Exec Board passes Old Bethel resolution
Money, labor needed for restoration project
By Brian Koonce
April 18, 2006
JEFFERSON CITY – Although the Executive Board of the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) is charged with leading the state into the future, that didn’t stop them from emphasizing the importance of remembering the past.
At their April 11 meeting, the board passed a resolution challenging “all Missouri Baptists to ‘Remember and Rebuild’ a rich history of Great Commission obedience to the Kingdom Call that began at Bethel Baptist Church.”
For those a little rusty in their state denominational history, Bethel Baptist Church, located outside what is today Jackson, is the first permanent non-Catholic house of worship west of the Mississippi River. Founded in 1806, this year marks the 200th anniversary of Baptist life in Missouri.
The “Remember and Rebuild” phrase of the resolution refers to the current efforts to restore the Old Bethel site. The Missouri Baptist Historical Commission hopes to have the $200,000 restoration of the log building and protective canopy completed by this October when the MBC meets for its annual meeting in nearby Cape Girardeau.
Despite slow funds, Melvin Gateley of the commission said work is moving forward. The foundation and piers have been poured for the protective canopy and one row of logs is in place. The commissioners continue their effort to have Old Bethel placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The board called upon “all Baptists, ministers and laymen to participate through any means deemed appropriate to financially support” Old Bethel.
Still, like the board, Gateley asks 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. For more information contact Joanna Perkins at 1-800-736-6227 or (573)636-0400.