IV. The Stuccoed Church
During the pastorate of Rev. J.S. Keppel the church was so crowded that an addition to the church was planned. In the fall of 1921 subscriptions were taken for a new Sunday School room. Work began in the spring of 1922 and it was completed and dedicated Dec. 17, 1922. Bethel then had 175 members.
The 20’ x 30’ addition was built on the west side of the church and a 10’ x 10’ tower vestibule added to the north-west. The tall steeple and belfry was removed. The pulpit was changed from the south to the east. Memorial windows were installed, the basement enlarged and cemented. The entire building was stuccoed because the bricks from the old and new parts did not match. Soon a piano replaced the reed organ.
During the pastorate of Rev. James O. Gilbert 1930-35, 132 persons became members of Bethel Church. The 1931 catechism class numbered 33. While at Bethel, Rev. Gilbert had 138 baptisms, 94 of which were infants. On Palm Sunday April 14, 1935, 214 persons took communion.
Back in 1927 while Rev. J.S. Kepple was pastor the Bethel Church was linked in a charge with Zion Church, Maximo. Most of the pastors then lived in Alliance. This two church charge was together for 25 years until the pastorate of Rev. James V. Ingram. Since 1952 Bethel Church has been on its own.
Electric lights were installed in the church in 1929 and a new furnace was installed in 1944. On Christmas night 1945 the entire building and its contents were destroyed by fire. The communion service was not lost because it was kept in the home of a member. Only the bell was salvaged from the ruins.
The pastor, Rev Stanley Hartman, came to Bethel Oct. 28, 1945 and the church burned to the ground only eight weeks after he arrived.