We hope this letter finds you and your family doing well. We are so excited to share with you the amazing things happening at Bethel AME Church.
As we approach the 6 month anniversary of the church fire, Bethel has persevered. We have landed on our feet and have maintained our worship services despite the fire. The Lebanon United Methodist Church assisted us the day of the fire by letting officers of the church meet with First Responders and contractors to secure our church. They also hosted a prayer service the evening of the fire with Bethel members and community. The Lebanon Theater Company (LTC) extended their facility during the weeks just after the fire. We were able, with the help of the community, to hold our Christmas Food Drive. We had worship services, celebrated Christmas with our Children’s play and held important meetings at LTC. We celebrated the New Year with our sister church, Bethel AME Church of Middletown, for communion. We held our own Bethel AME worship services every week at various locations including Lebanon Presbyterian Church, Resurrection Lutheran Church and the Black Barn greenhouse while we searched for a rental property for our temporary church home. We would like to thank all the churches who extended invitations for us to worship with them during this challenging time.
We were blessed to find a location next to Hair-N-Now on Mound Ct. near Colony Square, not too far from our neighborhood. We have worshiped at 550 Mound Ct. for over 2 months with our first service held on Easter Sunday.
Updates from our church officers
Our trustees have worked tirelessly with our insurance company and contractors during the abatement and demolition process. Due to the severely high levels of asbestos found in various materials and fibers in the building, the contents inside of the church were not able to be salvaged. It is truly sad and tragic to have lost the use of the building and to no longer have the items that we treasured is extremely heart breaking.
Although we have suffered many losses, Bethel was blessed to have a faith-based insurance company that has held our hand, prayed with us and assisted us at every point of this process. We are happy to report that our insurance was current at the time of the fire.
The finance committee continues to manage the day to day business of Bethel’s church operations by taking care of monthly bills and expenses. The committee is also overseeing the fire fund account as well as sending out thank you cards to all of our donors. In addition, the committee has created a number of events to help raise money for the rebuilding of Bethel including the Applebee’s Flapjack Fundraiser and Acapulco fundraisers. We have several more fundraising events scheduled for this year at Dairy Queen, Buffalo Wild Wings, Village Parlor and LMM Railroad.
Our stewards have kept the missions of Bethel running during our displacement. We continue to support the Prodigal Son Ministries community meal on the 4th Tuesday evening of each month. Bethel and a team of volunteers serve the meals to our neighbors and friends at the temporary location of Lebanon Presbyterian Church. Although the Blessing Box was removed during the abatement and demolition project, it will return to Bethel once the renovation is complete. Removal was necessary to prevent anyone from entering the hard hat area and becoming injured. We do encourage everyone to support the Lebanon Food Pantry Blessing Box sponsored by the Girl Scouts located at New Street. Bethel has been blessed during this time to retain its membership. We also welcomed a new member to our church.
From providing a space for worship service, to donating food during our holiday food drive, to providing needed items to help with our ministries, our local and regional friends and churches have extended tremendous assistance during this crisis. Recently, Bethany United Church of Christ organized a city wide fundraiser to raise money for our fire fund. The spaghetti dinner was held at the new Lebanon Junior High school where over 500 people attended. Funds from the dinner along with offerings and donations generated that evening brought in $7,000 for Bethel’s fire fund. We are so grateful for the support of local churches and the community. We can’t thank Bethany United Church of Christ enough for their hard work. God has truly blessed us with a great community here in Lebanon.
In the coming months…
Bethel is at a point of making decisions about our historic church. We are so blessed to have friends like you during this challenging time and request your continued prayers. We welcome you to worship with us anytime. Sunday worship begins at 11:00 at 550 Mound Ct. Lebanon Ohio. We have also enclosed a RightNow Media Card were you can access over 15,000 Bible studies libraries with content from over 250 top Christian publishers and ministries for you to use freely. Click here to access RightNow Media.
We thank you for your prayers, generosity and continued support.