1812 Dress-up Sunday, July 15, 2012

Anniversary Committee-2012

Planning and preparation began in 2010 when a committee formed and began sharing ideas of how we wanted to mark Bethel's 200th anniversary - 1812 to 2012.  We also started contacting former ministers of Bethel about possibilities of returning for a visit to join in the celebration.  The response was amazing, and as God has blessed Bethel for all these years, His blessings were never more evident that in the visits and celebrations we shared during 2012.  Our goal was to make this celebration memorable and pleasing to God to demonstrate our Thanksgiving for his blessing.

After much planning and anticipation, our 200th Anniversary Celebration began on January 1 with Jerry Nix giving us a very informative summary and overview of Bethel's history.

On January 15, Ben Miles presented a summary of 1812 World History and events of that time.  We celebrated with a luncheon afterwards.

February 12, our own Sue Flippin was able to join us in our worship, bringing us a message about love.  After worship, we shared a covered-dish lunch.

March 18, we borrowed a bus and a driver from Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church, and Jerry Nix narrated a tour of Bethel's historical sites-beginning at the original site which is now where Gibsonville Cemetery is located.  Jerry spoke to us about many historical sites-area homes and such-during our trip.  We visited Gibsonville's Historical Museum and eventually made our way back to present-day Bethel where we had numerous historical items and photos on display for viewing.  We all shared in refreshments.

April was quite a busy month, beginning with Palm Sunday and our "Over 55 Luncheon:, then Maunday Thursday, and Easter as we celebrated the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We held our Easter Sunrise Service in the Vesperdale.

The week after Easter was also quite busy as we were preparing for Salem Presbyterian to meet with us in honor and recognition of our 200th Anniversary. That meeting took place on April 14, and Bethel was recognized for reaching this milestone of 200 years of service to our Lord.  Many of our guys worked to prepare barbecue so we could serve our guests that famous Bethel Barbecue for lunch with all the trimmings.

May 20 was our annual May Day celebration with an outdoor worship service, and we were glad to have Dr. Benjamin Williams to share in our worship where he shared information about our Scottish heritage.  "Dr. Benjamin" was dressed in his Scottish kilt and played his bagpipes along with guest piper, Dave Thomas. They also presented the Scottish colors of clans.  Dr. Williams brought along the congregation from the church where he was currently serving, Memorial Presbyterian in Greensboro.  Everyone enjoyed a hot dog lunch following worship.  We were glad to have so many visitors on such a special day.  This day also marked the beginning of the sale of our Anniversary cookbook.  (After many months of collecting recipes, photos and information and compiling it all, the cookbooks arrived just before May Day.)

On May 27, we were very honored to have numerous guests for worship.  Our Congressman, Howard Coble, was 0n hand to offer congratulatory remarks during worship.  Congressman Coble was presented one of Bethel's anniversary afghans, which features area churches who were a part of Bethel's history, Springwood, Alamance, Buffalo and First Presbyterian-Greensboro.  After worship, the congregation moved across the street to the newly constructed Bicentennial Garden, which was built in memory of some of Bethel's faithful members by their families.  The garden includes the two flagpoles, a stone pad with a bench for meditation, a millstone, newly planted rosebushes, boxwoods (donated by Ann and Don Smith).  Those being remembered were Roger and Bronna Gerringer, Clara Cobb, Fred and Nellie Nix and Eli Wilson.  Congressman Coble had secured 2 American flags that had flown over the Capitol in Washington, D.C.  One flag is to be preserved in honor of our anniversary and one to be flown from the newly erected flagpoles.  The Cobb family donated a Christian flag to be flown from and adjacent flagpole in the garden.  We welcomed all our special guests, Congressman Coble and also all the families of all those being remembered to a covered-dish lunch following the dedication ceremony.

