Bethany United Church of Christ

History of Bethany United Church of Christ


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

Picture of First German Reformed Church  1876-1883.

In the fall of 1876 the two churches, The First German Reformed Church and the German Evangelical, united, reorganized and employed Rev. E. Richard as Pastor until September 1877 when the church called Rev. Abraham Bollinger. At this time the Congregation numbered 38. Services were held in the County Court House until March 1878 when the old school building (Washington School), later the Ewing Herbert home in the north east part of town was purchased and fitted up for church purposes. At the time it was sold, the house was in very poor repair and mainly on this account was sold for $1,200. Immediately on the acquisition the upper part was fitted with seats and a pulpit was neatly finished and the lower part converted into a parsonage. (The Hiawatha World of March 30, 1944 says the parsonage was upstairs.) In the year 1883 the building was sold back to the school board for $3,000. The congregation now has a membership of sixty and has services every second Sabbath.

The formal organization of the German Reformed Church took place in 1876 and on December 24, 1876 a Constitution was adoptedRev. Emanuel Richard. and there was an election of elders and deacons. They were installed by Rev. Emmanuel Richard, the first pastor. Sabbath School was organized in January 1878 under the superintendence of Mr. H. Isley.

The first Constitution stated that the officers of the Congregation were: the pastor, two elders, and two deacons. The deacons were to be elected by the Congregation. The Consistory elects, besides the pastor, a secretary and a treasurer.

Among the thirty-eight Charter members there were listed thirteen Zimmermans and five Boetchers. Other names we hear today are Isley, Pfister, Schober, Schweizer and Meisenheimer.

The first baptism listed was that of Lilly Kansas Manis, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Manis on June 15, 1873 in the Union School House. Three children of Mr. and Mrs. Troxell were baptized in April 1874.

First marriage listed was James Hudgens to Miss Susan Meisenheimer on Nov. 31, 1873. On March 22, 1874. Mr. Wm. McQuilken was married to Miss Mary Meisenheimer. No more marriages are mentioned until that of John Roll to Maggie Pfister Jan. 1st, 1879.

An interesting side light on the finances of the Church in those days:
A notation in the records dated Oct. 5, 1873 reads as follows: Today at the Communion services an offering was received to cover the expenses of the Congregation. The amount of the offering was $5.15.

Leaving a total balance in the treasury of 20 cents.


The Rev. A. Bollinger family had a real tragedy while serving this church. It was on the evening of October 18, 1879, when Paul, the little 8 year old son, bringing the cow home from the pasture, fastened the end of the rope around his body. The cow ran away, dragging the little fellow at a pell mell gait around the corner of 5th and Miami. About the middle of the block between fourth and fifth streets on Miami, the frightened animal missed the culvert, which used to be seen there, and jumped the ditch. The boy landed in the ditch with a broken neck and the cow stopped. The boy died at the old stone parsonage soon after his rescue.

Organization of the Church 1884—1965.