Bethany United Church of Christ

History of Bethany United Church of Christ

Bethany Reformed Church 1884 - 1965

The following information was taken from the centennial flyer that was published October 10, 1976 for the church Centennial, which was taken from an old "History of Kansas" — written by A. T. Andreas in 1883.

The Hiawatha World - July 31, 1884 gave the following account of the dedication of the first church building.

Photo of church that was built in 1884.

"Bethany Church was dedicated last Sunday. The church was crowded and many who wished to attend were unable to get in. The church is of brick and the most graceful structure in the city. A row of Lombardy poplars on the west side adds much to it's appearance."

Organized in 1872 by J. H. Beck. In 1876 the United Evangelical Church united with Bethany Church and then called Rev. E. Richards as pastor, who labored for about one year. In 1877 Rev. Abraham Bollinger was called, continuing until November 1822. For nearly a year the church was without a pastor. Rev. G. W. Remegen was then called and began his work Sept. 1st 1883. At this time the old school building was sold and arrangements were made to erect the present new building which was consecrated Sunday, July 27. Cost of lots and parsonage: $1,500, Church building $3,100. Furniture furnished by the Ladies Aid Society: $400. Labor done by members about $800. Total value of building and furniture is $4,300.

By 1885 there were 74 names on the Church roll. During the period from 1872 till 1883 the services were in German. In December of 1883 the Church members were to decide on whether to have alternate services of German and English or two German and one English but no mention was made as to what was decided. In 1887 the German services were to be changed from every alternate Sabbath morning to every alternate Sabbath evening and all morning services conducted in English.

The parsonage just east of the Church, was the Day Care Center, was built in 1886.

This little Church was still struggling financially as is noted by the Church notes which tell us that the Consistory borrowed $55.00 from the Morrill and Janes Bank at 10% interest for one year. This was to finish paying the salary of Rev. Remagen who resigned in January 1888. Rev. A. Lohman was the next minister. At this time—1889—the treasurer was to send quarterly reminders to all members and all delinquents of the last year. The treasurer was to be informed that George Yost be not asked to subscribe to the pastor's salary or expenses; on account of his loss of crop by hail.

Another interesting note taken from the minutes of the Consistory meeting in 1890.
"The Consistory voted to furnish coal for the cook-stove and the study stove instead of furnishing horse feed."

Rev. A. Lohman resigned Feb. 21, 1891 followed by Rev. J. A. Novinger who came in February of 1892.

If you were to see the picture of thePhoto of church that was built in 1884. Church following it' s construction in 1884 you would notice that it had quite a tall spire on the steeple. In 1894 this was struck by lightning. Rev. Novinger was to have it repaired and paid for out of the $100 paid by the Insurance Company. No one seems to remember when the steeple was removed.

On October 21st 1894 Rev. Novinger resigned to go into another field of labor. Resignation was to take effect April 1st 1895.

Rev. Fisher of Danville, Pa. came in January 1896. He surprised the ConsistoryChurch after Steeple was removed. by presenting his resignation in March 1898. The salaries were low but still the Consistory had to borrow money to pay the back salaries of the last two or three ministers. J.C.Gekeler, a student was the supply pastor for the summer at a salary of not to exceed thirty dollars a month.

This constant changing of ministers was halted when Rev. L. L. Hassenpflug came Nov.17, 1898 and served until May 3, 1942. He had just previously been Commissioned by the Board of Home Missions. The Congregation paid $350 the first year and the Board of Home Missions paid $300 for his salary.

In the Annual report of December 1905 we read:
"We here note with pride that for the second time in the Church's history we are out of debt. A vote of thanks was given the ladies for aiding so liberally in freeing the Church from debt."

In January of 1906 provisions were made for putting in a brick side walk in front of the Church.

A third change of Church officers was made in 1908 which was as follows:
Pastor, four elders and four deacons. In 1884 the officers were two elders and three deacons and in 1887 two elders, two deacons and two trustees.

It is surprising to learn that as early as 1910 the Church Board decided to raise the money by subscription and pass the contribution plates only on four occasions; boxes were placed in the back of the Church for those who wished to contribute weekly. In this same year the president of the Consistory was instructed to sign a remonstrance against paving.

In 1912 the Church is self supporting and no longer a Mission Church. The minister's salary was $800 a year.

During World War I Bethany Reformed Church and the First Congregational Church united in their services; part of the time in the Congregational Church and part of the time in the Bethany Reformed Church. At the close of the war services were resumed in both churches.

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