New Bethel
African Methodist Episcopal Church
Striving To Be More Like Christ Through Our
Work, Witness and Ministry

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Rev. Ronald E. Williams, Sr.
Pastor Williams is a native of Sarasota, Florida and the son of Frank and the late Catherine Williams. He is the father of three: Ronald Jr. Ashley and Aaron. He and his late twin brother, Donald are products of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. He served as a very active member of the Young People's Division on the Local, Area, Conference and Episcopal levels of the AME Church before he acknowledged the call into the ministry. Reverend Williams is an Ordained Elder of the AME Church. He has been in the ministry for over thirty years. Prior to his assignment at New Bethel, Pastor Williams charges include Ivey Chapel (Nocatee, FL), Allen Chapel (Immokalee, FL), Mt. Zion (Hyde Park/Tampa, FL), Fountain Chapel (Tallahassee, FL), Allen Chapel (Pensacola, FL), Big Bethel (St. Petersburg, FL) and St. Luke (Tampa, FL). Reverend Williams attended Tallahassee Community College and has completed courses at Troy State University, The University of Phoenix, The Institute of Church Administration and Management and Gordon-Cornwell Theological Seminary. Reverend Williams has served as a former Chair of the Ministerial Efficiency Committee, Chairman of the West Florida Board of Examiners, Instructor, Conference Treasure and Trustee. He is currently a member of the Department of Christian Education, the Board of Directors of the 11th Episcopal District (AMEC) CDC, and the Board of Directors at the University of South Florida Wellness-At-Any-Age Program. Pastor Williams has received many awards for his outstanding leadership. However, he considers himself blessed to be one who has been called, Anointed and Appointed to preach the gospel of peace and bring tidings of good things.
Associate Ministers
Resident Retired Presiding Elder Jerome L. Denmark
Reverend Bertha Taylor Johnson
Exhorter Regina Lynn Jonson Crayton
Orlando District
Reverend Valarie Jolene Walker
Presiding Elder
Sister Sybil D. Keys
District Consultant
11th Episcopal District
Bishop Frank M. Reid, III
Presiding Prelate
Marlaa Hall Reid
Episcopal  Supervisor
Church History
The early beginning of New Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church takes us back to the year of 1929; a beginning that found seven Christians gathering at the home Mrs. Verna Edwards to worship and give God praises.

In the year of 1930, Sis. Lillie Still solicited the help of one of her white friends for some land to build a church for them to worship. This request was granted with the stipulation that a church must be built thereon. Sis. Still was then called ‘the founder of this church’ after securing the lumber from a demolition sale of unused wood for building motels {baseball living quarters} at Tinker Field on West Church Street-Orlando.

Under the skilled carpentry hand of Bro. Henry Brown, the church was built and upon the completion of the church the seven pioneers adults: Sis. Lillie Still, Bro. Henry Brown, Bro. Benjamin Francis, Sr. , Sis. Mary M. Francis, Sis. Nina C. Barber, Sis. Verna Edwards, and Bro. Andrew Parker along with the pioneer youth: Sis. Annie Mae Francis (Weber), Bro. Benjamin Francis, Jr., Sis. Louise Simmons, Sis. Julia Simmons, Bro. Burgess Merritt (deceased), and Bro. James Henry Merritt (deceased) began to worship the Lord in new edifice.The Simmons young ladies and the Merritt young men were all foster children of Sis. Nina G. Barber. The Church was given the name BETHEL AFRICAN METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH. Some of the early pastors serving: Rev. S. J. Baker, Rev. S. Cobb, Rev. Jerome Andrews and spouse Sis. Letha, and Rev. J. H. Woodard and spouse Sis. Mabel.

In 1948, Rev. Leroy L. Johnson was appointed pastor of this charge from the District Conference. Rev. Johnson was accompanied by his spouse, Sis. Cornelia and children Mary Alice (Slaughter), Leroy, Jr., Susie Lee (Harris). Rev. Johnson pursued various items of the church; one important item, the deed, for an AME Church has to be built on property owned by the church. In 1949 marked the beginning of blocks being place on the vacant spot of land to begin to build a new church.
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