Where it was…

Photo by Tommy Banks

Until this week, the ruins of Bethany’s sanctuary and fellowship hall, which burned June 25, occupied the space between the church office (left) and the pavilion (right). In just a week Kenny Heath of Heath Trucking and Land Development completed demolition of the building and cleared the site, which is now seeded with grass.

The Bethany Church Family sincerely thanks Kenny Heath for his kindness, support and quick and professional service.

The Smoke Has Cleared – The Fund-Raising Must Begin

Easter 2006

June 25, 2007

Insurance will cover, at best, half of what is needed to build a new Bethany Christian Church. It is estimated that $400,000 to $500,000 will have to be raised in addition to the insurance proceeds to replace the 7,200 square feet of space that was destroyed.

Donors can donate to Bethany’s new building fund securely through PayPal simply by clicking on the “Make a Donation” button at the top right of this page.

Donors also can make checks payable to Bethany Christian Church with a memo to designate the funds to Rebuild the Church, for which a separate bank account has been established. Send donations to Bethany Christian Church, PO Box 156, Arapahoe, NC 28510-0156.

Easter Follows Good Friday

A recurring theme in Gary Edge’s words from the altar has been the observance that God provided Easter Sunday following the tragic events of Good Friday.

Sara and Simon Spalding are pictured above performing at the wedding of Carolyn Broughton and Ben Casey against a backdrop of the rubble left after the tragic Good Friday of Monday, June 25. Just as Carolyn and Ben begin life anew with the spirit of Easter, so does Bethany begin anew with the spirit of the resurrection of Easter.

Please visit this website and become a part of the Easter of Bethany Christian Church.


Photos and story by Tommy Banks, edited by Mac Harris

After salvaging a sill from the burned sanctuary (see bottom photo), Tommy Banks discovered that the 8″ x 8″ by 24′ timber was cut from the heart of a yellow pine tree.

Tommy counted 75 visible rings (see top photo), and says it is logical to assume that there were at least 25 more rings. Each ring represents a year’s growth, so the tree was at least 100 years old when it was cut for construction of the sanctuary in 1912, 95 years ago.

That means the tree that died to help support our sanctuary for the past 95 years would have been about 200 years old, so it was a mature tree when Bethany was founded 167 years ago!


Rebuilding is built on organization. The office of Bethany Christian Church is organized and ready to begin the step by step process of rebuilding a church home for Bethany Disciples.

Have ideas or suggestions?

The church office has a venue and forms for each Bethany Disciple to share and submit iseas about the future of the home for Bethany Christian Church . Stop by the church office to share your input.

Bethany Disciples Meet with Disciples Church Extension Representative

Compiled by Mac Harris


Dee Long of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Church Extension
met with the Bethany Church Board and other church leaders Tuesday night
to let the church know what services they can provide. Long explained that
the main purpose of the meeting was to introduce the board to Church
Extension and how it can offer assistance and direction in dealing with
the aftermath of the fire as well as working through the rebuilding

“God has called us (Church Extension) to be partners with congregations,”
she noted. “I want you to know that you’re not by yourselves.”

Long briefed the board on the how to work with an insurance company in
obtaining a settlement and how to approach the construction process. She
urged Bethany to “take your time” in dealing with both tasks, but stated
that while a committee is working toward obtaining a fair insurance
settlement, a building committee can begin the building process by getting
to a consensus on our construction “dream,” then working with contractors
to gain cost estimates. In doing that, she reiterated, “take your time,
because when a building is built, it is too late to decide that it’s not
exactly what you wanted.”

Church Extension also can help with construction loans and fundraising,
Long said. She added that once an insurance settlement is reached and
“dream” plans are made, fundraising capacity can be estimated, then loan

In answer to questions from board members, Long said now that she is more
familiar with Bethany and our mission, she soon will send Bethany more
information, stating that “building needs grow out of your mission
statement.” She ended the meeting by advising the church leadership that
Church Extension will “work with you to the end.”

Tommy Banks, a member of the church’s communication committee photography team, submitted this photo from the visit by Dee Long.

Communion Cloth from Bosnia Presented to Bethany Christian Church via Week of Compassion

On Sunday, July 15, Bethany Christian Church held its first services at Camp Caroline since the fire that destroyed the sanctuary. Just prior to partaking of communion, Carolyn Broughton presented to the congregation a communion cloth hand-crafted by women of Sarajevo Phoenix, an organization of women in Bosnia who have banded together to recover from 44 months of war that have torn that country apart. Sarajevo Phoenix is a Week of Compassion partner and through the efforts of Johnny Wray, this communion cloth was donated to Bethany because of our losses from the fire.

Gary Edge used the teamwork of a flock of geese flying south for the winter as a metaphor for the teamwork that Bethany will employ to rebuild the sanctuary, class rooms, and fellowship hall. When the lead goose has tired, he will fall back to be replaced by the next in line, while all the ones in the rear honk encouragement in this ongoing and repetitive process.

Bob Kennel to Speak to Disciples General Assembly

Following is the text of a speech by Bob Kennel to be delivered to the General Assembly which meets July 21-25 in Fort Worth, Texas.


My name is Bob Kennel, and I work on the North Carolina Regional Staff on New Church Development. Six years ago I spoke out at the Kansas City General Assembly on behalf of St. Luke’s Christian Church in Princeville, NC which was destroyed by floods from Hurricane Floyd. They have since rebuilt with great help and honor.

Today I speak out for Bethany Christian Church in Arapahoe NC which burned to the ground four weeks ago. It’s a little harder today because that is the church in which I was born and raised. I am so proud of them in the way they are showing what being church is all about. They had recently completed the “Faithful Planning” process which has helped them deal with this tragedy on a structured and committed basis. They were underinsured but plan to build back immediately. Interestingly, Bethany had just expanded beyond themselves to start a new worship fellowship at a new site the day before the fire.

I am also proud of Week of Compassion which had a starter check in the hands of our Regional Minister John Richardson to meet with the church two days after the fire. If you want to see the anatomy of a tragedy and the response of a faithful people just go to the Week of Compassion website where they have a link to bethanyarapahoe.org. That web site also allows you to send a note of condolence or a credit card donation.

Every year there are Disciple churches which are damaged or destroyed by flood, tornado, earthquake, or fire. It is good to know we belong to a denomination, indeed a latter day brotherhood and sisterhood of churches with helpful arms such as the Week of Compassion and with faithful individuals who pray and share with those in need.