Arline-Bethel UMC - North Central


History

Arline UMC and Bethel UMC merged in 1994 to become Arline-Bethel UMC.  The church is now located in the structure that housed Arline UMC.  Below you will find the history to both churches.

Arline UMC started in 1872 with a group of people gathering in the home of J. M. Raines to hold worship services led by Rev. F. W. Flanders.  The congregation moved to the Arline School Building and Rev. R. M. Walker held the first revival at which time the church was organized.  The charter members were Mr. and Mrs. F. P. Raines, Mr. and Mrs. John L. Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. H. H. Tucker and Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Oliver.  A church was built from 1873-1874, on land donated by Judge Jethro Arline.  The church was named Arline Chapel in his honor.  Local preachers first served Arline UMC.  They included John C. Webb, R. M. Walker, R. B. G. Water, and W. H. H. Bush.  The first pastor sent by the conference was Rev. Dennis O. Driscoll.  The first Presiding Elder was J. V. Morris in 1875.  J. B. Duff taught the first Sunday School lessons using the Blue Back Speller which contained scriptures.
     The 50th Anniversary was celebrated on August 31, 1922, with a Homecoming Day at which Rev. W. A. Brooks was the guest speaker.  Charter members who were present at this occasion were Daniel Oliver and Mr. and Mrs. H. H. Tucker.
     The present church building was constructed in 1938-1939, by the church members, especially W. O. Raines, W. E. Parker and J. W. Price.  The ladies of the church helped raise funds for the construction.  The pews were donated by Twin City Methodist Church.  Lumber for pews was also donated by Dude Summer and built by Monroe Cood.  In 1945, new pews were donated by C.L. Hilson.  New windows were donated in 1962.  In 1963, brick was added to the outside of the church building, 2 Sunday School rooms were added and carpet was installed.  A Sunday School annex was added in 1968, due to an increase in Sunday School attendance.

Bethel UMC was founded in 1770, with 24 members by Rev. John Covington, a local preacher and who donated the land for the church and cemetery.  A hewed log house which measured 16 ft. by 24 ft. was the first church structure.  Rev. Covington also preached at Bethel UMC for many years.  Rev. Covington's son-in-law, Rev. John Webb, became the second pastor of the church.  At this time, the second church was a framed building meaursuring 30 ft. by 40 ft.  The grandson of Rev. John Covington and son of Rev. John Webb, John Covington Webb, preached his first sermon at Bethel UMC.  J. C. Webb donated the land where the church currently stands and the building which became the third church structure.  J. C. Webb was a devoted temperance worker.  Each of these pastors held services at Bethel UMC the third Sunday of the month and received no contributions for their work.
     A fellowship hall was built in the 1950's, and furnished with chairs and tables for eating purposes.  The church building was restored in 1970, when a well and restrooms were added.