Bethany United celebrates centennial

THOMSON – The congregation at Bethany United Church is holding a series of services during the coming months to mark the church’s 100th anniversary.

The first of four services will be held on Sunday, May 4 when the congregation will celebrate the baptism of Catherine Adele Hurley and Holy Communion. Special music will be provided for this service which begins at 3 p.m.

A second service is planned for July 27 at 3 p.m. with the congregation celebrating the actual anniversary with numerous activities.

Sept. 7 will be an evening of music with Heather Swan and several guests performing. The service begins at 7 p.m.

On Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. the congregation will host its Christmas service. For the past number of years, this service was orchestrated by the youth of the congregation. And because they’ve been so successful, they will organize this special anniversary year service.

The church was officially opened and dedicated on July 25, 1897 with the first morning service conducted by Oxford’s Methodist Minister Rev. J.L. Dawson while the afternoon service was conducted by the Amherst YMCA’s E.B. Moore. Rev. Christopher Munroe led the service that evening with the church filled to capacity for each service.

The Ross Brothers began church construction in 1896 with funds raised by the co-operative efforts of the Methodist, Presbyterian, Church of England and Baptist congregations.

The church was clear of debt within a year of its opening.

For several years, the Bethany church was ministered on alternate Sundays by Presbyterian and Methodist ministers from Oxford.

Then a Mission Field was formed in Thomson, Oxford Junction, Glenville, Mount Pleasant, Roslin and Hansford under the Presbyterian and Methodist boards.

The church became a Mission Field of the United Church of Canada in 1925.

Student ministers from Pine Hill and Mount Allison supplied the Mission Field during the summer months.

In 1958, the Mission Board decided to amalgamate with Oxford’s Pastoral Charge with Oxford’s minister providing the service on alternate Sundays at 1:30 p.m.

Rev. Clifford Moase was the first full-time minister, serving from, 1958-1962.

(Source: The Citizen, Saturday, May 3, 1997, Page 41 – Bethany United celebrates centennial)