Old Bethel restoration proceeds, but help needed
By Brian Koonce
March 21, 2006
JACKSON – Work is moving forward to restore Missouri’s oldest Baptist church, but to complete the job Old Bethel will need your help.
“The work is going great, we just need funds” Melvin Gateley, coordinator for Old Bethel and member of the Missouri Baptist Historical Commission. “People haven’t responded as well as we hoped.”
The commission hopes to have the $200,000 restoration of the first permanent non-Catholic house of worship west of the Mississippi River completed by this October when the Missouri Baptist Convention meets for its annual meeting in nearby Cape Girardeau. Plans include reconstructing the original logs, building a protective canopy over the building and improving the road access and parking.
Despite slow funds, Gateley said work on the restoration of the 200-year old site is moving forward. The foundation and piers have been poured for the protective canopy and one row of logs is in place. All the permits have been secured from the City of Jackson and commissioners are continuing their effort to have Old Bethel placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Gateley asked that Missouri Baptists pray that a multitude of volunteers will help complete the project, that churches give a “love offering” and, most importantly, that “God will receive the glory from this endeavor.”
Churches or individuals can send donations to the Missouri Baptist Convention, 400 E. High St., Jefferson City, Mo., 65101. Please designate Old Bethel in the note portion of a check and the money will be routed to the restoration project.