The News Courier in Athens, Alabama


December 19, 2012

Winds of change: Bethel church congregation has new home


Returning congregation

With the construction complete, Clark looks to bring back as many of the congregation as possible, but he said he knows some have found new church homes closer to where they live.

“We don’t want to bug them to death,” Clark said. “There are several of them that are going to come back. That’s sort of encouraging.”

The new building is larger, to say the least. This is to accommodate the expected growth of the East Limestone Community. A two-week door knocking campaign leads up to Sunday’s service.

As for the structure itself, Clark is impressed.

“There’s some things I don’t have a clue how it operates,” Clark said. “Right now our heads are kind of spinning. There’s a lot more capabilities in the new building. You just gotta walk through it to see it.”

The first thing installed was a solid concrete storm shelter with a capacity for 500 people, to be open to the community.

This was the vision of the elders, Clark said. To have a larger building that will take care of their needs for the foreseeable future.

Clark’s office is much larger.

“I’ll never be able to fill up those bookcases,” Clark said.

But with all its shiny new things, Clark is more “ecstatic” about the potential of the souls who will fill the pews.

“The Bethel Church is not the building, it’s the people,” Clark said. “It presents new challenges ... if we stay Bible-based, because it’s not our congregation, it’s the Lord’s.”

A change of attitude has apparently come over the congregants.

“I’ve seen a lot of people reaching out, talking about the congregation more now than before the tornado,” Clark said.

Bethel Church of Christ will meet, for the first Sunday morning in 20 months, at their own building at the corner of Capshaw and Bledsoe Roads this weekend at 9:30 a.m. The building will also be available for rentals. In fact, the first wedding is scheduled for next September.

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