June 10, we welcomed two former ministers-both Woodalls-Earl Woodall came to say hello and visit, and Paul Woodall shared in worship, bringing the message.  We were pleased and honored to have had the largest Homecoming crowd in many years.  Paul Woodall opened and shared the contents of a time capsule that had been secured 25 years ago at Bethel's 175th anniversary celebration.  The contents included many photos as well as worship bulletins and Bethel Beacons (newsletters) from 1987.  This led up to one of the most awesome and incredible covered-dish meals we've EVER had at Bethel.  What a day!!!!!!

July 15, we had a special "Old Hymn Service" during worship where we shared the background or history of some favorite old hymns.  We enjoyed the old hymns while we were all dressed in period styles and fashions.  It was quite a warm day for that extra clothing and layers, but the effort and outcome was fabulous!  Some folks had made their outfits  We were very thankful to have air-conditioning in 2012!  We shared a covered-dish lunch after John and Jackie Burney corralled everyone for photos to remember this very special day. 

July 29, we welcomed one of Bethel's own children back to the pulpit to lead us in worship.  Rick Ragan, who grew up in McLeansville and at Bethel brought us the message during worship, and he and his family also shared their musical talents for worship.  Rick brought along many family members and friends and we were indeed blessed by his message and his visit.  And again……we shared a covered-dish lunch following worship.

August 5, Joe Brown shared the message with us during worship.  While Joe is a member of Bethel, he is a Commissioned Lay Pastor and is currently serving Dogwood Acres Presbyterian Church in Asheboro.  We were so glad Joe was able to be with us as his church keeps him quite busy and we don't get to see him often.  Because of other events, we were unable to entertain Joe with lunch after worship.

August 12, we welcomed Paul Ridolfi back to our pulpit.  Paul brought the message during worship and as always, we enjoyed his visit and his humor and wisdom.  We shared in a covered-dish lunch after worship.

September 22, we were pleased to have local author of McLeansvile's history, Helen Sockwell, to speak to us following worship and lunch, about Bethel's connections to McLeansville history.  We enjoyed Helen's presentation and learned a lot about our church's part in local history.

September 29, thanks, in large part, to Jerry Nix, we welcomed many guests to help honor and pay tribute to Bethel's veterans.  Bethel's scout troop participated as did the DAR, Confederate Rose, Gibsonville VFW, a cannon patrol and many, many re-enactors dressed in period clothing.  The service was held in Bethel's cemetery and included retiring an American flag and raising a new flag, reading the names of all Bethel veterans, placing a wreath at the tribute marker, as well as a few cannon blasts.  It was quite a memorable service. Following the service we welcomed all our guests to a reception in the fellowship hall.

October 20, we were excited to have local Southern Gospel group, "Called Out" to lead in our Autumn Leaf Service in vesperdale.  After a few moments for announcements and concerns, we were treated to "Call Out's" music ministry. They share their love for the Lord through their music as well as their testimony.  We treated them and the congregation to a lunch of chicken pie, green beans and potatoes along with many of Bethel's special desserts and other treats.  They promised to come back if we'd feed them!!

November 18, we welcomed yet another child of Bethel to our pulpit.  We were so glad Vance Lowe was able to join our celebration and share a message during worship.  What a message it was!!  Vance spoke about what a special place Bethel is--it is a sacred ground.  We were pleased to have Vance and his family join us for a covered-dish lunch following worship.

December 16, as a gift to the church and the community, many folks, especially Nina Spear and Pastor Paul Rhodes had worked very hard to present the Christmas drama, "Come See The Lamb".  Many participated in the drama which was a portrayal of not only the birth of Christ, but his life, death and resurrection as well.  Many worked tirelessly on costumes and sets-Betsy Ashworth Green and Linda Seawell, especially.  Though this was not an official part of the Anniversary Celebration, it was the culmination of our year-long celebration and was quite a spectacular way to celebrate both the birth of Christ and the gift of salvation.  It was also a tribute to all those who have worked and served in and through Bethel all these years to make a place for us to work and worship and serve today.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             We placed some items from 2012 in a time capsule to be opened at Bethel's 225th anniversary in 2037.

We look forward to whatever God has in store for Bethel in the years to come.