14080 Bethel Church Ln,
Smithfield, VA 23430
Union Bethel AME Church
The magnificent structure which is dedicated for worship that we now see has come from humble but power filled beginnings; Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church was organized by a missionary woman from Philadelphia, named Mrs. Howard. With the faith of a few Christians they went seeking a place of worship which they found in an old hut made of nothing but treetops and mud.
They worshiped in this building for six years. Growth was so rapid that the congregation out grew this place. Discovering their independence as a full-grown religious body and recognizing their duty to the national government which gave them protection and their obligation as a church, the trustees at that time: Mr. William H. Tynes, Mr. George Holloway, Mr. Richard Bowman, Mr. Walter Wilson, Mr. George Wilkerson, and Mr. William Jordan decided to purchase one acre of land in 1866 from Mr. George Holloway and his wife Rosa. Mr. & Mrs. Holloway were the grandparents of the late Susie Holloway Johnson.
The acre of land was used to erect a bigger and better edifice. This was the first African Methodist Episcopal Church to be organized in Isle of Wight County.
In the year 1872 or 1898, Bethel African Methodist Church became a circuit with Ebenezer African Methodist Church. During the unity of these churches as a circuit, they started to call Bethel AME, Union Bethel AME.
Our black brothers and sisters had to struggle hard to give the church its start, but with leadership of strong pastors the church grew in power and influence.
Since the beginning of 1889 to 2018 our church embraced the pastoral administers of Reverends: Peter Shepherd, D. Becket, P.W. Lee, R.T. Timberlake, J. Cuffee, C. Augustus, E.O. Hardy, A.L. Williams, C.R. Saunders, W.W. Roberts, R.H. Davis, Leak Sivell, Baker, Wing, I.M. Gray, Walker, Upshaw, Smith, M. Law Baker, Brown, W.A. Ward, S.W. Williiams, T.R. Spencer, David Stovall, Keith Grooms, Raymond Pittman, Rufus Mosley, Jr., Willie P. Booth III, Richard Walker, Jr., Earl A. Glover and Phyllis M. Whichard, Jas A. Hemby.
Rev. Earl Morris
Pastor, Union Bethel AME Church