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 parrishfh.com.


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.


It is with great sadness that we report the passing of a longtime member of our church family,

Charles Theodore Jennings, Sr., 14 December 1931 — 12 November 2018

Charles Theodore Jennings, Sr. — Ted to friends and family and Charlie to work colleagues — passed away in the early hours of 12 November 2018. He was born in Centreville, Illinois, to Marvin Edward and Alice (Muir) Jennings.

His wife of 57 years, Dorothy (Lange) Jennings predeceased him in 2014. He is survived by his daughter, Schalene Dagutis and her husband, Pete, of Cohoes, New York; his son, Charles Theodore Jennings, Jr., and his wife, Dawn, of New Bern; his son, John Edward Jennings, and his wife, Celeste, of Anniston, Alabama; and two grandsons, Austin and Bradley Jennings, and six great grandchildren. His brother, Marvin Edward Jennings also survives him. as well as three sisters-in-law, Katherine Lange, Jeanne Lange, and Virginia Lange.

Ted came to the Washington, DC, area in 1941 when his father accepted a job with the federal government. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War from 1952-1954. He attended The Columbia Technical Institute at night, graduating as valedictorian and earning a degree in mechanical engineering in 1959. He and his family moved to Pamlico County in 1978 and attended Bethany Christian Church in Arapahoe. Ted and Dorothy moved to New Bern in 2006.

Ted never met a stranger and will always be remembered for his smile, outgoing personality, and willingness to help others whenever needed. His children will never forget the model he set for how to live a worthwhile life and be a loving, thoughtful spouse.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, November 17 at 3:00 p.m. at Bethany Christian Church, 8126 NC Highway 306 South, Arapahoe, North Carolina. In lieu of flowers, the family asks if you want to remember Ted, please donate to the charity of your choice in his name.


So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.

–Psalm 63:2-4

Thank you, Lord, for…

When my day begins with washed-out colors, reflecting the lack of spirit in my soul and the dearth of hope in my heart, I thank you, Lord, for making me aware of your love and the beauty of Your creation. As your sun rises upon this fertile earth and illuminates the beauty around me, and as Your sun saturates the colors of all that appears, brightening the world, my soul is filled with Your Spirit, and my heart pulses with your love. I praise you for Your love, and I bask in Your glory. Forever.