We welcome all people into a safe space to explore and grow in a shared journey of faith.
We worship in several native languages and build holy relationships across cultures and traditions.
We serve alongside our neighbors by joining Jesus in caring for those who are poor, sick, lonely, mistreated, or marginalized.
We act justly by opposing all forms of evil and oppression, valuing not only saved souls but a healed world.
We love with Christ’s love that breaks down barriers, believing we can love alike even when we do not think alike.
Bethel International United Methodist Church is one of the oldest Methodist churches in Columbus, founded in 1842, only 30 years after the city itself. Bethel International began as a small country church and has continued to change as the community and world around has changed around us. Our international body now offers Sunday worship services in three languages and a Christian preschool whose families are more than 60 percent of foreign decent.
Our global reach now extends to Belize, Mexico, India, Armenia and West Africa. We share space and partner with the Columbus International Children’s Choir, English as a Second Language, Toastmasters International, Alcoholics Anonymous and other groups. We also have strong relationships with our neighboring schools and many local businesses.
We are proud to be part of the United Methodist Church. The people of The United Methodist Church are part of the second largest Protestant denomination in the United States. Our worldwide connection includes approximately 12.8 million members. One distinct characteristic of the United Methodist Church is its global nature. We speak many languages and live in many countries – with different cultures, ethnic traditions, natural histories and understandings of Christian faith and practice.
Worship is central to our life together as a Christian community. Our church's sanctuary comfortably seats more than 200 people. Our educational wing houses multipurpose classrooms and the Bethel Chrisitan Preschool. Our newest part of the building is our Family Life Center, which features a large gathering area, kitchen and multipurpose gym with space for 350+ people for worship and events like Community Dinners.
A quick check of Wikipedia indicates that the City of Worthington was founded in 1803, Dublin in 1810, and Columbus in 1812, but did you know that Bethel United Methodist Church had its beginnings in 1842? About twenty-five worshippers first met in an old distillery in the area, but soon moved their meeting site to a barn at Kenny and Francisco Roads.
In 1848, the group purchased a half acre of land at Kenny and Bethel Roads, and in 1853 a 30 X 50' building was completed under the ministerial guidance of The Reverend Uriah Heath. The church was first lighted by eight candles, but soon the candles gave way to four hanging kerosene lamps that were subsequently replaced with gasoline lanterns. The church was heated by a large stove for many years but the stove was finally replaced with a furnace.
At that time, Bethel was a part of the Worthington Circuit. In addition to the Bethel congregation, groups in Worthington, Gardner, Asbury, Fletcher, Mifflin, Stratford, Clintonville, and McKendree were on that circuit. The minister traveled by horseback to the different locations so, needless to say, he didn't preach at every church every Sunday.
Also, in 1853, a Bible study class was formed from which our present-day Sunday school evolved. Initially, Sunday school (or Sabbath School as it was called then) met only during the summer months, but when Bethel Road was extended to the Scioto River Road, attendance increased substantially and Sunday school became a year round offering.
In 1877, the Hocking Valley Railroad laid a track about 75 feet from the church's front door. The noise from passing trains was deafening and the ministers would have to stop preaching until the trains passed.
Almost immediately, the congregation began the process to relocate, but it wasn't until 1918 when the Perry Township school board decided to sell two one-room schools houses (one frame and one brick) located 200 yards west of the existing church, that church relocation actually began to take shape. The school buildings were sold at public auction. When Will Henderson, representing the Bethel Methodist Episcopal Church, bid $800 for the two buildings and the site on which they were located, all other bidding ceased.
In March 1919 the existing church building was moved to its new site facing Bethel Road and joined on the north to the frame school house. The cost for the remodeling was off-set by $600 that came from the sale of the Fletcher church. Bethel also received the church benches from the Fletcher Church.
The old brick school building was remodeled at a later date and was used by many organizations for meetings and activities (The Refectory Restaurant now occupies that site.)
Bethel celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1942. Many of the traditions that were begun in its first century of its existence are still being honored today at BUMC. The first 100 years were only the beginning of things to come. Our heritage became our pathway to the future as we fulfill our mission of Discovering Christ, growing together, and reaching and serving others through God's love
After its 100th anniversary, Bethel Methodist Church launched into its second century of serving as a beacon from God and meeting the spiritual needs of the community. In 1953, the church purchased an additional 2.8 acres behind the existing church building, allowing for the expansion of the parking lot, the creation of an outdoor chapel and the installation of a ball diamond. A year later new classrooms and restrooms were added via the construction of a new wing that connected the sanctuary and the old brick school house that had become known as the Scout House.
After many years of sharing a pastor with the Linworth Methodist Church, in 1956 Bethel became a charge of its own and Reverend Elford Hoff was called as Bethel's first fulltime minister. In 1958 a parsonage was purchased from the Hard family and in 1959 the Scout House was remodeled for additional Sunday school rooms as well as a place for community meetings.
During the period from 1959 to 1966, much thought was given to relocating, however, zoning, annexation and long range highway planning delayed any serious relocation efforts. But at a congregational meeting in August 1966, a decision was made to move forward with relocation plans and subsequently, 7.5 acres were purchased from the Hard and Gardner families. The purchased property became the site of the present Bethel United Methodist Church. Also, in 1968, as a result of the merger of the Methodist and the Evangelical United Brethren denominations, the church became known as the Bethel United Methodist Church.
On December 12, 1971, an historical event was celebrated in the life of the Bethel United Methodist Church. Bishop F. Gerald Endsley presided over a service consecrating the new Bethel United Methodist Church. Assisting Bishop Endsley in the service were Walter Plummer, district superintendent, William Burley, former pastor, and J.W. Spears, the Bethel pastor at that time.
BUMC continued to prosper and grow as God's children and in May 1976 it purchased a new parsonage at 1343 Slade Avenue. The Reverend Dale Bumgardner was the first Bethel minister to live in the newly acquired parsonage. And then, on May 25, 1980, the congregation rejoiced again in the consecration of a new educational wing and fellowship hall that added significantly to Bethel's ministry and Christian education program. Bishop Dwight Loder delivered the sermon and led the consecration service.
On November 22, 1992, Bethel United Methodist Church celebrated 150 years of growing, reaching and serving at both the 9:30 and 10:45 a.m. services. Bishop Loder once again delivered the sermon while Dr. J. Franklin Luchsinger, Reverend Jimmie Spears and Reverend Dale Bumgardner assisted at both services. The 150th Anniversary Planning Committee consisted of Jean Austin, Rick Doran, Myron Warner, Peg Stinson, Kendal Hibbs, Carolyn May, Bonnie St. Germain, and Frank Luchsinger.