The seed planting of Bethany Baptist Church began 126 years ago when Mrs. Null, a white Missionary, assisted by Mr. William A. Burke, started a Mission Sunday School in a building owned by Mr. Burke, on East Fifth Avenue. Thirty (30) pupils were enrolled.
Mr. Richard C. Minor of Lynchburg, Virginia was elected as the Leader of the Mission. Revivals were conducted and souls were added to the Mission. Richard C. Minor was ordained to the Gospel Ministry in the state of Virginia and upon his return to Columbus, he sought the assistance of the Tenth Avenue Baptist Church, a branch of the Russell Street Baptist Church in formulating plans for organizing a church in the north end of the city. With the aid of Rev. Roberts of the Tenth Avenue Baptist Church plans were completed and in January of 1891 the Bethany Baptist Church of Columbus, Ohio was organized. There were eight charter members among the first enrollment. Baptismal services were held in a stream on East Fifth Avenue near Olentangy River Road.
Time came when the church had to be moved from its location on East Fifth Avenue and hopes for a new church building were shattered when half of the church's savings was lost through failure of the North Side Savings Bank. With trust in God, Pastor and people struggled on.
In 1900 the Dorcas Missionary Society was organized, with the pastor's wife as first president.
The Sunlight Sewing Circle was organized in 1903. Death claimed the beloved Pastor Richard C. Minor on May 25, 1905.
The congregation suffered a great loss, but God soon sent them another shepherd. Rev. B. A. Mitchell of Athens, Ohio, had grown up in the church and he, with the assistance of Rev. Witti Beasley served as supply pastor until the church called Rev. William Z. Thomas of Anderson, Indiana, on October 16 1905.
Under his pastorate the project of a new church building was carried to completion. A brick structure was built at the corner of East Fourth Avenue & North Sixth Street in 1906 replacing the frame building at the rear of the same location. The address was 285 East Fourth Avenue, Columbus, Ohio.
Rev. Thomas resigned in March of 1910 and Rev. William J. Jones, of Detroit, Michigan was called in September of the same year.
During Rev. Jones' pastorate a number of clubs were organized to aid the church and community. Rev. Jones served until 1914 when he accepted a call to pastor in the state of New Jersey.
Rev. J. W. Carter became the next pastor in 1914. Under his administration the work of the Missionary Society was extended by the addition of the Teenage Guild and Sunshine Band. A two-week Vacation Bible School was organized.
The church mortgage was burned in EIGHT years!
Rev. Carter resigned in 1922 and was succeeded by Rev. George Washington of Xenia, Ohio, who served until his death in 1937. Rev. Washington was an educator and a great leader, a lover of young people. He served as State Director of Ohio State Sunday School and B.T.U. Congress.
Rev. L. R. Walker was called in 1938 and served 8 years. The Golden Heart Club was organized during his pastorate. He resigned in 1946 to take up pastorate in Huntington, West Virginia at the Calvary Baptist Church.
Our own Rev. W. G. Raines carried on the work as Supply Pastor until the calling of Rev. A. L. Mason of Lumberton, North Carolina in 1948.
Under Rev. Mason's pastorate, A Young Adult Choir and the Willing Workers Club was organized. He served until May of 1960. At this point the church split and Rev. Mason organized Grace Baptist Church on East Fifth Avenue, now located at 1182 N. 6th Street.
Rev. Russell M. Jones of Columbus was elected interim pastor and served until the church called Rev. Andrew Wilson Wood of Beckley, West Virginia.
Rev. Wood began his pastorate in September of 1960. Many souls have been added to the church. Membership of our Deacon and Deaconess Boards increased.
In 1961 under the guidance of our Pastor, Rev. A. Wilson Wood, the membership came face to face with the "Challenge of Change", in corelationship to the effectiveness of our church in the community. Our building was out dated, and inadequate to meet the desired requirements necessary to promote effective Christian education. The church membership was busting out at the seams. We needed a bigger worship space.
