Bethel Church History
George Hale Ashley, Green County, New York, bought land in Washington Township, Allen County. With him were his 3 daughters and their husbands; Daniel Opliger, Steven and Riley Griswold. They traveled from New York to Toledo by water and on to Fort Wayne by covered wagon.
Mr. Ashley organized the first group of Methodists. They held meetings in their homes.
A class of The Methodist Denomination was organized consisting of George Ashley, Steven and Riley Griswold, Daniel Opliger, Uriah Rock, James Flemming and their families.
Mr. Ashley donated land for a chapel and cemetery. A small log building was erected and named Bethel Chapel. The first pastor was Benjamin Winans. The denomination was Methodist Episcopal.
The Sunday School was organized. James W. Flemming, the first Superintendent, was succeeded in that office by Daniel Opliger.
A frame structure, painted white, with Gothic windows was erected in the Village of Wallen. The name was changed to Wallen Methodist Episcopal Church. The dedication was February 1, 1874. The trustees were Jeremiah Ervin, George Opliger, James P. Ross, Joseph Griswold and David Archer.
A brick building was completed at 2014 W. Wallen Road. This new Church was dedicated March 21, 1920. The sermon was delivered by the District Superintendent, Dr. W. W. Martin. The minister was The Rev. J. R. Stelle. The trustees were L. C. Pratt, Ed Griswold, W. A. Smith, T. D. Swaim, Edward Opliger, Ben Sunderland, P. S. Rennecker, C. W. Badiac, L. Crouse and Elmer M. Cook.
The Methodist Protestant, the Methodist Episcopal South and the Methodist Episcopal merged to become The Methodist Church.
November 1, ground breaking ceremonies were held at the new site at 8421 Lima Road, under the direction of the Fort Wayne District Superintendent, Dr. Byron Stroh; The Rev. Mark Blaising, Pastor; and Darrell Morlan, Chairman of the Building Committee.
Three educational buildings were erected. Services were held in the Fellowship Hall. Consecration services were held October 2nd, under the direction of Bishop Richard C. Raines and The Rev. Mark Blaising.
The Evangelical United Brethren and the Methodist Churches united to become The United Methodist Church. Ground was broken on June 8th for the Sanctuary. Officiating at the service were Dr. Byron Stroh and The Rev. Mark Blaising. The cornerstone was laid September 14th. The minister was R. Edwin Green and Harley Shady the Associate. Paul D. Arnold was the Ministerial Student.
May 24th services began in the Fellowship Hall and concluded in the new Sanctuary after a Great Processional. Consecration services of the Sanctuary were held November 8th. Officiating were Bishop Reubin Mueller, R. Edwin Green and Harley Shady.
Our new associate minister is The Rev. Robert Carlin Schreffler.
Pastor John P. Adams came to us from Washington, DC where he headed the Department of Law, Justice and Community Relations of the Board for Church and Society of The United Methodist Church.
December 12th, the congregation voted at a Church Conference to reinstate the name of Bethel Church.