Bethel Missionary Baptist Church

Building Fellowship & Bettering Communities through the Gospel


Rev. Carson, 1966-67

Rev. Henderson,

Rev. Hardin, 1975-79

Rev. McBride, 1979-81

Rev. Hunt,

" ...the angel of God spoke unto me...And I said, Here am I...[God said to Jacob]I am the God of Bethel..."

- Genesis 31:11-13

Our Story

The beginning
September 10, 1966-a group of believers acting on faith joined together and conceived Bethel Baptist Church. One hundred and twenty years after the Franklindale Baptist Church was built the building was purchased by Bethel Baptist Church in 1967 for $7,500. The dedicated faithful worshipped God, held Sunday School and other meetings in the church basement, where a potbelly stove was the source of heat. They worked feverishly removing mounds of debris, replacing broken windows with stained glass, and beautifying the sanctuary as they readied the "ole ship of Zion" for the dedication of a new church.

On Sunday afternoon, October 15, 1967, the congregation gathered with community people in attendance for the official dedication of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, the new name of the church. The seeds to grow spiritually as well as physically were sewn during the first decade of worship and praise under the first three pastors: the Reverend Clarence T. Carson (1966); Reverend Gordon E. Henderson (1967-74); and Reverend Willie L. Hardin (1975-78). These leaders were the "foundation builders" during Bethel Missionary Baptist Church's first decade of worship and praise, as they served the congregation in a part-time capacity. The church was incorporated on September 18, 1976.

Church growth
The second decade was punctuated with the need for a full-time pastor to minister to the growing congregation and to nurture new programs. The Reverend Eddie L. McBride was installed as the first full-time pastor serving from 1979-81. In August, 1982 the Reverend Dr. Edward L. Hunt affirmed the offer to serve as pastor. On November 28, 1982 he was installed as the fifth pastor. Pastor Hunt has led the church through the second and third decades of worship and praise and is embarking on the fourth decade. The Glory of God has touched the Bethel family with continuous blessings, which is reflected today through the work of those connected to the church. The Deacon Ministry has twelve ordained deacons; five associate ministers; thirteen deaconess; two deaconess emeriti, seven trustees and eight church officers. There are five choirs, an Usher Ministry, weekly Prayer and Bible Study meetings in addition to Sunday School, which includes age/grade level classes as well as adult specialty classes. There are a myriad of ministries: AIDS, Audio, Black History, Drama, Education, Health, Hospitality, Liturgical Dance, Men's Fellowship, Missionary, Pastor's Aid, Prison, WIRED Media, Young Children's Bible, and Youth Advisory. During the year there are spiritual retreats for men, women and youth as well as a summer Vacation Bible School.

Since 1982 the Music Ministry has presented the annual Christmas concert. In January the church has hosted the Martin Luther King, Jr., Community Commemorative program since 1988. Three annual favorite events are Family and Friends Day (May), Scholarship Luncheon (June), and the Church Picnic in July. Christian Chronicles, Bethel's bi-mothly newsletter, has been published since 1999.

In 1997, the need for additional meeting space spurred the congregation to approve the purchase of the Kerrigan House for $137,500. This 1830, 13-room edifice, referred to as the Bethel Annex, was located across Prospect Street adjacent to the church and was acquired to provide space for the Church School as well as other events. On November 16, 2002, an additional Sunday worship service was instituted permitting two Sunday worship services at 8 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. The Bethel family stands on the threshold of the fourth decade of worshipping and praising God for His goodness and mercy.

Building a new church
The faith in God demonstrated in 1966 to establish a church, was the same faith exhibited to build a new edifice.  In 2005 the Bethel family approved a two-phase building plan. Phase I, the building of a 556 seat sanctuary on the former site of the Bethel Annex, was to be completed in October 2008. On Pentecost Sunday, May 11, 2008, a fire destroyed the three-quarters completed building.  Through prayer and the generous financial support of churches, Dutchess County citizens, and others, the second building is under construction.  With continued prayers and support, the new church edifice On October 11, 2009, a 556-seat extension of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church was dedicated to the Glory of God Sanctuary symbolizing the completion of the first new church built in the Village of Wappingers Falls since 1877.  The former worship building is now Founders Hall and is part of the congregation Phase II extension plans.

This 2016  year commemorates fifty years of worship and praise shrouded in faith as this congregation has weathered storms and based in the showers of His blessings thanking HIm for being so good.  The membership is over 400 worshippers prasing His name and trusting in His will as He leads the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church to "fish" for the salvation of souls.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.”

- Ephesians 3:20-21