Community Faith and Values News

Bethel UMC undergoes changes

DS Jean Tippit, Lay Minister Pat Poole

In late December, Bethel United Methodist Church became a mission church, also known as a preaching station, in the Baypines District of the United Methodist Church. “Peaching station” sounds very John Wesleyan. Wesley was, of course, the founder of methodism.
Members voted to make this change from being a full connectional church for financial reasons. It had nothing to do with the split that may come in the denomination later this year.
In addition to some financial obligations being relieved on our small congregation, the new designation also means a pastor is not appointed to the church every Sunday.
However, the church has been assigned a certified lay minister who will bring the message every first and third Sunday. Some of you may know him.
March 1, Pat Poole began his appointment at Bethel. Pat lives in Brewton and is a member of the Poole Truck Line family. Pat has been active in Brewton First United Methodist Church and works with the Methodist men’s group that builds wheelchair ramps. Their work has benefitted residents in a wide area, including Atmore. He will pastor at Bethel and at Brownville UMC, Evergreen.
Also last Sunday, District Superintendent Jean Tippit was at Bethel for Pat’s first Sunday and to conduct the Holy Communion service.
As is true with so many congregations, Bethel’s attendance has fallen drastically in the past few years. We’ve had discussions about closing the church, merging with another church, or keeping our sovereignty as Bethel UMC although under a different position in the conference. We voted for the last option.
Pat Poole will be with us on the first and third Sundays. We will invite other preachers / speakers to fill our pulpit on the second and fourth Sundays.
We invite you to visit Bethel. If you’re looking for a small, traditional church, that’s us.
Our services begin at 11 a.m. We’re located at 5191 Highway 21, Atmore.