Bethany Mennonite Church (Bridgewater Corners, Vermont, USA)

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Bethany Mennonite Church, 2016.
Source: Gwen Groff
An outdoor service with the labyrinth walk at Bethany Mennonite Church.
Source: Tom Smith

In 1952 three families from the Blooming Glen Mennonite Church in Pennsylvania--Lloyd and Alice Moyer, Howard and Beulah Kulp, and Wilmer and Jean Schmell--with the support of the Mission Board of the Franconia Mennonite Conference, moved to Bridgewater Corners, Vermont, USA, with a vision to begin a Mennonite church.

Mennonite interest in Vermont was not new. Beginning in 1947, Franconia Mennonites had run Vacation Bible Schools for children in seven central Vermont communities. After five years of these Bible Schools, the Franconia Mission Board bought a building and six acres located a few hundred feet south of the Ottauquechee River on Route 100A in Bridgewater Corners. The structure, Wilmer Schmell wrote in his memoirs, was “a large private home with porches and columns on two ends and looked like a public building.” Volunteers from Pennsylvania undertook the renovations necessary to create a sanctuary and appropriate parsonage.

The church’s pastor, Abram Landis, and his family moved in nine weeks later. The first service was held 29 June 1952. One hundred fifty-six persons attended the dedication service held in July 1952. The Kulps, Moyers, and Schmells, along with Landis, chose the name “Bethany Mennonite” for the new church.

In the 1970s Bethany congregants founded Bethany Birches Camp as an outreach of the church and continued to support its ministry together with other local churches and the community.

Weekly services at Bethany Mennonite Church generally focused on the sermon, but singing was also important, providing a way for worshipers to pray together in a service that otherwise included little ritual. A labyrinth in the field behind the church also demonstrated the congregation’s desire to create community and express devotion.

Bibliography

"Bethany Mennonite Church of Bridgewater: A History" Vermont Standard. 27 January 2011. Web. 31 August 2016. http://www.thevermontstandard.com/2011/01/bethany-mennonite-church-of-bridgewater-a-history/.

Additional Information

Address: 169 Route 100A, Bridgewater Corners, Vermont 05035

Phone: 802-672-3488

Website http://bethanymennonite.org/

Denominational Affiliations:

Mennonite Church USA

Franconia Mennonite Conference

Bethany Mennonite Church Pastoral Leaders

Name Years
of Service
Abram K. Landis 1952-1955
1961-1964
James Millen 1956-1960
Nevin Bender, Jr. 1964-1981
Paul Erb 1975
Wellington Alderfer 1976
John Abraham 1982-1984
James Musser 1985-1997
Gwen Groff 1999-present

Bethany Mennonite Church Membership

Year Members
1955 4
1965 34
1975 48
1985 52
1995 39
2005 30
2015 40

Map

Map:Bethany Mennonite Church (Bridgewater Corners, Vermont, USA)


Author(s) Sam Steiner
Date Published August 2016


Cite This Article

MLA style

Steiner, Sam. "Bethany Mennonite Church (Bridgewater Corners, Vermont, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. August 2016. Web. 17 Jul 2018. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Bethany_Mennonite_Church_(Bridgewater_Corners,_Vermont,_USA)&oldid=135945.

APA style

Steiner, Sam. (August 2016). Bethany Mennonite Church (Bridgewater Corners, Vermont, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 17 July 2018, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Bethany_Mennonite_Church_(Bridgewater_Corners,_Vermont,_USA)&oldid=135945.




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