A Bit of Bethel History

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Bethel was founded in 1880 as a Congregational Church. The first location was in a grange hall on 1st and Stotts Street in Beaverton. That location is now a parking lot for Beaverton High School. There are some huge trees on that lot that may or may not have been there in 1880.  A picture of the old Stotts Street building is on the wall above the book cases by the Chapel. 

In 1925, a new church building was built at the present location. To make room for the church, two plots of land were sold to Bethel by Dr C.E. Mason, a member, for $10 a plot. The building faced Watson Street, and thus our address remains a Watson address. After a few decades had passed, Bethel was booming and in 1952 plans were made to build a new sanctuary, fellowship hall, and education building. Work on the new sanctuary was started in 1961 and was dedicated in 1962. The dedication ceremony was delayed by about a week because of the Columbus Day storm. The lighted stained glass you see in the Narthex came from the 1925 building.  

1961 was another big year for Bethel. That year, the congregation voted unanimously to become part of the United Church of Christ. The UCC was formed in 1957 from the former German Reformed, Evangelical Reform, and the General Council of Congregational Christian Churches. The Congregational arm had some influence from the Puritan movement. There is no record of when the Congregationalists stopped wearing those funny hats, but Hat Sunday continues today at Bethel and probably has nothing to do with Puritan attire.