community UMC of Ozone Park)
Rev. Carolyn J. Strack, Pastor (Yoked to Community UMC of Ozone Park until 1992)
June 28th , 1992
With a glorious celebration of union, the merger of Community United Methodist Church with the United Methodist Church of Richmond Hill occurred; District Superintendent, Rev. Pedro Piron Participated.
Living Word Ministries starts renting; the former Community Methodist Church building.
October 1st , 1994
Living Word Ministries starts leasing; this continues to the present.
Rev. Dee Carol Stevens, Pastor
Rev. Moon Sook Kim, Pastor
July 1st ,2013 - Present
Rev. Austin Park, Pastor