BETHEL CUMBERLAND PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH














12304 Wickliffe Road, Kevil, KY


In 1837, at the time Bethel Church was organized, Jackson Purchase was only 19 years old.  Very little is known about the early years of Bethel for there are no records available.  However, according to generation to generation, Bethel was organized at "The Springs".  This was a large public springs where the settlers came to camp out, wash their clothes and visit with each other.  It is thought by some that R. D. Morrow, a missionary, might have organized the church as he passed through on his way to Missouri, preaching and organizing churches.

Records from the Historical Foundation, Memphis, TN show Bethel Society was first represented by James Hawthorn at the Spring Presbytery of Obion Presbytery.  It convened Thursday before the 4th Sabbath, March 4, 1838, when it met in Paducah.  Later Bethel came under the call of Mayfield Presbytery when it organized in 1882.

Bethel Church has always had "God Called Men" as pastors, each one contributing to our lives in their special way.  David Morrow is reported to be the first pastor and W. H. Ward served 25 years.  No statistics are available until 1894 when Historical Foundation shows the following pastors: (number of years served in () following the name) - C. D. Kennedy (1), W. S. Winstead (2), R. M. Pryor (3), E. R. Overby (1),M. Russell (2), B. J. Watson (2), Elmus Rudolph (2), D. W. Fooks (1), H. T. Crow (1), F. H. Callahan (3), A. D. Rudolph (3), Hugh Watson (1), A. F. Baley (1), W. W. Rudolph (3), E. S. Hicks (12), W. O. Parr (2), Wayne Wiman (5), Warren Mounts (A), E. McCoy (1), Frank Harmon (1), James Kelso (?), Lester Kesler (2), O. E. White (3), Herbert Dill (2), James Lively (2), O. E. White (7), James Moreland (4), Willard Murrie (1), Vernon Murphy (13), Wayne Parks (4), Bryon Dumas (1), Marvin Wilkins (6), Don Winn (2), Paul B. Tucker, Olen "Bud" Russell (4), and Drew Gray is the present pastor.

It is thought Bethel was located in three different plots of ground two or three miles apart.  John F. Gholson in 1868 gave land for the old church which stood north of the cemetery.  There are few records to be found before 1868.  The church was repaired several times; a basement was added to take care of the growth of the church.  A manse was built in 1947 (at a cost of $5,000) so the pastor could have a home on the grounds when the church became full-time.  Land exchange was made between D. Y. Word and the church for the land.  This manse was replaced by the present brick manse in 1968 (cost of $20,000).

The old Bethel Church was host to Kentucky Synod 1924, Mayfield Presbytery, C. P. Fellowship, Presbyterian Camp, etc.  The church served its membership well for 93 years until a growing membership required a larger church.  The present one was built in 1961 at a cost of $50,000.  Bro. Sutton, a Baptist minister in Kevil, KY, drew up the plans and Fred Case from Wickliffe built the structure.  The land was donated by Owen Turner and D. Y. Word.

The first services in the new church were held n the first Sunday of November 1961 when O. E. White was the pastor.  The church was dedicated and a note burning service was held February 1967 when James Moreland was pastor.  The church has grown from 1894 to 1986 from one Sunday a month to full time services.  Membership increased from 80 to a membership of 232 (165 active) and Sunday school from 30 to 130.

Since 1894, the value of our church property has risen from $600 to $425,000.  Again, the church outgrew its space.  Sunday school rooms and restrooms were added in the spring of 1978.  On June 14, 1987, the building committee presented plans for the new multi-purpose building.

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