Valerie Melvin

Bishop Valerie Melvin, Regional Minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in North Carolina, will deliver the sermon at Bethany tomorrow, March 10, at the 11 AM Worship Service. She is at Camp Caroline today for the annual Disciples Women Retreat, A Day Apart.

Following the service, lunch will be served in the Fellowship Hall.


The sailboat in the picture has a daggerboard, a retractable board that goes downward through the keel for stability. It helps keep the boat from tipping over in wind, and keeps it from drifting leeward. Larger sailboats have fixed keels, shaped like a fish’s ventral fin, that, like a daggerboard, provides stability and prevents leeward drift.

Without stability in our lives, we, too, are subject to drift and tipping over. Jesus is our daggerboard: If we know Him and accept Him as our Lord and Savior, we will stay on course, not drift and not tip over. With Him, we can sail through the rough waters of despair, of grief and of illness, and stay on course. If you are “blowin’ in the wind,” my friend, Jesus is the answer!

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. –James 1:6 (ESV)


Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.  And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. –Ephesians 5:1-2

Photo by Susan Hardison Bissette

Can we walk in love? Jesus told us to do that, as recorded in Ephesians. He told us the reason, too: “And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them  and said, ‘Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’” When we think of Valentine’s Day, we think of romantic love, and that aspect of the celebration is fine, because romantic love, if it fits the description of love contained in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, is like the love of children. So, when you see little children expressing love, walk, like them, in the love of Christ.




“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. –Isaiah 43:18-19

As we approach the dawn of a new year, let us prepare for new beginnings. In the old year we may have had pleasant experiences, even joy.  If so, did we thank the source? If not, in the new year, be thankful for your blessings and praise Him from whom blessings come. Know that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17)

Some of us, during the old year, experienced trials, hardships and heartache. So, in the new year, put those experiences behind you, pray to the Lord for the desire and strength to be closer to Him. As you draw closer to Him and walk on the path He wills, you will find great spiritual rewards through the new year. “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

As the sun rises January 1, 2019, we wish you “Happy New Beginnings!”


Christmas is all about gifts. Every merchant knows that, and it is so deeply ingrained in the minds of the populace that no Christmas season goes by without reference to The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry, in which a woman sells her hair to buy a Christmas gift for her husband, whose present to her is combs for her hair. Usually there is a poignant story in the press during Christmas season about parents who, tragically, cannot afford gifts for their children. So, what is the Gift? Is it a red toy firetruck? A diamond ring? A dishwasher? A new car? No, and it is not one we give, but one we receive. Jesus is the Gift, for through Him we are saved from our sins and given leave to enter the presence of the Lord. But, having received the Gift, we are not meant to keep it as our sole possession; rather, we are meant to tell others about it and pass it on to them.


The annual Christian Women’s Fellowship Christmas Party took place Friday, Dec. 7, at the home of Juanita Arrington.

The women, dressed in Christmas attire, after prayer, enjoyed delicious food, and “Crazy Socks.” They played a game with dice to determine what present they received, and also admired Juanita’s treasures in her home. They all said that they had a good time with the festivities and just chatting with each other, and expressed their appreciation to Juanita for hosting the party.

After worship Sunday, Dec. 9, the women who attended the party (and one man who sneaked in the picture to show off his Christmas socks) gathered in the sanctuary and displayed their “crazy” Christmas socks.


We were saddened when we learned of the death Wednesday of Mary Puckett, a longtime member of Bethany. Mary was a resident of Kennel’s Beach until the state of her health required that her family move her to the Raleigh area so they could take care of her. Her obituary follows:

Grantsboro – Mary Edwards Puckett, age 92, died Wednesday, December 5, 2018 at WakeMed in Raleigh. Born December 11, 1925 in Johnston County. She was a daughter of the late Luby and Eula Creech Edwards. She was preceded in death by her husband, Louis E. Puckett, Sr.; son, Louis E. Puckett, Jr.; brothers, Luby Carl “L.C.” Edwards, and Sidney Edwards; and sister, Margaret Murchinson. Mary was a member of Bethany Christian Church in Arapahoe, NC.
A graveside service will be conducted at 1:00 p.m. Thursday, December 13, 2018 in Montlawn Memorial Park in Raleigh with Rev. Torry Osgood officiating. The family will receive friends from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Wednesday evening at Parrish Funeral Home in Selma.
Surviving are her sons, Ron Puckett and wife Via of Kennels Beach and Ray Puckett and wife Suzanne of Clayton; daughter-in-law, Ginny Puckett of Smithfield; brother, Donald Edwards and wife Joan of Pikeville; sister, Esther Merrill of Raleigh; grandchildren, Amanda Puckett, Lauren Puckett, Will Puckett, and Sarah Puckett; and great grandchild, Rocco Puckett.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be sent to Bethany Christian Church, 8126 NC-306, Arapahoe, NC 28510.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at


Members of Bethany came together Nov. 30 for the Hanging of the Greens in advance of the First Sunday of Advent, Dec. 2.

Most of the decorations were retrieved from the attic prior to the event, and those at the event finished the task in about three hours, including a service at the end dedicating the decorations to the glory of God.

Thanks to the women of the church, the event began with a

meal featuring chili and accoutrements–and, of course, delicious desserts.

Photos by Mac Harris


Christian Women’s fellowship (CWF) Group 5 at Bethany showed their appreciation of our firefighters November 12 at the Arapahoe Volunteer Fire Department (AVFD) by taking them refreshments and celebrating the ways they help and protect those in our community.

The women took a repast of sweets and dips to the AVFD kitchen, and greeted and served the firefighters. Before leaving, they thanked the firefighters for their service to the community, especially their hard work during Hurricane Florence.

The area served by AVFD had the most trees down in the county during Florence. The firefighters’ primary goal was to keep the roads clear for emergency personnel. All through the hurricane and its aftermath, the firefighters cleared the roads of fallen trees and debris .

In the period immediately after the hurricane, the firefighters went door-to-door checking for those in the community who had not evacuated, to assure their safety.