In a sermon, Rev. Osgood quoted the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who said, “Salvation is free, but discipleship will cost you your life.”

Bonhoeffer, in his book, The Cost of Discipleship, wrote “Cheap grace is preaching forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession. … Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”

Often, we opt for “cheap grace,” but in this season of Lent, we should remember that “salvation is free;” to us. There was a high price for our salvation, but Jesus paid it through His suffering on the cross, so that we would not have to.

So if discipleship costs us our lives, considering that our Savior gave us precious salvation for free, when we weigh salvation against giving our lives to Jesus and doing His will, are we not still getting a bargain? Let’s not settle for cheap grace; rather, let’s be willing to pay for the real thing: being Jesus’ disciples.


The columbarium project, in the works for around three years, took a giant step forward today when the primary unit and benches were delivered around noon.

The unit was offloaded, but due the size of the crane and access constraints, the crane operators were unable to position it on the slab; instead, it was positioned about 10 feet away, and soon will be positioned on the slab by members of the congregation with the proper equipment.

Soon, also, those CMF members charged with drafting operational policy and rules will, through CMF, submit the policy and rules to the general board for approval, and the general board will decide on administration of the columbarium.

More pictures of the delivery and offloading will be published shortly.


The Worship Committee 25 February approved a proposal for a weekly devotional on Bethany’s website,, providing a spiritual dimension to the website. The devotionals will begin the first Monday in June, and will change weekly on Mondays thereafter.

Each devotional will be based on a scriptural theme. Upcoming themes will be published on the website several weeks in advance. Photographs will serve as the background for devotionals. Members of the Bethany church family are invited to submit photographic images based as closely as possible on the weekly themes.

Photographs selected for publication will be given attribution. No photographer will have more than three photographs selected for publication in a one-year period unless there are an insufficient number of photographs submitted for the devotional backgrounds. Photographs submitted must be taken by and owned by the submitting photographer in order to avoid copyright violations.

Digital images may be emailed to, and the email must state that the image submitted is for website devotional background. Photographic prints also may be submitted, but will not appear as sharp when published due to scanning resolution limitations.

The following link is an example of a potential devotional.

Devotional X 180226



You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. –Deuteronomy 6:5

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. –Psalm 16:11

We teach the children, “Jesus Loves Me,” and we sing it during worship. But what about the obverse? Jesus loves us, to be sure. Do we love Jesus? How do we show it? The first verse above tells us that we are to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” If we love Jesus, we will show it by doing what He asked of us: to tell everyone the Good News; to share His love; and to be like Him. What are the consequences of loving Him? Psalm 16:11 assures us that God makes known to us the path of life; in His presence there is fullness of joy; and at His right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Writing in the beach sand will wash away, but Jesus’ love for us will never wash away. That alone is a good reason to love Jesus and to tell everyone about Him.


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? –Isaiah 43:18-19.

The sun rising over the Neuse River, dispelling clouds, reminds us that our savior, Jesus Christ, died to take away our sins and give us a fresh start; that He can dispel the clouds in our lives if we accept Him; that He loves us, and that in Him, we have a new beginning.

We pray for you what Robert Burns’ prayer asks:

O Thou who kindly dost provide
For every creature’s want!
We bless Thee, God of Nature wide,
For all thy goodness lent.
And, if it please Thee, heavenly Guide,
May never worse be sent;
But, whether granted or denied,
Lord bless us with content.

Happy New Year, and blessings to all!


The youth enacted, and the congregation participated in, ‘Twas the Very First Christmas’ Sunday evening December 10.

After a welcome by Rev. Osgood, Mary (Macy Tyson) and Joseph (Miko Stilley), arrived in Bethlehem as the congregation sang “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”Because of the tax enrollment, there were no accommodations at inns, but Mary and Joseph were allowed to stay in a stable, where Mary gave birth to Jesus.

The Jericho Ringers performed “The Friendly Beasts,” as the animals (Ashleigh Deditch, River Morris and Jaden Hochteil) went to the stable to meet the baby Jesus.

Katie Bennett, violinist, performed “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” and Rachel (Christine Beeman) told the story of the angels (Diana Harper, Jillian Stilley) appearing before shepherds, telling them the good news of Jesus’ birth. As she related the shepherds’ (Like Bailey, Jordan Bennett) trip to the stable, the congregation sang “Go Tell It on the Mountain.”

The congregation sang, “We Three Kings,” and the innkeeper (John Beeman) told of the wise men’s (Liam McCarthy, Casey Stilley and Marcus Tyson) journey.

The wise men and shepherds kneeled before the new-born King, our Lord and Savior, Jesus, as the congregation sang “Away in a Manger.”

The performance concluded when the cast and congregation together sang “Joy to the World,” and Rev. Osgood offered a closing prayer.

In addition to the performers in the play, Dawn Metts was the pianist, Hanna Metts, Tiffany Bennett and Christine Beeman were the costumers, and Matt Bailey, Parker Watson and Chris Watson built the sets. Thanks go to the CWF women who provided and served the supper before the play and the cookies after the play.



For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. –Isaiah 9:6.

Each year, Bethany’s family comes together for the “hanging of the greens,” to celebrate the advent of the birth of our Lord, and Christmas.

It is a busy evening, with quite a bit to do, and the process seems messy, but the result is a beautifully decorated building. The header photo records part of the process, and shows the activity that lasted through the preliminary meal to the dedication of the decorations to the Glory of Christ.

The best things about the Hanging of the Greens are the fellowship, the fun, the sense of accomplishment, and the pride that comes when we look upon what has been accomplished.

None of the photographs in this story show the wonder of the end result; but if you come to Sunday School and Worship Service during Advent and the Christmas season, you will look in awe at the beauty produced by the Lord, through those who participated in the Hanging of the Greens!



I would like to invite your community/church/organisation (British spelling) to participate in this project. I propose to be a part of your world for a few weeks or more, documenting regular or specific gatherings and learning about your life. This will include some candid, photojournalistic photography. as well as some portraiture for those interested. I invite you to think about specific events that I should cover or people that are making a difference that I should meet and photograph. In this you will contribute in sharing an important message of unity. You will also be able to use some of the digital images as you wish towards the development of your community.

Photo by Mac Harris

Annabelle Henderson (photo by Mac Harris)

I thank you deeply for your interest in my project and look forward to collaborating with you.

Warmest regards,

Annabelle Henderson

The foregoing is part of Annabelle Henderson’s introduction of Closer: Project for a Photographic Social Narrative. Ms Henderson explained her project to the general board November 5, and asked for board approval for Bethany’s participation. The board approved her request.

In her explanation of the project, Ms Henderson wrote, “I aim to show real connexion (British spelling) and the resemblances that I trust live within us all, regardless of our beliefs, race, gender or sexual orientation. In times where our society seems in critical need of renewed solidarity and faith–in all its forms–I hope that this idea will be met with a positive response and encourage more people to seek the strength of the human spirit.”

During her time at Bethany, Ms Henderson has been, and will be, doing some candid photo-shooting of meetings and events, as well as some portrait photography. She will be in the county this week, and she will return in the spring.

Ms Henderson shared with Bethany Communications several of her images taken at the All Saints Sunday worship service.

The project is in its beginning stage, and will not be completed for some time. As we participate, however, we look forward to the project completion. So as Ms Henderson works at her project within our community and at Bethany, please welcome her and aid her in Christian fellowship.

Learn more about Ms Henderson here.