Under Divine direction, Pastor Wood led the Bethany congregation into a new Location in a southeastern part of the city which resulted in the purchase of the Beth Jacob Synagogue at 959 Bulen Avenue, Columbus, Ohio in February of 1966 for the sum of $145,000.00.
The old church building became the property of the Jewish congregation as part of the transaction.
On Sunday, March 5, 1967, under Columbus Police escort, members and friends of Bethany traveled by motorcade of nearly 200 cars to our new church home.
Because we believe that our God will not forsake us or fail us, and by works as well as faith, we have come to a new community to continue to build men and women who can, as Christians, face the world tomorrow, and give to it the guidance it will need to meet the challenge of our modern culture, and Christ Jesus, who redeemed us by His blood.
The mortgage was burned in FIVE years.
Rev. Josiah Oyoo Otweyo of Kenya, E. Africa became a member of Bethany Baptist Church, and was Baptized according to the Holy Scripture, into the Christian Faith on Sunday, October 1, 1978. Under the guidance and instruction from Pastor Wood, Josiah Otweyo was ordained that he might become a Missionary to his native land.
Rev. Otweyo,later became Archbishop Otweyo as of 2008, began 200 churches in the Bush Country of Africa, and asked Pastor Wood to come to Kenya, East Africa in 1981 to organize the churches under the banner of Bethany Baptist Church, and to examine and ordain ministers who had studied the guidelines and other material sent ahead of time by Pastor Wood.
Eight Ministers were ordained and authorized to serve as pastors at that time. Others were to be ordained as soon as they were ready for ordination.
The Bethany Community Development Corporation (BCDC) in 2005 became an OUTREACH of Bethany Baptist Church in 2005. Under City Charter as BCDC,this corporation oversees the following programs:
Computer Training Lab; "Just Between Us" Mentoring Program for ladies ages 10 to 18; School Supply Center; Youth Informational Seminars and Youth Tutoring Program.
In 2010, the Bethany Community Development Corporation (BCDC) changed the name to the Gertrude Wood Community Foundation (GWCF) to honor our beloved First Lady Gertrude Wood.
On Tuesday, March 27, 2011, Rev. Samuel Morton entered into a Contract Agreement with Bethany Baptist Church to act as Interim Pastor. He performed that service for 18 months.
Pastor Andrew Wilson Wood, a great Shepherd and a great warrior for the cause of Jesus Christ was called home to be with The Lord on Sunday, July 31, 2011. The church suffered a great loss.
A Pastoral Search Committee made up of members of the church body with guidance and direction from Pastor John Little of the Eastern Union Missionary Baptist Association and Pastor of Reeb-Hosack Baptist Church was put in place in January 2012.
From April to May 2012, six selected Pastoral candidates presented a sermon during the 10:45 a.m. Sunday worship service. They also taught the adult Sunday School class on that same Sunday.
The Pastoral Search Committee called a meeting of the congregation to vote on the new pastor on Wednesday, June 27, 2012. At the conclusion of the vote, Rev. Jonathan W. Bradford, Sr. was named the next Pastor of Bethany Baptist Church.
On Sunday, September 30, 2012,the Installation Service was held for our newly elected Pastor Jonathan W. Bradford, Sr. Our guests were Overseer Jonathan McReynolds and congregation from Oakley Full Gospel Baptist Church, Columbus, Ohio. Pastors from all over the city were in attendance. Interim Pastor Samuel E. Morton of Bethany gave the charge to the church and Dr. Shedrick Flowler of Christ Memorial Baptist Church gave the Charge to the Pastor.
In June 2012, the VISION of Late Pastor A. Wilson Wood came to fruition with the building onto the exterior of the church and new inner front vestibule.
Just as the hymn, "We've come this far by Faith" We look to the future and to The God of Our Salvation to sustain and keep us as we continue to be what He wants us to be and continue to do good works in the community and the world.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY - GREAT THINGS HE HAS DONE