On or about 1868, the Bethel Grove Colored Methodist Church was organized by slaves. The first church was set up in an old log cabin. The 1st pastor was Rev. Joseph Monroe. Next was Rev. Pitts and they were allowed to move in an old school house known as the Old Bula School located east of here. Years later Mr. Tobe Wallace donated 2 acres of land so we could build our own church.
At the time the church was erected, Rev. Williams was the Pastor. Time passed and Pastors came such as Rev. Kinard, Rev. McNear, Rev. Martin, and Rev. Jones. In 1954, the name was changed from Colored Methodist Episcopal Church to Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.
In 1963, Rev. J.H. Grimes was assigned as Pastor. At this time we were able to floor the church, put on a roof and wire the church.
In 1967 Rev. E.D. Compton was assigned as pastor. He was with us for 16 years. During his tenure we enlarged our choir, built restrooms, added a lobby on the front, added a fellowship hall, bought new pews and pulpit set and put in gas heat. Rev. Compton tenure ended in 1983.
In 1983, Rev. Robert L. McLaughlin was assigned as Pastor. During his tenure we were blessed to brick our church and in 1988, central heat and air was also installed.
Following him were Rev. Strong, Rev. Hester, Rev. Trent Carr, Rev. A.C. McElroy, and Rev. H.E. McRae. During the reign of these Pastors we were able to purchase a new organ, a baby grand piano, an altar, lowered the ceiling, installed a telephone, rewired the church and purchased an electric grand piano. During the tenure of Rev. A.C. McElroy, the Vision of a new sanctuary was put in place.
In 2006, Bethel Grove began to move from Good to Great under the leadership of Elder Melvin Allen Tukes. Reverend Tukes was assigned as Pastor in August 2006. His first sermon was; “Put on Your Clothes”, Scripture : Ephesians 6:10-13. During his tenure, the Vision of a new sanctuary become a reality. Work on the new $300,000.00 structure begin in March 2007 . At that time the old church was torn down: the church held services at another location until we marched into our new sanctuary in October 2007. Each Sunday in October 2007, we held a celebration program to climax on the 1st Sunday in November at our Dedication Program. Bishop Othal H. Lakey, Presiding Bishop of the Sixth Episcopal District delivered the dedication sermon on the first Sunday in November 2007. During his tenure, Pastor Tukes prove to be an effective Pastor, teacher and leader taking us to another level spiritually. In August 2010, Reverend Tukes was assigned to another church. His last sermon was; “You Got A Friend”, Scripture: John 15:13. Reverend Tukes will always be remembered for his work at Bethel Grove.
After the Annual Conference in August 2010, Reverend Roger and Nola Walker were assigned as Co-Pastors to us. Their tenure was short , serving only 11 months.
From July 2011 to June of 2016, Reverend Dr. Valencia T. Jackson served as the pastor of Bethel Grove CME church. Her first sermon was “I Can’t See”: Scripture Hebrews 11. Dr. Jackson made history as being the first female pastor of this church.
We are presently under the great leadership of Elder Melvin Allen Tukes.
During these 144 years, we have been blessed with strong leadership from our Chairmen’s... We do not have the record of the first, but we know Mr. Peter Woodard was the 2nd Chairman, Mr. Charles Benton was the 3rd, Mr. William Barkley was the 4th, Brother Nathaniel, Sr. was the 5th and longest with over 37 years, Brother James Woodard was the 6th , Brother Nathaniel Barlow, Jr. was the 7th, and presently Brother Avery Allen.
Bethel Grove CME Church