New Bethel
African Methodist Episcopal Church
"Striving to be more like Christ through our Work, Witness & Ministry"
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, with 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.
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Leadership History AME